Billabong investors wait to see if bidding groups dive in

Billabong investors are braced for news on Tuesday as to whether or not either of the sportswear group's two suitors have made firm bids.

Billabong investors are braced for news on Tuesday as to whether or not either of the sportswear group's two suitors have made firm bids.

The company's shares face another rout if a successful offer does not emerge from recent due diligence, one analyst saying Billabong may need a capital raising to fix its "stretched" balance sheet.

Billabong would not comment about offers by the two bidding groups, which led to the board meeting on the weekend.

An announcement on the status of the offers is expected before trading starts on Tuesday morning. One offer is by Sycamore Partners and Billabong executive Paul Naude; the other is by Altamont Capital and VF Corp, the US retailer behind well-known brands such as Timberland, the North Face and Vans.

VF Corp has said its only interest is in the Billabong brand. Altamont is interested in acquiring the rest of the business, which includes the vast retail network.

No one is expecting the two private equity-backed consortiums to maintain the $1.10 indicative price that each offered before conducting due diligence and yet another downgrade from the company.

Investors may face worse scenarios than a lower bid price.

Credit Suisse recently reassessed the company's valuation on the basis that bids fail to emerge, giving it a weighted valuation of 59¢ a share.

Credit Suisse said there was a downside scenario in which earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation declined from current guidance of $74 million this year to $50 million in the 2015 financial year due to a reduction in wholesale earnings resulting from brand rationalisation.

"At $50 million EBITDA, equity value is zero," the broker said.

Last week, UBS raised the prospect that investors may be forced to raise more capital.

UBS retail analyst Ben Gilbert says the most likely outcome is a 91¢ a share offer - based on the original 8 x EBIT multiple before the recent downgrade.

Without a bid, Billabong might need a $100 million capital raising to fix the company's "stretched" balance sheet, Mr Gilbert said.

Billabong has a current market value of just under $350 million.

Billabong shares, which last traded at 73¢, hit a low of 63¢ last month when doubts emerged if bids would result from due diligence.

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