Billabong on hold as share price slumps
Billabong was forced into a trading halt on Thursday while it confirmed that its two suitors were still interested, after its shares crashed to a record low, suggesting both parties had walked away from the embattled group.
The company will restart trading on Friday after confirming to the ASX on Thursday evening that both suitors "remain in the process".
Billabong shares - which are subject to indicative offers of $1.10 a share from the two parties - fell to a record low of 63¢, and were trading at 69.5¢ when the trading halt was called.
In a statement to the ASX at midday on Thursday, Billabong requested its shares be placed in a trading halt until Monday, March 25, or "when the company makes an announcement" to the market.
The company indicated it had no information that would explain the stock plunge.
Analysts had expected the two parties to come back with lower offers than those they indicated before due diligence and recent earnings downgrades, but the current price reflects a scenario in which both parties walk away from Billabong.
One offer is from Sycamore Partners and Billabong executive Paul Naude; the other is from Altamont Capital and VF Corp, the US retailer behind well-known brands such as Timberland, 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.
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 about $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.
Credit Suisse said its base-case discounted cash-flow valuation was now 49¢ but "we retain a $1.10 target price to reflect the likelihood of a takeover proceeding from one or more of the two private equity proposals".
At its half-year results, Billabong said it expected to conclude the bidding process by the end of this month, which effectively gives the suitors until next Thursday to put a firm offer on the table or walk away. The company last month posted a record loss of $567 million after it wrote off most of the value of its main brand, Billabong.
Billabong's lenders have secured charges over most of the company's assets and future earnings after the half-year losses put the company in breach of its debt covenants. Chief executive Launa Inman also declined to back her transformation plan's target - $239 million in EBITDA by 2016.