International
Billabong posts massive financial loss

Billabong Pro 2012 1Shares in Billabong International Ltd slumped after the group posted a massive interim loss mainly due to impairment charges.

In the six months to 31 December 2012, Billabong posted a net loss of $536 million, as opposed to a $16 million profit recorded in the previous corresponding period.

The result included $567 million in impairments to the company’s brands and value, most of which was not in cash terms, Billabong said.

Revenue in the period dropped 17 % year-on-year, to $702 million, from $849 million.

Sales revenue fell in the period as conditions remained difficult, particularly in Europe and America.

Billabong will not be paying an interim dividend.

Chief executive Laura Inman said Billabong’s focus remains on simplification of the business, reducing costs and continuing to build a culture of transparency and accountability providing a platform for future growth for their brands.

She said the benefits of the company’s reduction in stores and suppliers would not be seen in the 2012/13 financial year.

Billabong began a company-wide restructure in August 2012 and has since closed 119 stores and significantly reduced its supplier numbers. A number of stores in South Africa were shut with even the legendary Corner Shop in Jeffreys Bay closing down.

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“However, given the lead times, the benefits from reduction in supplier numbers and brand improvement strategies will not be seen in this financial year,” Ms Inman said.

In January, the company received a new joint takeover bid from US retailer VF Corporation and investment firm Altamont Capital Partners.

The $523 million offer matches an offer received in December from the Sycamore consortium led by US-based Billabong executive Paul Naude. This represents $ 1.10 per share.

Naude is a former professional surfer, and with his South African roots there is a lot of hope locally that the Billabong Pro will once again become a WCT event in Jeffreys Bay should his bid be successful.

There will not be even a 6 star WSQ event in Jeffreys Bay in 2013 and surfers like Jordy Smith will have no home ground advantage on the WCT once again this year.

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