Orange County Business Journal

Billabong Turnaround to Focus on Key Brands, Retail Improvements

Kari Hamanaka Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The parent of Irvine-based Billabong USA has unveiled a four-year turnaround plan.

Australia-based Billabong International Ltd. sells action sports-inspired clothes, shoes and accessories under its namesake brand and others including RVCA, Element, Honolua and VonZipper.

The company’s turnaround plan followed the arrival of Chief Executive Launa Inman, who replaced former chief executive Derek O’Neill in May.

Plans call for “simplifying” Billabong’s business by cutting back styles and suppliers. Those moves are based on results of a study that showed less than half of current styles and suppliers account for the majority of the company’s sales.

The strategy will also focus on reviving the Billabong brand with a new global brand manager and global brand management team. Element, RVCA and Dakine are being counted on to help boost sales with growth of their own over the next four years.

The company’s retail and e-commerce businesses also are targeted for improvement, with the company continuing with plans to shutter 140 more stores by next June.

Billabong had 634 stores as of June 30, with 225 of those locations in its Americas region. The Americas is made up of the U.S., Canada and South America.

Billabong’s outlook for the current fiscal year which ends June 30 2013, includes earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $104 million to $114.4 million in U.S. dollars.

The turnaround strategy follows a tough year for Billabong, which saw the sale of watch and accessories company Nixon Inc. earlier this year for $285 million in net proceeds, which went to help to pay down the company’s debt.

Billabong now faces a possible takeover from Texas-based private equity firm TPG Capital LP, which offered $713.7 million for the company in July. That follows Billabong’s rejection of two offers from TPG earlier this year of $825.3 million and later $909.2 million.

Full-year results for the 12 months through June 30 also were announced on Sunday.

Adjusted sales for the year in Billabong’s Americas region were $780.3 million, down 8.1% excluding the impact of exchange rates.

The Americas region counts sales in the U.S., Canada and South America.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation for the Americas was $62.1 million, down 29.1% in constant currency.

Billabong reported companywide adjusted sales of $1.6 billion, down 5% in constant currency.

The company reported an adjusted profit after taxes of $34.8 million, down 73.6% from a year earlier in constant currency.