Volley shoes sold to private equity

The Dunlop Volley has a new owner.

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Australian private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners has bought the brand, plus other shoe makers Clarks and Hush Puppies, with the aim of turning around their poor earnings performance.

Pacific Brands sold the suite of labels, which also includes the licence to clothing brands Mossimo and Superdry, in order to focus on its leading businesses – Bonds underwear and Sheridan manchester.

It expects to incur a loss of around $30 million on the sale, receiving $39 million for brands and licences worth about $66 million.

Anchorage is a Sydney based firm that specialises in turning around well known but poorly performing brands.

It bought Dick Smith Electronics from Woolworths for $20 million in 2012, and raised $345 million by floating it on the share market just over a year later.

All the assets being sold by Pacific Brands made up a segment of its business called Brand Collective, which made a loss of $22.3 million in the 2013/14 year.

“From a pricing perspective, the divestment represents good value to our shareholders for an unprofitable division,” chief executive David Bortolussi said.

The sale should involve minimal disruption to customers, he said.

Investors welcomed the move, sending Pacific Brands shares up 2.5 cents, or five per cent, to 52 cents.

OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said the sale, the second major divestment by Pacific Brands in three months, would allow it to reduce its mounting debt.

“I think the simplification of the business is probably a pretty good thing for them and certainly shareholders will be expecting better times over the next couple of years,” he said.

“If they can’t make those two brands (Bonds and Sheridan) work they’ve got some problems.”

The sale also includes the transfer of the licensing arrangements in Australia and New Zealand of sporting brands Dunlop, Slazenger and Everlast to Australian listed apparel business PAS Group.

Mr Bortolussi said the company’s strategic review was now complete, and will significantly improve its growth prospects.

The Bonds and Sheridan brands will now make up almost two thirds of its business, he said.