Billabong’s US head attempts management buyout of iconic surfwear company: Midday roundup

Billabong has announced that its US head is temporarily stepping away from his position in an attempt to try and take control of the surf retailer.

Paul Naude, a director of Billabong and president of its operations in the United States, advised the board that he would be holding talks with possible financiers ahead of a possible leveraged buyout of the company.

Billabong said Naude was acting independently and his decision was not solicited by its board, or by an agreement with a board member or a senior member of the management team.

“Mr Naude has advised that he is seeking to hold discussions with potential financiers, both debt and equity, to gain their support for a potential change-of-control transaction of Billabong,” the company said in a statement.

Elders records $60 million loss

Elders has made a $60.6 million loss but the agricultural business claimed its underlying performance is improving.

The loss compares to a $395.4 million loss in the previous year.

The main factor behind the $60.6 million loss was $75.3 million in costs related to the company’s exit from its forestry business, a statement from Elders said.

Underlying profit in the year to September was $13.2 million, up 47% from $9 million in the previous year.

Santos chief calls for overseas labour

David Knox, chief executive of oil and gas producer Santos, says Australia needs to tap into the large pool of foreign skilled labour to meet the planned development of energy projects in the years ahead.

Knox says Australia did not have enough skilled workers for the investment pipeline and therefore had to address the issue of the nation’s skills shortage.

“This is not about a push to bring in cheap unskilled workers from overseas,” Knox told the Australian Institute of Energy national conference in Sydney.

Australian stock markets open higher

The Australian stock market opened stronger following gains on Wall Street in its last trading session after political leaders signalled a determination to compromise to avoid sending the United States economy over the fiscal cliff.

At the official market opening, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index inched up 0.5% to 4358.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 0.46% to 4380.2 points.



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