Billabong shares in trading halt: Midday roundup

Shares in iconic Australian surfwear company Billabong have been placed in a trading halt as the struggling retailer continues with takeover discussions.

Takeover plans were expected to be finalised by the end of March, but negotiations are continuing with two groups placing offers.

“Discussions in relation to these proposals remain incomplete and the company expects to make an announcement as and when discussions are complete,” the company said in a statement this morning.

The brand is currently being pursued by Paul Naude, former Billabong Americas president, backed by financier Sycamore and a consortium of US private equity firms VF Corporation and Altamont Capital Partners.

Quiet weekend for auctions

Traditionally a slow weekend for the property market, few houses were on sale this Easter weekend around Australia, with the majority of properties up for grabs in Victoria being holiday homes in the coastal regions.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria reported 60 properties were listed for auction, with more than half on the coast.

The Sydney property market continued its positive run, with clearance rates above 70% for the fourth weekend in a row.

Kathmandu CEO takes leave of absence

Kathmandu chief executive Peter Halkett will take a leave of absence following an infection after undergoing surgery last month.

Finance director Mark Todd will work as acting chief executive until Halkett returns, which is expected to be in three months.

Shares flat on weak offshore lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened flat this morning after weak leads from offshore markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 10.3 points to 4,976.8 at 12.10 AEST, while in the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.7 points to 14,572.8.

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