AS Adventure partly passes into the hands of its banks
The Belgian chain specializing in outdoor recreation AS Adventure finds itself with a little more than 45% in the hands of a group of 12 banks, including ING, in exchange for the cancellation of 85 million euros of debt.
According to the Dutch industry newspaper De Jurist, AS Adventure has reached an agreement with a group of 12 banks, including ING, on the debt restructuring. The agreement was validated by the Dutch courts.
AS Adventure – whose already precarious financial situation was still worsened following containment measures linked to the health crisis – negotiated since last autumn a debt rescheduling with its creditors.
If the court ruling is to be believed, these discussions are over. Following this agreement, the French investment fund is joined by a banking consortium which will hold a little more than 45% of the shares. PAI keeps the balance, but must inject 25 million euros of fresh capital. In return, the banks canceled part of the debts. At the same time, the terms of the loans were extended by five years.
The negative effects of the crisis
Six years ago, PAI had spent 400 million to acquire 85% of AS Adventure. Half of this amount had been debt financed and had been passed on to the company, as is always the case with a debt-financed acquisition. In addition, AS Adventure had other debts amounting to 83 million. After the restructuring of the debt, the latter was reduced to more or less 198 million.
In an attempt to limit the negative impact of the crisis, the group tried to negotiate its rents, discussed flexibility with its suppliers and limited its investments.
In the first five months of 2020, following the health crisis, the group’s turnover fell by 33% compared to the same period a year earlier, making switch to red recurring gross operating profit (rebitda) amounting to 4.9 million.
To limit these losses, AS Adventure, which has 195 stores in five countries, took a series of measures, ranging from reducing investments to negotiating more flexible terms with suppliers. The chain has also renegotiated down a series of commercial leases. So much so that for the whole of 2020, turnover fell by a quarter to 428 million and rebitda by more than half to 16 million euros.
But these difficulties do not date from the coronavirus crisis. In 2019, AS Adventure had 600 million turnover, but unevenly distributed. In Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the company achieved record results. But in the UK, the group had to apply for a company voluntary arrangement, a British variant of receivership.
This arrangement was accompanied by an in-depth restructuring, cost reductions and replacement of the local management team. Last year, in Germany, the parent company had to disconnect the plug of its local subsidiary, McTrek.