German fashion house Basler successfully restructures debt

LONDON - German apparel maker Basler has reduced its debt after investors agreed to large write-offs and owner Triton injected $13.5 million cash, banking sources said on Thursday.

Private equity firm Triton bought Basler in 2006, at the height of a buyout boom, backed with 215 million euros ($291.07 million) of debt according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.

Basler autumn-winter 2012/2013 (photo: Basler)

Last year, an investment bank was appointed to find an investor to organise new financing for the fashion group founded in 1936 in Berlin.

"After the successful refinancing, Triton is no longer looking to sell Basler," a person familiar with the deal said.

The restructuring has now reduced Basler's debt to 80 million euros of senior leveraged loans, bankers added.

Triton declined to comment.

In 2010 Triton injected 22 million euros of cash into the ailing business, which also owns sports fashion brand Venice Beach, but it continued to struggle with its debt, bankers said.

Junior debt holders which held around 45 million euros of loans agreed to wipe out all their debt while senior debt holders saw their loans reduced by around 40 percent.

Owners and lenders agreed to a new five-year financing package until 2018 which is roughly 5.3 times Basler's approximate 15 million euro 2012 EBITDA. Before its restructure, the debt, which matured as early as this June, was around 12.6 times the company's EBITDA, bankers said.

FTI Consulting advised lenders on the restructuring while a senior coordinating committee comprised of Bank of Ireland, Commerzbank and Pemba.

Basler's senior debt has improved on Europe's secondary loan market and was trading at 23.5 percent of face value on Thursday compared to 20 percent of face value at the end of January.

Basler operates over 80 stores worldwide. ($1=0.7387 euros) (Reporting by Claire Ruckin; additional reporting by Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

© Thomson Reuters 2014 All rights reserved.