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Briscoe Group takeover tussle continues as Kathmandu COO resigns

  • Who's Where
  • August 10, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Briscoe Group takeover tussle continues as Kathmandu COO resigns

The announcement has come hot on the heels of Kathmandu’s board rejecting Briscoe’s takeover offer.

Todd says he decided to resign regardless of the outcome of Briscoe Group’s takeover offer.

He says now recently appointed chief executive Xavier Simonet is at the helm, he feels comfortable to leave the company.

“I had contracted to stay with Kathmandu in my current role until July next year, but now with Xavier on board I feel it is the right time to step aside entirely," Todd says.

"I'm very proud to have contributed to Kathmandu's growth. The businss has grown 20-fold since I joined in 1998.”

Kathmandu chairman David Kirk says Todd’s financial and retail skills have been of huge value to the board over the six years since Kathmandu was listed.

“Prior to Xavier taking up his position, Mark led the business through to a good Q4 winter season trading result, despite an extended period of substantial management team change, in combination with a difficult trading environment,” Kirk says.

Chief financial officer Reuben Casey will take Todd’s place when he steps down at the end of the month.

In contrast, Briscoe Group managing director Rod Duke heavily criticised Kathmandu’s recent performance.

He said in a statement that while it’s a tough retail market, as reflected by the recent demise of Shanton, Jean Jones and Identity, Kathmandu’s 2015 full earnings figure was incredibly low.

“But I did not expect the Kathmandu board to simply throw up a catalogue of excuses as to what it got wrong and to expect shareholders to accept it,” Duke said in reference to the rejected takeover offer.

“Anyone who follows Kathmandu closely will know that same store sales growth across the group has been in decline for the past four years. The failure to address this was always going to catch up with the company.”

Duke was dubious about Kathmandu forecasting a 42 percent increase in this year’s operating profits.

“As Kathmandu’s largest shareholder, its latest performance gives us little confidence in its 2016 full year forecast, which in our view are based on ambitious assumptions that come with enormous execution risks,” he says.

He says Kathmandu’s target company statement doesn’t provide any assurance that management is able to deliver a turnaround and achieve its forecast.

“We believe that it makes enormous sense to join the Kathmandu business with ours to create a bigger, better and stronger retailing group to the benefit of both companies’ shareholders.”

He says Kathmandu’s current trading price reflects the Briscoe Group offer that’s on the table.

If the offer wasn’t there, he says its trading price would be even lower.

One of Kathmandu's shareholders, Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAMA), stated they are currently planning on rejecting the offer.

"However, GSAMA will continue to be guided by what it considers to be in the best interests of its clients and reserves all of its rights to change its position in respect of the Offer, whether on its current terms or otherwise," the statement said.

The Briscoe Group takeover offer is available until 17 September, unless it is extended in accordance with the Takeovers Code.

Kathmandu's full-year financial results are due on 29 September.

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