Boardriders plans to transfer Billabong’s European headquarters to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
Last year, Californian group Boardriders Inc. reshuffled the cards in the board sport industry, as the owner of Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes acquired its long-standing competitor Billabong. The Australian group, which besides the eponymous brand also owns Element and RVCA, is now in the process of merging its worldwide organisation with that of Boardriders.
Dave Tanner, CEO of Boardriders Inc. since last year, first built up a new management team. Now it is the turn of the two groups’ European headquarters to merge. They are both based in south-western France, about 40 km away from each other: Boardriders is in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Billabong in Hossegor.
Their merger had been on the cards for quite some time. At the end of last week, according to local daily paper Sud Ouest, the reorganisation plan was presented to Billabong’s 170 employees, starting a three-month period of discussions between employee representatives from both Boardriders and Billabong and a joint committee from the two groups. At the end of the talks, the project will be presented to Direccte, the regional authority for competition and employment.
In practical terms, the plan that was presented concerns 170 people. The group's proposal is for 108 Billabong employees to join Boardriders’s Saint-Jean-de-Luz headquarters, which have room enough for them, as offices were built with expansion in mind. Job cuts are instead planned at Billabong’s warehouse, and a further 34 among the office staff.
However, Boardriders Inc. stated that the group's development plans mean new staff is needed, and that 58 new jobs will be created at Saint-Jean-de-Luz, notably in marketing, brand development and for direct-to-consumer sales projects.
The US group’s European business is altogether worth approximately €600 million, three quarters of which are generated by Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes, and one quarter by Billabong and its proprietary brands. The expectation is for Billabong’s revenue to rise once the integration with Boardriders will be completed. Boardriders’s brands have subsidiaries in 15 countries, while Billabong currently has six subsidiaries, plus a series of local partners. Operating a shared organisation should therefore enable both groups to seize new opportunities.
According to the schedule announced, the reorganisation plan will be discussed with employee representatives and could be finally approved by the management at the end of May. The office moves would then take place during the summer, in order for everything to be ready for the season’s main surfing event, the Quiksilver Pro meeting at Hossegor, from October 3 to 13 2019.
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