By  on November 12, 2009

MILAN — Italian eyewear firm Safilo Group SpA on Wednesday reported a $71.6 million third-quarter loss and cast doubt on its life-saving recapitalization deal with Hal Holding NV because of a weak response to the Dutch shareholder’s cash tender offer.

Losses for the three months through Sept. 30, which included a 28 million euro, or $40.2 million, writedown of assets, widened to 50.1 million euros, or $71.6 million, from 6.7 million euros, or $10.1 million, in the year-ago period. As reported last month, sales declined 7 percent to 212.6 million euros, or $306.1 million. Dollar figures were converted at average exchange rates for the period.

Safilo approved a recapitalization plan on Oct. 19, in which Amsterdam-listed Hal would inject new equity and pay off some of the eyewear maker’s debts in return for a stake of between 37.23 and 49.99 percent. According to the plan, Hal, which holds a 2.082 percent stake in Safilo, would purchase all outstanding 195 million euro, or $292.2 million, high-yield notes for 60 percent of their nominal value and restructure Safilo’s senior debt facilities with its main financing banks.

The deal is subject to an acceptance threshold by bondholders of at least 60 percent on Hal’s cash tender offer by Nov. 18. However, Safilo said Wednesday that Hal had informed it that only 1.03 percent had been tendered at the “early bird” date (in addition to the 38.76 percent committed before the tender offer by existing note holders). Safilo also said Hal did not yet own any of the notes.

“In such event, the overall recapitalization plan might not take place and the company would again be in a highly leveraged situation and will, in all likelihood, default under its banking facilities by yearend,” Safilo warned.

On a conference call to analysts, Safilo chief executive officer Roberto Vedovotto added: “Let me repeat. No successful tender offer, no deal.”

At the end of September, the company’s net debts totaled 586.3 million euros, or $878.4 million.

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