Huffy hires Lazard Freres to advise on sale of all or part of company

The US bikes-to-sports-equipment corporation has retained Lazard Freres & Co. LLC to advise on "financing and strategic alternatives." Huffy lost $7.5m last year (not, it must be said, due to poor bike sales), has already sold chunks of its business and is not expecting to return to profitability until 2005, hence the hire of Lazard Freres.
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Paul R. D'Aloia, Huffy's CEO and president, said:

"We are pleased to be working with Lazard to explore alternatives that could provide additional financing for the company and to explore strategic alternatives, including the sale of the company or of product segments within the company.

"The transition to a single sporting goods platform is well underway, but as previously announced will not improve operational results until the third or fourth quarter of 2004. At present, with higher than anticipated costs associated with the restructuring and reorganisation of the Canadian business, it appears that Huffy will not return to profitability until 2005."

Robert W. Lafferty, Huffy's VP and CFO, said:

"Typically, the seasonality of our businesses is such that during the first few months of the year Huffy has substantial negative cash flows and lower availability under our revolving credit facility. These factors, when combined with the significant loss anticipated in the first quarter of this year, have created greater on-going availability challenges than we normally experience. We have recently reached agreement in principle with the agent for the lenders, subject to final approval and documentation, which will provide increased liquidity and will modify the current loan covenants to allow the company to execute a sale of the company, or of product segments within the company."

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