French based APO Snowboards, the brainchild of legend Régis Rolland, filed for Chapter 11 on July 6 in an effort to shore up its finances and continue production of its line for the coming winter. Rolland told Boardsport Source that orders for the coming season are strong and that he is currently looking for private investors in the company.
Here are some excerpts of what Rolland had to say in the Source interview:
I think everybody has noticed that the financial crisis has hit companies badly and it has unfortunately hit my company at the wrong time. Indeed, in the past 5 years, we have been investing in costly innovative projects.
The returns have been decent, but as an independent brand, we do not have the financial clout to support such a large investment without the backing of a strong financial group or the support of our banks. When getting bank credit was easy, this was not a problem, but the Financial crisis has changed all this.
The paradox is that our orders for the coming winter are really good! But good orders need financing to be fulfilled, so our cash flow needs are high, especially considering we only sell winter products (and therefore do not generate any cash during the summer, when we need to finance production).
If you shake all of these ingredients together, you get the situation where our debt has become too heavy to support and we have had to go into Chapter 11. Chapter 11 (or administration protection) is not as bad as it sounds, since it enables you to block and spread your debts. It is a process that helps you recover from a bad situation, in order to build your company back up.
I will repeat that we are NOT dead!!
Thanks to the support of our factories, we have been able to launch the production for the 2009/10 winter. Our plan for the coming year is to downsize the company a little, reduce costs, reduce communication and promotion, reorganise, rethink everything to become more cost effective and try to get back to a stable situation.
We are currently looking for a private investor to make the company stronger. And more than ever, we need everybody’s support. We have set up an association, SUPPORT-APO.com , in order to get help from our fan club. We are talking here about donations to help the company adjust !!