Dakine move to Expo Center off

Hood River-based action sports gear and apparel manufacturer Dakine is still looking at a new home in town, just likely not the one it had hoped for.

Port of Hood River Executive Director Michael McElwee said that a planned move by Dakine to the Hood River Expo Center is off but that the port and Dakine are currently in negotiations for another space on port property.

Dakine President Francois Carette did not want to comment on any changes to the company’s plans, describing negotiations as “a chess game.”

In November 2011 the port commission voted to approve a non-binding letter of intent with Dakine’s move into the Expo Center building, with lease discussions to follow.

The move would have allowed Dakine to consolidate operations in the Expo Center building while allowing Full Sail Brewing, which is currently leasing space in the building, to move most of its operations into the space Dakine would vacate in Full Sail’s Columbia Street building. That plan now appears unlikely to come to fruition in its current form.

Australian surfwear manufacturer Billabong, which acquired Dakine in 2008, has struggled for several years.

The global financial downturn has been particularly hard on Billabong, and the company has seen its stock price plummet over the past five years.

At its peak in 2007 the company’s stock was worth around $15 Australian dollars. It has since plunged to just over $1 Australian in recent trading, and hit a record low of 93 cents per share last month.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the company has recently indicated it is again open to takeover offers following the company’s rejection of an $820 million offer by a private equity firm in February. The company’s current worth is less than a third of that number.

Dakine’s management has undergone a shakeup over the past year, with Carette, the former Billabong USA senior vice president of sales and retail, taking over as company president in April.

Dakine is currently still leasing space from Full Sail Brewing in the Columbia Building.

Full Sail CEO Irene Firmat said that both Dakine and the Port have been in communication with Full Sail about the situation.

“We’ve just been working with the other two parties that this works out in the best way for everyone,” Firmat said. “We’re very grateful to the port for having provided us with the Expo Center when we needed it.”

When Dakine appeared headed for the Expo Center, Full Sail planned to move the portion of its operation housed in that building into the newly available space in the Columbia Building.

Firmat said that consolidating its operations in the Columbia Building still remains the plan, but that the company is still evaluating how to make the best use of the space it does have.

Dakine’s lease in the Columbia Building runs through August 2013, and while Firmat said she would like to see the situation resolved by then, she is confident things will work out one way or another.

“We’ve been working with this long enough that this can be worked out in a good way,” she said. “It’s not something I’m losing sleep over.”

Carette said that Dakine’s plans with the port would likely firm up in the coming weeks and that the company is currently “looking at a couple of different options.”

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