(Moss, Norway May 29th 2002) Helly Hansen ASA, the Norwegian outdoor clothing company, has turned a huge loss in 2000 into a break even operating result for 2001. After some years of turbulence, the company has now under new management succeeded with a financial restructuring that sets the company in a financially very strong position for further growth.

Helly Hansen has just completed a lengthy re-financing process. The refinancing includes conversion to equity of outstanding loans. In addition the company will receive a cash injection, in the form of equity and shareholder loans, from the existing shareholders of NOK 350 million (EUR 47Mio). Following the refinancing, the company moves to a positive equity ratio of close to 60%, with the investment bank Investcorp owning 67%, Orkla 17% and the banks 17% of the share capital.

“Helly Hansen has averaged some 10% annual sales growth over the last eight years and we are continuing to grow market shares in basically all regions of the world. Our focus over the last year has been to increase the efficiency of the supply chain as well as investing in product development resources.” – says Jan Valdmaa, President/CEO of the Helly Hansen Group.

The re-financing will give us the financial platform we need to continue to grow and become even stronger as a brand” – says Valdmaa. The financial result improvement confirms the start of a turnaround. Helly Hansen saw a sales increase of approximately 9% and better margins combined with cost measures and the employment of less working capital.

Utilising two product-centres, Seattle, WA and Moss Norway, new management has been appointed. Tobin Teichgraber came from Salomon in October last year and runs the US product centre and Olav Teigen, former adidas International, has recently joined the company and is responsible for the Norwegian Centre.

Helly Hansen, who this year is celebrating its125th anniversary as a sports and outdoor company, invented waterproof clothing in 1877 and are market leaders in survival suits for the North Sea.

The company has a turnover (in wholesale) of approximately NOK 2,000 million (EUR250 million). Headquartered in Moss, Norway and with wholly owned subsidiaries in North America and Europe Helly Hansen sells sea- and snow sports apparel in more than 40 countries.

The best selling categories are Ski, Snowboard, Sea gear, Sportswear and LIFA, functional underwear. The company is also increasingly active in the work wear sector.