Billabong International Limited has agreed to purchase the New Zealand-based Amzaon surf retail chain. According to Billabong, the 19-store chain is New Zealand’s largest surf retailer.

Billabong International Limited chief executive officer Derek O’Neill said the purchase gave the company a strategic investment in a key regional market.

“The New Zealand surf retail landscape is quite fragmented so the purchase of Amazon represented a one-off opportunity to build a significant retail presence in the
region,” said Mr O’Neill.

“We have been a major client of Amazon’s for many years and, as part of the purchase, the business will continue to operate under the ongoing management of founder Steve Alach.”

Mr O’Neill said Amazon stocked some of the company’s brands among a very wide variety of domestic and international labels.

“We plan to retain the business as a multi-branded operation but there are opportunities to introduce several more of our own brands into the chain,” he said.

The purchase was expected to be slightly earnings per share positive in the year ending 30 June 2007.

Amazon was founded in 1990 and comprises eight stores in Auckland, four in Wellington, five in Christchurch and one in each of Queenstown and Dunedin.

The acquisition is subject to several standard conditions precedent, including completion of due diligence.