A.S. Adventure Group becomes Yonderland following restructuring


A.S. Adventure Group is changing its name and will become Yonderland. It is a consequence of a financial restructuring at the group, which has recently reached a debt restructuring agreement.


"Forever exploring"

A.S. Adventure Group, the holding company behind A.S. Adventure, Bever and Juttu, will henceforth go by the name of Yonderland. The new name stands for "a positive world in which we are constantly exploring and being open to wonder" and is the result of a major financial restructuring at the group. Earlier, it was announced that 85 million euros worth of debts were waived, but the banks will get nearly half of the shares. A consortium of banks now holds 45% of the shares, while investor group PAI and management retain a majority stake of 55%.


There is also a capital injection of 25 million euro, and the group has two new members on the Board of Directors. The former CEO of bol.com, Daniel Ropers, and Robert Bensoussan - ex-CEO of L.K. Bennett and board member at Lululemon and Celio - will receive a seat. Their appointments fit within "the planned growth strategy" of the group, says CEO Frederic Hufkens, who wants to refine the omnichannel strategy further but keep the stores at the " heart of the organisation".


The group, therefore, continues to open physical stores: two Belgian branches of A.S. Adventure (Waterloo and Turnhout) recently moved to a new location, and Juttu is opening pop-up stores. This summer, one will pop up at the Belgian coast, in Knokke, and another in Leuven in the autumn.


Nearly a year of negotiations

According to CFO Kris Horrevorst, the group will remain profitable in 2020: "Our retail brands have become even more popular in recent months because the pandemic has enticed even more people to discover the outdoors. We want to grow by selectively opening new stores and also expanding our e-commerce platforms."


The negotiations have been going on for almost a year, since autumn last year. Since the takeover by French investor group PAI in 2015, the outdoor group has been saddled with a sky-high debt mountain, which already amounted to 258 million euros before the start of the coronavirus crisis. Then the pandemic hit. However, Yonderland emphasises that nothing will change operationally. The name change also only applies to the holding company, not to the stores.