Wachovia Bank has taken over the lead role from Fifth Third Bank to refinance and increase the bank debt of Latrobe, Pa.-based Le Nature's. Wachovia is providing a $200 million bank facility for the beverage producer. The new line comprises a $40 million revolver, a $125 million "A" loan and a $35 million capital expenditure facility, with pricing set at LIBOR plus 41/2%. The refinancing replaces existing debt and expands the facility, said John Higbee, cfo at Le Nature's. Higbee declined to disclose the size or pricing of the previous loan, but he said, "We're adding to our plants all the time."
Responding to the change of lead lender, Higbee said, "We spoke to a lot of banks. Fifth Third is still involved on this. It's just the way the banks worked it out." Wachovia was not part of the previous deal. The Marshall Group is syndication agent on the credit and was also not involved in the previous line, but Higbee said he met with both lenders and he liked what they had to offer, as far as the type of transaction it was going to be, the way it was going to be structured and the timetable. A banker at Fifth Third did not return calls.