Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Lehman Brothers, BANK ONE and BNP Paribas have received commitments from senior managing agents for the $1.4 billion credit backing Ball Corp.'s $880 million acquisition of German container manufacturer Schmalbach-Lubeca, according to a banker familiar with the deal. Investors already have signed on to $250 million of the $350 million "B" term loan, and the rest of the tranches have been received positively as well, the banker said. Senior lenders contributing $50 million to the pro-rata portion received an upfront fee of 75 basis points. Bankers on the deal either declined to comment or could not be reached by press time.
Retail launches of the credit are scheduled for tomorrow in London and Wednesday in New York, the banker said. Pricing on the facility has not changed since the launch, with the pro-rata pieces offering LIBOR plus 2% and the U.S. "B" term loan set at LIBOR plus 21/ 2%. Raymond Seabrook, cfo, noted that the pricing had widened since Ball's initial projections in the summer, but the Broomfield, Colo., company is pleased considering the "spottiness" of the market.
The multi-currency facility is broken into four parts: a $500 million multi-currency revolver, a $250 million multi-currency "A" term loan, a $350 million "B" piece and a E300 million "B" term loan. Ball hopes to close the credit before Thanksgiving, Seabrook said, adding that the company expects to finalize the acquisition by mid-December. Ball is trying to close the transaction before the end of the year in order to avoid a German capital gains tax that takes effect in 2003. There had been some protest by one of Schmalbach's minority shareholders (LMW, 10/28), but Seabrook said that matter is in the final stages of being settled.