At least $50 million of Finova Group's '01 paper traded last week at 72-73, dealers said. They noted the company's bank debt is still riding on the momentum of investor Warren Buffett's interest in the bonds. Dealers declined to comment on whether that interest extends to the bank debt. Still, they weren't surprised at the size of the piece, speculated to be anywhere between $50-100 million. "It's a large credit that trades in big pieces," one remarked. Another remarked that Finova is "a very topical" name right now and that only part of it stems from Buffett's investment. "There's a lot of everything surrounding the name right now," he said, declining to elaborate. The identity of the parties could not be determined. The Scottsdale, Ariz., company offers commercial financing to small and mid-sized businesses. Calls to Bruno Marszowski, cfo, were referred to a spokesman, who did not return them.
Two weeks ago the levels were up to 74. Dealers commented on heavy activity in the high-yield bond market last week. The paper struggled late last year, inching down to the mid-60s, as dealers noted skepticism about the proposed $350 million investment by Leucadia Capital Corporation. Levels began to rebound in late December following PricewaterhouseCoopers' positive review of the asset return of the company (LMW, 12/25). Finova has a $1.6 billion facility which breaks down into two tranches and is priced at 35 basis points over LIBOR. Citibank and Commerzbank are the lead arrangers, according to Capital DATA Loanware.