Mark IV Industries Inc., in a move that will give the Williamsville company more financial flexibility, said today that it has arranged a $300 million credit package from a group of banks.
The new credit agreement, which is more than twice the size of the $125 million revolving credit line it is replacing, will significantly expand the financial resources that Mark IV can tap.
"This is principally to position ourselves to take advantage of opportunities that might come along," said Sal H. Alfiero, Mark IV's chairman.
"This financing allows us to meet all our foreseeable internal needs, while affording us maximum flexibility to pursue selected strategic acquisitions, debt repurchases and, if the opportunity arises, stock repurchases," Alfiero said.
In the past, Mark IV has been actively involved in all of those areas. The company has grown rapidly during the last 10 years through a string of four acquisitions, including a takeover of Armtek Corp. in September 1988.
Alfiero said the new credit agreement does not signal that Mark IV is in the hunt for another major acquisition, mainly because $300 million probably would be enough for a large purchase. In addition, that type of an acquisition would require the credit agreement to be restructured.
Instead, he said the credit agreement will give the company flexibility to pursue "relatively smaller transactions." Mark IV acquired LAWO, a West German sign company, in April and is negotiating to buy a Canadian firm that Alfiero refused to identify.
In addition, Mark IV has been actively buying back its own stock and its junk bond debt during the last year, although Alfiero said he doubts the company would vigorously pursue those options at this time.
The company has repurchased about 3.1 million shares of its own stock through two separate buyback programs since April 1989. "I doubt that we would do much more with the stock," he said.
Mark IV also has bought back more than $241 million of its subordinated -- or junk bond -- debt as the company took advantage of weakness in the junk bond market to repurchase its debt at discounted prices.
Most of those purchases took place late last year, with some occurring as recently as March, but Alfiero said the company has not been buying back its junk bonds lately because they have been trading above par.
Alfiero also said that Mark IV no longer is negotiating with Brunswick Corp. to buy its Vapor Corp. subsidiary, which makes automatic door opening and air conditioning systems for buses and rapid transit rail systems.