TLC Beatrice files to sell $150 million in bonds

September 21, 1993|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,New York Bureau

NEW YORK -- TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc., the nation's largest black-owned business and a recent contender to buy the Baltimore Orioles, has filed to sell $150 million in bonds to help shore up its weak financial position.

The New York-based company, which is run by former Baltimore lawyer and football star Jean S. Fugett Jr., filed the bond offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday.

The bonds, which are underwritten by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co., are due in 2003.

Most of the money will go to repay junk bonds that were used to help finance the company's purchase, according to the SEC filing, including $124 million in bonds that carry an 11 percent interest rate due October 1994. The new bonds have not had their interest rate fixed and have not been rated.

Bought as part of a leveraged-buyout in 1987 by Reginald F. Lewis, TLC Beatrice makes and sells foods and beverages in Europe, which has been in a steep recession. It is also highly leveraged, with more than $300 million in short- and long-term debt and $800 million in assets, according to the filing.

When Mr. Lewis died in January of a brain tumor, Mr. Fugett, his half-brother, took over the company.

According to the SEC filing, the company's revenues increased during its fiscal year that ended June 30 to $1.7 billion, from $1.5 billion. Earnings, however, plummeted to a loss of $16.6 million, from a $51.4 million profit the year before, according to the filing.

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