Several large banks closed syndication Thursday on four loans totaling more than $7 billion for Tenneco Inc.
BankAmerica Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., Citicorp, and J.P. Morgan & Co. all played prominent roles in coordinating the syndication of loans that will allow the company to spin off several units and merge its energy unit with El Paso Energy, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Tenneco, based in Greenwich, Conn., plans to focus on its more profitable, less cyclical automotive parts and packaging businesses. The company joins a growing list of companies, including AT&T Corp. and London- based Hanson Industries, that are creating lending opportunities not just by acquiring new businesses but also by spinning off peripheral ones.
Officials of Tenneco and the subsidiaries that are being spun off said they were pleased at the well-coordinated effort among the large banks, and at the fact that all the deals were well oversubscribed.
"We've been able to get all of the banks to coordinate and work together," said Karen Osar, treasurer at Tenneco. "We felt that we wanted to give a variety of our banks who do a lot of good work for us an opportunity to do pieces of the deal."
Bankers said the deals were oversubscribed because the companies had compelling business plans and presented opportunities for banks to establish relationships.
Sources at Chase ascribed the success to the time and effort that went into planning the loan.
Banks were interested in participating in a $415 million loan for the spinoff of 110-year-old Newport News Shipbuilding because the deal created an opportunity for them to "establish a new relationship with the company as it is spun off," said Barbara Asch, a Morgan managing director.
"We've got to get our name out there and establish bank relationships," said Rick Wyatt, treasurer at Newport News. "It's the first time we've done a stand-alone deal since 1968, and we're very excited about how it's turned out."
The companies are expected to create further opportunities for banks.
"Each company will continue to evaluate its strategic position and make acquisitions and access the capital markets at the appropriate time given its business profile," said Robert Mckillip, a managing director and senior relationship manager at BankAmerica.
Ms. Osar, the Tenneco treasurer and a former corporate banker at J.P. Morgan, said that since leaving the bank she has been pleased at the contribution of strong ideas by Canadian and European banks.
"The only surprise to me has been the tremendously strong support and quality of ideas that we've gotten from our foreign banks," she said. "We've developed some strong personal relationships over there."