Banc One Corp. and First Chicago NBD Corp. are leading a $200 million syndicated loan for Brightpoint Inc., a global distributor of wireless communications equipment.
The credit will replace current facilities that supply $125 million of available capital. It gives Brightpoint the ability to borrow in multiple currencies-a somewhat unusual feature for a credit of its size.
The loan will be used for the global working capital needs of Brightpoint, as well as for certain capital expenditures and potential acquisitions.
"We have a high level of confidence in Banc One and have had a long-term relationship with the bank," said Phillip A. Bounsall, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Brightpoint. Banc One is the Indianapolis-based company's current lender.
"When you add First Chicago to the mix, that brings more international capability," Mr. Bounsall said.
Banc One started its syndication operation only seven months ago, with the hiring as vice president of John M. Buley Jr. from CoreStates Financial Corp.
It had had an active mezzanine finance program but was the last large U.S. commercial bank to establish a syndications unit.
Since then, the group has been agent or co-agent on a steady stream of middle-market transactions, most of which are for less than $400 million.
Last February the Columbus, Ohio, banking company, along with First Chicago NBD and National City Corp., Cleveland, led a $410 million loan for an Indiana utility, Ipalco Enterprises Inc.
Banc One is focused on middle-market companies such as Brightpoint, which had net sales of about $211 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
"With our already solid foundation in the lower middle market," said Mr. Buley, "we are now increasing our penetration of the upper middle market."
Mr. Buley "is helping to leverage very strong middle-market relationships, which is important as Banc One consolidates what had been a sprawling group of banks," said Michael H. Rushmore, head of loan syndications and trading research at BA Securities Inc., the section 20 subsidiary of BankAmerica Corp.
"The middle market is just fiercely competitive," he said. "To compete in that market, Banc One must have a pro such as John just to play in the game."
The credit is expected to come to market in late May and to close in June.
It is structured as a five-year revolver, with pricing set on a grid between 40 and 112.5 basis points over the London interbank offered rate, based on the company's leverage ratio.
A portion is set aside for funding in multiple currencies.