Credit Suisse has come to market in the past week as the sole underwriter for three deals totaling $3.2 billion.

The New York office of the commercial bank owned by Zurich-based CS Holding launched a $1.25 billion credit Tuesday for the merger between Hoffman-LaRoche's Roche Biomedical Laboratories and National Health Laboratories.

The deal follows a $1.45 billion credit for Luxottica Group SpA's bid for United States Shoe Co. The bank also launched a $500 million credit for California Energy's acquisition of Magma Power.

Market sources point out that the Luxottica leveraged loan plays into one of Credit Suisse's developing strengths - leveraged lending. Pricing reflects the leverage and appeal of the implied BB-rated Luxottica.

Initial pricing for the loan for the Belluno, Italy-based manufacturer of eyeglass frames is the London interbank offered rate plus 200 basis points. Interim allocation fees are 100 basis points, with a $300,000 flat fee for $100 million co-agent commitments, according to market sources.

The Luxottica loan is divided into two six-year parts: a $1 billion term loan and a $450 million revolver.

The Roche credit has an $800 million six-year term loan and a $450 million five-year revolver. Fees are Libor plus 37.5 basis points, without any up-front fees.

The firm is apparently continuing to build the leveraged lending staff that was created last summer. The bank had already established itself as one of the leading investment grade lenders.

"Leveraged recapitalization or acquisition finance will be an important part of the business," said Bruce Ling, head of syndications at the firm. "The traditional investment grade business, project finance, will remain important and central to our strategy.

"But, I think the profit dynamics of the leverage or acquisition finance business are so attractive that it's only appropriate that we assign significant resources to that segment of the market."

In March, CS Holding's CS First Boston unit recruited a former Bankers Trust New York Corp. executive, Mark Patterson, to become managing director of U.S. debt finance.

Mr. Patterson is credited with building the junk bond division of Bankers Trust.

Mr. Ling, another former Bankers Trust executive, became the head of syndications in July.

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