Fleet Financial Group is planning a bank meeting next week for its $425 million leveraged loan to back an acquisition by textile maker Joan Fabrics Corp.

The loan is being underwritten by Fleet, which is acting as administrative agent, and by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Wachovia Corp., which are committing $100 million each as documentation agents.

Commitments are due the week of Aug. 18. The loan is expected to close before Labor Day.

Lowell, Mass.-based Joan Fabrics, a maker of upholstery for automobile interiors and furniture, said it would use the loan for its announced $310 million acquisition of textile firm Mastercraft Group, in North Carolina, and to refinance debt.

Boston-based Fleet, which established a corporate finance group in March 1996, finished the first half of 1997 in 14th place on the agent-only, leveraged-lending-league tables, according to Securities Data Co. That's up from 21st place a year earlier.

"Between the (buyout) sponsor market and the existing franchise, there's been a very big opportunity that we've been able to capitalize on," said Timothy J. Conway, managing director and head of corporate finance at Fleet.

The Joan Fabrics credit is split into four parts: a $120 million, six- year, A-term loan; a $115 million, six-year revolving credit; a $125 million, eight-year, B-term loan; and a $65 million, nine-year, C-term loan.

Fee information was unavailable, but pricing started at the London interbank offered rate plus 250 basis points on the six-year revolver and climbed to Libor plus 300 basis points and Libor plus 350 basis points on the eight- and nine-year segments, respectively.

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