Finova Group, a lender to midsize companies, said Friday that it has hired an outside adviser, Jay Alix & Associates, to develop a financial plan, including the renegotiation of $1.6 billion of bank debt due in May.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., company has been beset with loan losses and profit disappointments since last year. In March, Samuel L. Eichenfield, the companys chief executive officer, resigned amid rising concerns over credit quality. Last year Finova had to restate prior-year earnings after it dropped gain-on-sale accounting.
In a press statement, Finova said it continues to evaluate its strategic alternatives, including a possible sale or significant equity infusion. Credit Suisse First Boston has been its adviser on strategy.
Finova said it is discontinuing and selling several lines of business, including corporate finance, business credit, growth finance, and distribution and channel finance. This year it sold two other business units, Harris Williams & Co. and commercial services.
Proceeds of the sales are to be used to build liquidity and pay down debt. Finova has begun to implement a new strategic direction that will focus on core specialty niche businesses, chairman John Teets said in the statement.
Chase Manhattan Corp., Citicorp., Bank of America, and Bank of Montreal arranged the bank credit.
Last week Fitch downgraded Finovas senior debt to B, from BB, and said the company remains on a negative ratings watch.
The ratings action reflected weakening credit fundamentals, significantly reduced financial flexibility, and the steady erosion of the companys franchise value, Fitch said.
Matt Breyne, who replaced Mr. Eichenfield as CEO, said in a press statement Friday that the company continues to have adequate financial resources to satisfy its obligations and fund operations.