Associates First Capital Corp., an affiliate of Ford Motor Credit Corp., said it will pay $157 million in cash to buy the manufactured- housing and recreational-vehicle financing division of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.

By acquiring Fleetwood Credit Corp., Associates hopes to build upon its existing relationship with Fleetwood and its dealers. Associates already provides dealer financing for Fleetwood's manufactured homes.

"The acquisition will enhance our efforts to align with leading manufacturers in key product markets," said Keith Hughes, chairman and chief executive of Associates. "We believe there are growing opportunities in these markets to enhance a manufacturer's dealer and retail sales network."

Associates and Fleetwood Enterprises are also expected to sign a long- term agreement calling for cooperation between the two companies. The agreement would also give the finance company exclusive rights to provide financing to Fleetwood's wholesale and retail customers.

At year end, Fleetwood Credit was operating in 49 states through nine regional offices. Total assets at Dec. 31 amounted to about $400 million, with a servicing portfolio of $1.1 billion.

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