A syndicate led by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. has given Sunbeam Corp. an additional three-month waiver on covenants for a $1.7 billion financing.

The extension runs through March 31 and is intended to give Sunbeam and its new chief executive officer, Jerry Levin, more time to restore the company to profitability.

By granting the extension, Morgan Stanley is expected to again delay a full syndication of the loan. Morgan is co-leading the loan with BankAmerica Corp. and First Union Corp.; each holds roughly one-third of the debt.

Full syndication was halted in July after Sunbeam released disappointing financial results, fired its CEO, and planned to audit its 1997 performance. That leaves the three lead banks holding a high level of Sunbeam debt until investors are satisfied that the company has righted itself.

"I don't know when it's going to happen, but it's not going to happen this year," said R. Bram Smith, head of syndications for Morgan Stanley.

Sunbeam, the Delray Beach, Fla., appliance maker, announced Tuesday that after a three-month audit it was revising its 1997 financial statements. The new figures reflect a revised restructuring charge of $228 million Sunbeam took in 1996. The revision, from $337 million, suggests Sunbeam was able to boost its 1997 performance.

The company also will revise its sales figures from bill-and-hold methods that had let the company bill retailers for products that had not been shipped.

Former Sunbeam CEO Albert J. Dunlap has been accused of using questionable accounting practices in 1997 to make it appear Sunbeam had achieved a turnaround.

Problems at Sunbeam have turned into headaches for its lenders. In July the lead syndicators offered Sunbeam a six-month waiver on meeting covenants. In return, Sunbeam agreed to pay an additional 0.5 percentage point of interest on the loan, about $6 million a year.

Sunbeam is using the credit to fund acquisitions of Coleman Co., First Alert Inc., and Signature Brands USA made during Mr. Dunlap's tenure.

The three-part loan includes a $550 million, seven-year term credit and a $400 million, seven-year revolving credit, both priced at the London interbank offered rate plus 2.75 percentage points. The third part is a $750 million, eight-and-a-half-year term loan at Libor plus three points.

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