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Stater Bros. Ends Nationwide Fund-Raising Tour

COLTON, Calif. -- Stater Bros. Markets, based here, is winding up its fund-raising trip today when it completes plans to sell $700 million in bonds needed to pay off existing debt and build a new $200 million headquarters and distribution facility at the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernadino, according to the Riverside, Calif. Press-Enterprise.

The deal will let the chain take advantage of lower interest rates by refinancing its outstanding debt and paying for the new facilities without increasing the amount of money the company pays each month to service debt, Stater Bros. president Jack H. Brown told the newspaper.

Brown deemed the 18-city trip was a success, since Stater Bros.' 45 presentations to potential bond buyers generated $2 billion in offers. The fact that the company could have raised almost three times as much as it needed is an indication of the company's strong reputation on Wall Street, he added.

All the documents needed to seal the deal should be signed today, with money changing hands on Thursday, according to Brown.

The trip took Brown and other company executives across the country, including two visits to Minneapolis. Brown said he has been borrowing money from large institutional investors for 20 years and has seen the company's profile rise over those years.

Stater Bros. found out late last month, just before the tour, that Standard & Poor's has raised the credit rating of the grocery chain's parent company. S&P's Rating Services upped the rating for Stater Bros. Holdings Inc. from B+ to BB- in recognition of the company's strong performance in the Southern California labor dispute that hurt its three largest competitors.
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