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Business news briefs — Jan. 7

LOCAL BUSINESS

YRC will refinance debt

YRC Worldwide Inc., the U.S. trucking company that averted bankruptcy in 2011, is seeking $1.15 billion in loans to refinance debt, Bloomberg News reported.

Credit Suisse Group AG is reportedly leading the transaction, which includes a $700 million term loan and a $450 million asset-backed portion, both due in five years.

The bank reportedly will host a lender meeting for the Overland Park, Kan., company Thursday in New York.

YRC wants to complete the refinancing before a $69.4 million bond matures on Feb. 15. YRC, formed by the merger of Yellow Freight with Akron-based Roadway, has posted annual losses since 2007. Last year it asked its 26,000 union workers to extend a labor contract and keep enduring a 15 percent wage cut to help the company survive.

It reached an agreement in December with creditors and some investors to reduce debt by $300 million, according to a statement at the time.

The company has $952 million of bonds and loans maturing by March 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Loans under a credit pact it obtained in 2011 pay interest ranging from 6.5 percentage points more than the London interbank offered rate with a 3.5 percent minimum on the lending benchmark to 9.75 percentage points more than Libor with a 1.5 percent minimum, Bloomberg reported.

As of Sept. 30, the company had $170.5 million of cash, according a Nov. 12 regulatory filing.

Lenders must submit commitments to the new loans by Jan. 23.

REAL ESTATE

Home prices make slow gain

Home prices barely rose in November from the previous month and year-over-year gains slowed, reflecting declines in sales in the fall. Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices increased just 0.1 percent in November from October.

That’s down slightly from October and far below August’s 0.9 percent gain.

Akron-area single-family home prices are higher than a year ago. Akron prices, including so-called distressed sales, increased by 3.9 percent in November compared to a year ago, according to CoreLogic. Sales were down 0.3 percent from October.

When distressed home sales are excluded, Akron-area prices were up 4 percent from a year ago. Non-distressed home prices were down 0.8 percent in November compared to October.

The figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as cold winter weather that typically slows sales. Home prices have risen a healthy 11.8 percent from a year ago, CoreLogic said. But that’s the smallest yearly gain since March.

FOOD

Nestle selling pasta unit

Food giant Nestle is selling Joseph’s Pasta, a Massachusetts maker of frozen pastas, to the buyout firm Brynwood Partners. The deal is the latest sale by Nestle, which is trimming its brand offerings as part of an effort to focus on more profitable business lines. Terms were not disclosed.

Nestle, based in Switzerland with frozen prepared food operations in Solon, acquired Joseph’s Pasta in 2006. The company employs 300 and makes a variety of frozen ravioli, tortellini and manicotti.

Last year, Nestle chief executive Paul Bulcke said the company planned to sell some of its underperforming brands. In November, Nestle agreed to sell its Jenny Craig brand in North America, Australia, New Zealand and parts of the Pacific to a private equity firm, North Castle Partners, for an undisclosed amount.

EXECUTIVE SUITE

CEO Mulally stays at Ford

Ford CEO Alan Mulally says he will not leave the automaker for Microsoft and will stay at Ford at least through 2014.

Mulally is widely credited with saving Ford after being hired away from Boeing in 2006. But in recent months there have been numerous reports that he was in the running for the top job at Microsoft, where CEO Steve Ballmer has said he plans to leave the company sometime this year.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mulally said he wanted to end the Microsoft speculation. He wouldn’t say if he had talked with the software giant.

Mulally said he has no plans other than to serve Ford.

Compiled from staff and wire reports



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