Wise finance deal gives Ala. agency option for stake [UPDATE]

Oct 04, 2007 | 10:33 AM | Paul Schaffer

Wise Metals Group LLC has entered a financing deal that opens the door to an Alabama agency gaining a 25-percent stake in the company.

Wise said Thursday it has obtained $75 million in financing from Retirement Systems of Alabama through a new convertible preferred equity transaction. As part of the arrangement, the state-sponsored entity has the option of later converting its new securities into a 25-percent ownership stake in the company.

The company has a heavy debt load but has been eyeing European markets in the wake of a plant closing by Alcoa Inc. in Wales. Wise's headquarters is in Baltimore.

Danny Mendelson, Wise's executive vice president, said the new money opens the way for expanding production to serve customers in Europe and the Mideast, including the necessary inventory buildup. With that additional working capital, the potential export deals that had been disclosed previously are just about nailed down, he added.

"This provides Wise Metals Group with a strong financial partner and positions the company to take advantage of any and all opportunities available in the aluminum industry, regardless of their size or magnitude," David D'Addario, Wise's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.....

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