DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Ace completes early debt refinance

BY Ken Clark

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corp. announced the early redemption of its outstanding 9.125% senior secured notes originally maturing June 1, 2016.  The refinance was driven by the April 13, 2012, closing of a new five-year $600 million senior secured credit facility composed of a new $400 million revolving credit facility and a new $200 million term loan, according to the co-op. 

Ray Griffith, president and CEO of Ace Hardware, said the deal puts Ace in a position for “significant future interest savings, while reflecting our strong financial position and ability to access the financial market at attractive terms.”

In addition to the early redemption of the senior notes, the new facility also replaced an existing $300 million senior secured revolving credit facility.

The pricing on the new $600 million facility will initially be LIBOR plus an applicable credit margin, subject to adjustment based on Ace’s leverage ratio, according to Ace. Bank of America served as administrative agent on the transaction, while Bank of America, JP Morgan and US Bank served as joint lead arrangers and joint bookrunners. 

To take advantage of the favorable interest rate environment, Ace entered into an interest rate swap derivative agreement to fix the interest rate of the $200 million term loan at 1.13% plus an applicable credit margin, representing an all-in rate of 3.38% based on today’s leverage ratio tier.

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Ace’s Va. redistribution center almost ready

BY HBSDEALER Staff

According to an article in The Virginian-Pilot, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corp.’s redistribution center at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center is nearing completion.

The facility, which broke ground last June, is described as a 336,000 square-foot import redistribution center. 

The grand opening is slated for July 26, but the facility has already received its temporary certificate of occupancy (May 1) and received its first shipment, according to the article. The center will employ 75 full-time workers when it comes online in July.

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In Indy, Do it Best emphasizes teamwork

BY Ken Clark

Indianapolis — Hockey legend Jim Craig, the goalie from the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic hockey team of 1980 delivered the keynote speech during the Do it Best Corp. May Market here. Craig’s message of teamwork was similar to that of Do it Best CEO Bob Taylor. 

The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op introduced a variety of program enhancements during the May 19-21 event. “We see a lot of enthusiasm, excitement and positive momentum among our members,” said Taylor. Specifically, total purchases through the third quarter of the fiscal year were up 8.9%, and the co-op expects double-digit sales increase by year-end, along with a ninth consecutive annual member rebate totaling more than $100 million.

Member purchases surpassed $7.9 million during 90 minutes of Sneak Peek sales, a new market record for the annual Friday night event, according to the co-op. Top sales vendors were Reliance Water Heaters, DeWalt and Dap. 

Taylor recognized the service of long time executives Dave Dietz and Dave Haist, who are retiring at the end of June. Dan Starr, currently VP of human resources and general counsel at Do it Best will replace Haist as EVP and COO, and Doug Roth, currently the director of financial reporting will fill Dietz’s position as VP of finance.

A paint and primer in one was promoted at the show. Do it Best in partnership wit Sherwin-Williams introduced the enhanced-paint performance in its Best Look and Color Solutions paint lines. During the market, Do it Best promoted its plans to improve its Best Rewards program by introduction, among other things, a web site to allow consumers to check their point status.

Do it Best also promoted its Online Advertising Sales Information System (OASIS), designed to help dealers budget, plan, create and distribute advertising materials. 

The May Market also included a Saturday evening performance of comedian Jim Gaffigan, and a Sunday lunch presentation called “Creating moments of truth: the changing rules of customer service.”

 

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