Lithia Motors boosts its credit line to $800 million, positions itself for a potential buying spree

Lithia Motors said today it has added $150 million to its credit line, giving it access to $800 million. There are 10 institutions participating in the credit line which continues until April 2017.
Lithia said the revolving line provides $575 million for new vehicle inventory floorplan financing, $80 million for used vehicle inventory floorplan financing and $145 million for general corporate purposes including working capital and acquisitions.
The move may signal the nation’s ninth-largest auto retailer is on the cusp of adding to its 87 stores in 11 states. In a similar announcement last April, Lithia said it was devoting just $50 million of its $650 million available line for working capital and acquisitions.
“Acquisition activity over the past 12 months and an improving vehicle sales environment increased our inventory requirements,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Chris Holzshu in a statement. “The additional capacity under our facility will allow us the room we need to grow.”
Lenders involved in the Medford company’s syndicated facility include four manufacturer-affiliated finance companies — Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC; Toyota Motor Credit Corporation; BMW Financial Services NA, LLC; and Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation — and six commercial banks. The commercial banks are U.S. Bank, N.A.; JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.; Bank of America, N.A.; Wells Fargo Bank, National Association; Bank of the West; and Key Bank National Association.

Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 1,759 mass layoffs — defined as 50 or more pink slips — during November, sending 173,558 workers to the unemployment lines.

More than half of American smartphone users presently go with Apple.

Steve Jobs $132 million yacht impounded — and he never sailed on it.

Starbuck Bancshares’ bid to acquire PremierWest Bancorp and PremierWest Bank is running into resistance from some shareholders.

White City Terminal Union Railway goes from Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to a railroad engineer.

Speaking of railroads, the nation’s rail intermodal traffic rose 8 percent last week over the same week a year ago, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Container traffic for the week ended Saturday rose 11.4 percent to 219,607 units, but trailer traffic fell 10.4 percent to 32,378 units, AAR said. Railroad carloads — excluding intermodal — fell 3.9 percent to 292,640 units for the week.

Here is the weekly AAR report. Typically, trains are used for the long haul and trucks for the shorter distance at either end of the trip.

A Eugene firm has developed application to compare Google Maps and Apple Maps

Whatever the case, consumers aren’t buying it, according to Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index as reported by Kathleen Madigan of the Wall Street Journal.

Bureau of Economic Analysis reports personal income increased $85.8 billion, or 0.6 percent, and disposable personal income increased $74.7 billion, or 0.6 percent, in November. Personal consumption expenditures increased $41.3 billion, or 0.4 percent.

In October, personal income increased $7.5 billion, or 0.1 percent, DPI increased $6.4 billion, or 0.1 percent, and PCE decreased $6.6 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates.

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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