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    Kroger Obtains Financing

    The $1.6-billion credit line could spur new acquisitions.

    The Kroger Co., the largest U.S. supermarket chain and one of the largest convenience store operators, said it reached deals with Citibank N.A. and Chase Manhattan Bank to secure a $1.6-billion revolving credit line. The agreement replaces a 364-day credit agreement that was set to mature and a five-year agreement that was to mature in May 2002.

    The new credit lines include an $812.5 million 364-day facility and an $812.5 million 5-year facility. CFO Michael Schlotman said the new credit line gives Kroger enough "financial flexibility" to keep running its business plan.

    Kroger, which has been expanding through acquisitions and construction of new units, currently operates more than 3,600 stores, including 2,354 supermarkets and other stores in 31 states and 789 convenience stores.

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