A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Clinical diagnostics maker Dade Behring (Deerfield, Illinois) reported that its board of directors has approved a quarterly cash dividend plan, the first in its history, and has declared that the initial dividend of 6 cents a share of common stock be payable on June 20 for shareholders of record as of June 1.

In addition, the board has approved a stock repurchase program of up to 2.5 million shares.

"Over time the company will purchase stock in the open market, as it deems appropriate, using free cash flow," said John Duffey, Dade Behring's CFO. "We will also continue to make the right investments in R&D and strategic customer initiatives, and to repay debt."

The company also reported the closing of a new $600 million revolving credit facility, due 2010.

This new facility replaces Dade Behring's former arrangement and is intended to create liquidity and save the company interest costs.

Under the company's current credit ratings, U.S. dollar borrowing costs on the new facility are LIBOR plus 62.5 basis points. In 2Q05, the company will incur a one-time non-cash pre-tax charge of $8 million, representing the write-off of deferred financing fees from the pre-existing credit agreement.

Dade Behring's board also has approved the immediate redemption of its remaining $275 million 11.91% senior subordinated notes, using the make-whole provision under the bond indenture. The company anticipates the redemption to occur in early June. The company will incur a one-time pre-tax cost of $24 million in the second 2Q05, which represents the premium paid to bondholders to redeem the bonds.

Hypertension Diagnostics (HDI; Eagan, Minnesota) said that on April 29, it completed the issuance of 2,756,609 shares of common stock and 173,335 shares of Series A convertible preferred stock to holders of warrants to purchase common stock and preferred stock, resulting in gross proceeds of $822,227, which represents 91% of the total warrant proceeds available for exercise.

Among those holders electing to exercise their warrants were four of HDI's seven directors, who collectively exercised their warrants to purchase $207,758 of common stock and preferred stock. The warrants had an effective exercise price of 17 cents per share of common stock.

The company said that gross proceeds would be used primarily for working capital purposes and to expand market penetration of the CVProfilor, HDI's device designed to help doctors save lives through early detection of cardiovascular disease.

The CVProfilor measures the elasticity of small and large arteries, an indicator of vascular health.

In other financing news, Bio-Rad Laboratories (Hercules, California) reported that it has begun an offer to exchange up to $200 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.125% senior subordinated notes, due 2014, which have been registered for its outstanding 6.125% senior subordinated notes, due 2014, issued in a private placement.

The exchange offer will expire at 5 p.m. EDT on May 31, unless extended. Any private notes not tendered in the offer will remain outstanding and continue to accrue interest, but will not retain any rights under the registration rights agreement except in limited circumstances. Bio-Rad is a multinational manufacturer of life science research products and clinical diagnostics, serving more than 70,000 customers through a network of more than 30 subsidiary offices.