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DALLAS-Locally based Palm Harbor Homes Inc.’s chattel lender subsidiary has closed what is being touted as the first manufactured housing asset-backed securities issued in a decade. The $141-million securitization’s collateral is a portfolio of chattel mortgage and land-and-home mortgage loans.

Palm Harbor Homes’ execs did not return telephone calls for comment by publication time. According to a corporate press release, CountryPlace Mortgage Ltd. used the fresh capital to retire one loan and set up a new origination pool. The $141 million was collected in a select road show to “qualified institutional buyers,” officials say in the release.

More details about the financing, though, are sure to come out during Palm Harbor’s first quarter earnings call, set for July 20. Palm Harbor, one of the nation’s leading manufactured housing corporations, owns 80% of the CountryPlace subsidiary.

The warehouse facility is CountryPlace’s third one in three years. In late March 2004, it borrowed $200 million for two years, using the funds to repay a $125-million, one-year loan with a 65% advance rate on the eve of its expiration.

Parent Palm Harbor has been steadily paring down its operation. Sales centers have closed and a production line was idled, according to the firm’s mid-May financial statement. As a result, the quarter’s net loss was $2 million or $1.2 million less than its Q4 2004. Net sales were $147.7 million versus $129.8 million a year ago.

“We have streamlined our company-owned retail operations, adjusted our Texas factory capacity, and further adjusted our cost structure to be consistent with current market demand,” Larry Keener, the firm’s chairman, president and CEO, says in the release. “As a result of these consolidations, we believe we have the appropriate capacity and the right cost structure to realize our goal of restoring Palm Harbor to profitable operations in fiscal 2006.”

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