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ATLANTA-Locally based AppleGrove Restaurants has received $87 million in financing from Scottsdale, AZ-based GE Capital Solutions, Franchise Finance for the sale-leaseback of 33 properties in seven states.

The funding allows AppleGrove, one of the original Applebee’s franchisees, to reduce its debt and gain capacity for future growth. The transaction covers Applebee’s restaurants in Georgia, Alabama, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. “This is the proverbial win-win situation for both parties,” says GE Capital Solutions, Franchise Finance vice president, Robert Daniel. “It contributes to our growth in a strong franchise system with great assets.”

AppleGrove is using the sale-leaseback, which will help the company to free up capital, to help redefine its balance sheet and position itself for growth. “The timing of this deal works well with management’s long-term strategies,” says AppleGrove CFO Mike Rummel.

A spokesperson for GE Capital Solutions, Franchise Finance says the transaction is unrelated to GE Capital Solutions’ recent acquisition of Trustreet Properties Inc. The transaction, valued at $3 billion, involves the payment of $17.05 per outstanding share of Trustreet’s common stock and the assumption or refinancing of the company’s outstanding debt. “The deal was being worked on prior to the acquisition,” the spokesperson says.

Those involved with transaction say sale-leaseback is becoming more popular as companies realize its potential as a financial tool. “GE Capital Solutions recognized the market is ripe for sale-leasebacks and created a package that met our needs,” Rummel says.

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