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DALLAS-Restaurant megachain Brinker International has entered into a $215 million unsecured, three-year revolving credit facility replacing its existing $300 million facility expiring in October 2009.

The company and its franchisees operate 1,700 restaurants in 26 countries under the Chili’s, On the Border and Maggiano’s Little Italy banners. In December, Brinker sold all but 19.9% of its Romano’s Macaroni Grill division, which allowed it to reduce the size of its credit line. The funds primarily will be used as a backstop and to fund day-to-day capital needs.

“Our ability to close this transaction in a difficult financial environment is a testament to the strength of our brands, our balance sheet and considerable cash flow, as well as our financial relationships,” said Marie Perry, vice president of investor relations and treasury, in a press release.

The company plans fewer new restaurant openings and will close approximately 35 units, also reducing the need for debt. However, Maggiano’s opened its first unit in South Jersey, at Cherry Hill Mall, on March 2.

In early February, Brinker announced it would cut 155 headquarters and field jobs, not long after it posted second-quarter sales of $949.4 billion, down 8% from the previous year. However, that result was better than expected. The company lost $21.8 million in the quarter, compared with earnings of $54.5 million the prior year.

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