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James E. Lane Fills Yearlong Vacancy : Cardis Corp. Finally Gets New President

November 17, 1987|JOHN TIGHE

Financially troubled Cardis Corp. in Buena Park filled a yearlong vacancy Monday by naming James E. Lane to the position of president and chief operating officer.

Former President Richard Norman resigned his position in 1986 as earnings plummeted.

Lane, 43, previously was executive vice president of Cardis and has been with the company since 1976. Before that, he held financial and operations management positions with Cannon Development Corp., Signal Cos. Inc. and Mobil Corp.

Lane said the company, which has been losing money for more than a year, should return to profitability by the first calendar quarter of 1988.

For the 18 months ended April 30, the latest figures released, Cardis, a distributor of auto parts in the Southwest, reported a loss of $35.5 million, on sales of $349.3 million.

"We're completing a major sale of a subsidiary, renegotiating debt and cutting costs," Lane said. "Things look very bright."

Last month, Cardis announced the sale of its profitable subsidiary, Tuneup Masters, a quick-fix auto repair chain, for $82.2 million. Proceeds of the sale were to be used to trim Cardis' burdensome debt load.

Cardis, which currently has debt in excess of $100 million, plans to pay off a $43.5-million loan from Dresdner Bank, a West German institution. The loan was due Dec. 31, 1986, but was extended and is now payble on demand.

Cardis is also negotiating for extensions on loans from Security Pacific National Bank, its largest creditor, but it has yet to win an agreement. Cardis has a $25-million payment past due and $9 million more due Nov. 30.

Lane said Cardis has cut its losses by $1.5 million each month this year as operating costs have been reduced and inventory trimmed by $7 million.

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