Bonds sought in Virginia Blood deal

The Virginia Blood Services headquarters at 2825 Emerywood Parkway. (Photo by Michael Schwartz)

The Virginia Blood Services headquarters at 2825 Emerywood Parkway. (Photo by Michael Schwartz)

The new owner of Richmond’s biggest blood bank is looking to put out up to $20 million in bonds to help finance its purchase.

Pittsburgh-based Institute for Transfusion Medicine late last year bought Virginia Blood Services, a local nonprofit that holds about 2,700 blood drives a year and supplies hospitals across Central Virginia. Virginia Blood Services became a subsidiary of the institute Dec. 8, said Charles LaClair, the organization’s executive director for financial services.

“We’re requesting up to $20 million [in bonds], and we would use about $15 million to pay for the acquisition itself,” LaClair said. “We have temporary financing in place until the bond transaction has been completely consummated.”

The Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority, a state board with broad financial and development powers, would issue the bonds. LaClair said the institute is going through the authority because it can issue tax-exempt bonds to nonprofits.

The authority will hold a public hearing Wednesday on whether to approve the bond issuance.

The additional $5 million in bonds would help the institute refinance debt Virginia Blood issued in 2006, also through the authority, LaClair said.

“We wanted to have one debt instrument that encompassed both expenses,” he said.

LaClair said the institute approached the authority about a month ago and got permission to move forward. He said it’s too early in the process to comment on what the terms of the bonds would be.

The institute purchased Virginia Blood Services less than a year after the 39-year-old nonprofit severed ties with HCA, one of its biggest and longest-standing clients.

Virginia Blood Services brought in $34 million in revenue in 2011, according to its most recent annual report. It collected more than 110,000 pints of blood that year.

Although it has a new owner, the local nonprofit will keep its name and its Richmond headquarters at 2825 Emerywood Parkway, just off Glenside Drive, where it employs about 250 people.

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