This excerpt taken from the HAS 10-K filed Mar 9, 2005.
Interest expense decreased to $31,698 in 2004 from $52,462 in 2003, and $77,499 in 2002. This mainly reflects the Company's strategy to reduce its long-term debt. Approximately 72% of the decrease in interest expense from 2003 to 2004 is attributable to lower levels of short-term and long-term debt in 2004 than in 2003. The Company repurchased and repaid approximately $55,700 in principal amount of long-term debt during the year ended December 26, 2004. Approximately 52% of the decrease in 2003 as compared to 2002 is attributable to lower levels of short-term and long-term debt. This mainly reflects the repurchase and repayment of debt in the first quarter of 2003 when the Company repurchased or repaid $200,288, in principal amount, of 7.95% Notes, due in March 2003, using cash from operations. In the fourth quarter of 2003, as noted above, the Company repurchased $167,257 in principal amount of 8.50% Notes due 2006, in conjunction with a tender offer.
The remaining 28% decrease in interest expense from 2003 to 2004 and 48% decrease from 2002 to 2003 is due to lower effective interest rates, primarily the result of interest rate swap agreements that reduce the amount of the Company's debt subject to fixed interest rates. It is the Company's intent to continue to assess the desirability of using available cash from operations to reduce its outstanding long-term debt, as market conditions and the Company's committed revolving credit agreement and other sources of financing allow.