Fortress-backed Intrawest refinances $1.7bn in debt

The resort operator, which was reportedly in danger of filing for bankruptcy, has refinanced its loan on the day it came due. Intrawest owns and develops resorts in the US and Europe, including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Intrawest, a portfolio company of Fortress Investment Group, has forged an agreement to refinance a $1.7 billion loan. The deal came on 23 October, on the day the loan was due.

Earlier this month, the Financial Times had reported that Fortress was trying to prevent Intrawest from spiraling into bankruptcy.

Fortress had approached potential and existing lenders about refinancing $1.4 billion of Intrawest’s senior debt, with the private equity firm planning to inject $100 million to boost the company’s equity value, the FT reported.

Fortress bought Intrawest, which develops and manages resorts in the US and Europe, in 2006 for $2.8 billion. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver and owns interests in 10 resorts including prominent Vancouver ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb, which is a host venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The company develops real estate at its resorts and other locations.

Fortress, which controls two publicly listed real estate vehicles, Newcastle and Eurocastle, last month said it would not issue a dividend for the third quarter in an attempt to shore up its capital base and invest in the financial services sector. The decision came amid a significant slowdown in the firm’s fundraising.

Across all of Fortress’ investment vehicles, the firm raised about $2.2 billion in the three months ending 30 June, down from $5.9 billion in the same period in 2007.