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, a portfolio company of Fortress Investment Group, has forged an agreement to refinance a $1.7 billion loan on its 23 October due date with unanimous support from its lender group.

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

Fortress has approached potential and existing lenders about refinancing $1.4 billion of Intrawest’s senior debt, and the private equity firm planned to inject $100 million to boost the company’s equity value, the FT reported. The article said there was a small chance Intrawest could file for bankruptcy.

Fortress bought Intrawest, which develops and manages resorts, 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 throughout North America and Europe.

Fortress 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.

New capital devoted to Fortress’ private equity franchise dropped 71 percent for the 12-month period ending on 30 July, compared with the same period last year, although the firm grew its total assets under management by 23 percent in that time.

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. Earlier this year, Fortress held a roughly $500 million first close on its sixth private equity fund. The firm did not disclose the target for the vehicle, but its fifth buyout fund closed on $5 billion last year.