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American Skiing Grooms Debt For Smooth Ride

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American Skiing Co. has scored a new $230 million senior secured credit facility as part of a wider $320 million refinancing that slashes borrowing costs and pushes out maturities.

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American Skiing Co. has scored a new $230 million senior secured credit facility as part of a wider $320 million refinancing that slashes borrowing costs and pushes out maturities. "Our own business improvements in conjunction with the favorable rate environment collided to create a very fortuitous time for us to refinance," said David Hirasawa, director of investor relations at American Skiing.

The new credit facility, consisting of a six-year, $125 million first-lien loan and seven-year, $105 million second-lien tranche, was co-led by Credit Suisse First Boston and GE Commercial Finance, along with a major participation from Black Diamond Capital Management. Hirasawa was unable to provide exact pricing, but he said it's a favorable blended rate compared to the old facilities. The other banks and institutions involved are Deerfield Capital Management, Highland Capital Management, Nationwide Mutual, Aozora Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

CapitalSource Finance, which co-led the previous $91.5 million credit facility with GE is no longer involved. "Capital Source had been involved in the tranche 'B' and were receiving rates at 12 1/4%. The current rates are much better and they didn't want to stay involved at the better rates," said Betsy Wallace, cfo at American Skiing. She said Black Diamond has been a long time lender to American Skiing.

Of the new term debt, $125.4 million was used to repurchase 12% senior sub notes due 2006. Approximately $87.6 million was used to repay the previous credit. The Park City, Utah-based company also exchanged its 10 1/2% repriced convertible exchangeable preferred stock for $76.7 million of junior subordinated debt due November 2012 that has no amortization or payments until maturity. The prior agreement did not allow American Skiing to redeem the preferred stock.

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