ASC gets debt reprieve

Skiing company's stock bounces back

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— American Skiing Company has been granted additional time to renegotiate the terms of its debt with its senior lender.

The company now has until July 9 to finalize the negotiations. The company says it has completed its talks with Fleet National Bank, which serves as the lead underwriter of its "senior resort credit facility."

What remains to be accomplished, according to a release issued by ASC, is finalizing similar terms with other banks who are participating in the syndicate that made the loan.

"No assurance can be given at this time that these negotiations will be successfully concluded," a company press release cautioned.

A deadline came and went June 28 with no word from the ski resort operator, which was expected to report whether it could work out a settlement with its lenders on its technical default of $85 million. The company still remained silent as trading on the stock exchange wound down June 29, then released its news release late in the day on Friday.

ASC's CEO B.J. Fair and Chief Financial Officer Mark Miller announced on May 30 that the company would seek to renegotiate its senior resort and real estate loans as part of a strategy to turn the company's fortunes around.

The company has amassed more than $400 million in loans. The two ASC executives said they were also seeking an infusion of capital to help the company over the latest hump. A big part of ASC executives' plans to reorganize the company includes the intent to sell the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and its assets in Steamboat. Those assets include the Steamboat Grand Hotel and other undeveloped real estate.

American Skiing has not closed on any sales of quartershares at the Steamboat Grand Hotel since the third week in May. On May 11, a company spokesman said details were being finalized and a settlement was being signed to avert a lawsuit seeking a $5.4 million lien against ASC. The lien was filed by attorneys for Colorado First Construction/PCL, lead contractors on the hotel which opened in October 2000. The hotel includes 234 condominium units being marketed on an interval ownership basis purchasers can acquire one-quarter interests in the condos. Most of the units have bedrooms that can be locked off from the inside and through a second entrance to the hallway, and rented as individual hotel rooms. The suit alleged that CFC/PCL was owed more than $11 million for labor, materials and services that went into the hotel construction. The contractor claimed that a large number of change orders, as many as 600, led to cost overruns.

ASC disputed those claims, but sought to settle the matter out

of court.

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