Key 2010 Games host reaches financing deal

Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:01pm EDT
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Resort and real estate firm Intrawest, which will host skiing and other events at the 2010 Winter Olympics, reached a restructuring deal with lenders on $1.7 billion in debt due on Thursday.

Details of the agreement were not released, but the unit of Fortress Investment Group LLC said in a statement the deal will allow it to prepare for the winter season at its North American ski resorts and pursue its long-term strategies.

The last-minute agreement was announced as organizers of the Vancouver Games were meeting with representatives of the International Olympic Committee on issues including the impact of the global financial crisis.

Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) Chief Executive John Furlong said the Games were protected no matter what happened to Intrawest because the new competition venues at the firm's Whistler resort near Vancouver have been completed.

"Whatever the situation, we would be faced with there, we think we would be able to manage," Furlong said shortly before Intrawest announced the agreement.

Intrawest has resort and real estate operations across North America and was purchased by Fortress in 2006 for $2.8 billion.

VANOC and IOC officials say they are monitoring the global economic situation, but sponsors are still meeting their financial obligations.

"There hasn't been a payment missed. We're up to date with every partner and sponsor," Furlong said.

VANOC said the financial situation has had no apparent affect on interest in Canadian ticket sales.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)