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Cedar Fair completes refinancing of its debt

Tom Jackson • Jul 31, 2010 at 2:56 AM


Easing a debt load that has preoccupied company officials for months, Cedar Fair announced Thursday it has successfully refinanced a $1.8 billion debt.

Cedar Fair officials said the deal puts the company on track to consider resuming cash distributions later this year, when final figures are in for the company's amusement parks.

The company is also pushing the due date for other debt farther into the future. It's paying off debt that was due in 2012 and 2014, replacing it with debt due in 2015 and 2016.

To do that, it's borrowing about $1.4 billion -- a $1.175 billion term loan and $260 million in revolving credit.

Later Thursday, company officials also said they'd completed the sale of $405 million of senior unsecured notes, finishing an offering that had been announced July 15.

The second announcement brings the total of Cedar Fair's refinanced debt up to about $1.8 billion.

The $260 million of revolving credit matures in July 2015, while the senior secured term loan matures in December 2016.

"This financing provides us with long-term stability in our capital structure as our earliest debt maturity, the revolving credit facility, is five years out," said Peter Crage, Cedar Fair's corporate vice president of finance and chief financial officer.

"In addition, we believe the new covenants offer us the necessary flexibility we need to successfully pursue our strategy, which includes continued re-investment in our parks, debt reduction, as well as distributions at an appropriate time in the future," Crage said.

Richard "Dick" Kinzel, Cedar Fair's president, chairman and CEO, has said Cedar Fair will consider resuming cash distributions later in 2010, after the company can review how it did during the operating season.

Cash distributions were suspended last year.

"By successfully refinancing our debt, we accomplished two priorities: greater certainty within our capital structure and significantly enhanced financial flexibility," Kinzel said.

The fact that the company was able to complete transactions like this in an uncertain economic environment is testament to the support its business model receives from lending partners, Kinzel said.

Ultimately, it's a nod to Cedar Fair's security and potential for growth.

"We truly appreciate the strong support of our relationship banks and the debt capital markets," Kinzel said.

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