iStar Financial raises nearly $3 billion to refinance debt
Commercial real estate company, iStar Financial (SFI) announced Thursday a new $2.95 billion senior secured credit agreement providing for two tranches of term loans. The agreement refinances existing secured bank facilities due in June 2011 and 2012. In September 2010, Fitch Ratings signaled trouble ahead for commercial real estate firm iStar financial. The rating agency warned that the real estate investment trust with $11 billion of undepreciated assets and $2.2 billion of undepreciated book equity was facing imminent default. An iStar representative at the time, denied indications that the firm was not on sound footing. One tranche of the credit agreement is a $1.5 billion tranche due June 2013, bearing interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 3.75%. The tranche is rated single-A. The other is a double-A rated, $1.45 billion tranche due June 2014, bearing interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 5.75%. "The financing announced today marks another important step in iStar's strategy to simplify its capital structure and strengthen its balance sheet," said iStar CEO Jay Sugarman. "With the refinancing of our bank facilities behind us, we believe the Company is well-positioned to maximize value within our existing portfolio and make investments where we see attractive risk-adjusted returns." Outstanding borrowings under the new financing will be collateralized by a first lien on a fixed pool of approximately $3.69 billion of assets. Proceeds from principal repayments and sales of collateral will be applied to amortize outstanding borrowings, beginning with the A-1 tranche. JPMorgan Securities (JPM), Barclays Capital (BCS) and RBS Securities (RBS) acted as joint lead arrangers and joint bookrunners for the new financing. Write to Jacob Gaffney. Follow him on Twitter @JacobGaffney.