ASC to sell two more resorts |

ASC to sell two more resorts

Mount Snow, Attitash next ski areas to change hands

— American Skiing Co. officials announced Friday morning the sale of their Mount Snow and Attitash ski resorts for $73.5 million.

ASC, the parent company of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., reported it has reached a definitive agreement for the sale with Peak Resorts, which owns ski areas in Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ohio. The sale includes the Grand Summit Hotels at Mount Snow and Attitash. Peak Resorts also will assume about $2 million in debt and other liabilities.

ASC announced in December the sale of the Steamboat Ski Area to ski resort giant Intrawest for $265 million. That sale is expected to close before the end of March.

Mount Snow, in Vermont, offers 106 trails on 590 skiable acres. Attitash, in New Hampshire, offers 70 trails on 280 skiable acres.

“We’ve worked very hard to ensure that the full potential and value of each of our resorts is realized,” said B.J. Fair, president and CEO of ASC. “Under the existing circumstances and market conditions, this means contemplating the sale of certain of our resort assets, as we’ve planned with Steamboat and now Mount Snow and Attitash.

“After much deliberation and many discussions with our board of directors, we feel that the best course of action for our stakeholders will be to sell these resorts under the terms proposed in the definitive agreements.”

ASC is controlled by Texas equity investment firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, which owns a majority of the company’s preferred shares.

ASC has been saddled by considerable debt during the years. As of Sept. 30, 2006, the company had $588.6 million in total outstanding indebtedness. That figure included $220.7 million of secured debt that requires regular payments on principal and interest, and $367.9 million in redeemable preferred stock, which someday will be redeemed for cash but does not require regular payments by the company.

The total indebtedness reflec-ted in ASC’s 2006 end-of-year fiscal report actually was a decrease in debt against its 2005 amount. ASC reported strong earnings in its Western resorts, particularly the Steamboat Ski Area. Steamboat accounted for more than a quarter of ASC’s reported $274.4 million in revenues in 2006.

In addition to Steamboat Ski Area, Mount Snow and Atti-tash, ASC owns the Killing-ton, Pico Mountain, Sugarloaf, Sunday River and The Canyons ski resorts.

ASC spokesman David Hira-sawa said Friday he couldn’t speculate about whether the company plans to sell any of its other ski resorts.

“The focus right now is continuing to operate all of our resorts,” he said.

As is typical, the sale of Mount Snow and Attitash is subject to customary closing agreements such as antitrust approval and consent from the U.S. Forest Service.

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