13 Oct 2012

Fortescue Metals increases debt again

9:47 am on 13 October 2012

Fortescue Metals Group has taken on more debt, upsizing a new credit facility by $US500 million to $US5 billion.

AAP reports the new debt was announced on 17 September. It enabled the company to delay any repayments until November 2015, as it dealt with sizeable looming debts due to mature and tried to ride out plunging iron ore prices.

In a statement, the company said the cash would be used to repay $US715 million in loan notes owed to Leucadia, an investment bank in New York, refinance all existing bank facilities and provide it with additional liquidity.

The process is being co-arranged by Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, ANZ, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and UBS.

Fortescue shares rose six cents to $A3.81 by 2.30pm AEDT on Frida. They have risen more than 27% since refinancing their debt on September 17, but had fallen 51% in the five months leading up to then.

AAP reports that recent falls in demand out of China drove prices down by 30% in a little over a month.

The company's net debt is estimated at about $US6 billion.

Much of Fortescue's debt is committed to a $US9 billion expansion programme. It recently shelved $US1.6 billion of it cut about 1000 jobs and downgraded the expansion plans.