Snoqualmie Tribe Refinancing $310M in Casino Debt
Indian Country Today
The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe has finalized a refinancing transaction with the closing of a new five-year $310 million credit facility that consists of a Revolving Credit Facility and a Term Loan A Facility. The deal was led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, states a press release. CIT, Key Bank and Capital One Bank served as Joint Lead Arrangers. Proceeds from the new credit facility will be used to refinance all of the existing debt at the Tribe’s Snoqualmie Casino.
Benefits to the tribe from the transaction include lower interest rates, increased cash distributions to the Tribal government for use in providing greater levels of governmental services and benefits to tribal members, and a more flexible financial covenant and debt repayment schedule. The new transaction also includes an accordion feature for additional borrowing during the credit facility term, should the Tribe decide to pursue capital improvements or expansion at the casino.
“We wanted to refinance in the most responsible manner possible to ensure both the best interest rates and to reduce our debt," said Carolyn Lubenau, Snoqualmie Tribal Council Chairwoman. “This transaction allowed us to secure a financing that met all of our goals in seeking a refinancing. Working with our advisors and the banks, the Tribe has secured a brighter future for the Snoqualmie people with this refinance.”
Bank of America led a syndicate of national and regional banks in completing the transaction, including KeyBank, CIT, Capital One, PNC Bank, US Bank, Comerica, BBVA Compass, Columbia Bank and One West Bank. The credit facility was well received with commitments well in excess of the amount needed for the refinancing.
Kilpatrick Townsend, an international law firm that is committed to serving the needs of Tribal governments and their communities, provided legal counsel for the Tribe. Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP served as lenders’ legal counsel.
Sovereign Finance, LLC, a 100 percent Native American-owned firm that provides financial and investment advisory services exclusively for Native American governments, acted as the Tribe’s financial advisor.
The Tribe, based in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, also recently made a $150,000 donation to Seattle’s Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, which has been struggling to remain open and almost faced closure last September due to grant cuts as well as program cuts.
“The work that Daybreak Star does for Northwest Natives and others is critical,” Lubenau said. “The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe wanted to ensure that the Center’s programs are able to continue.”
“We hold our hands up to the Snoqualmie people,” said UIATF Board Chair Jeff Smith (Makah). “The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe’s generosity means that Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center will be able to continue as an essential cultural hub for Seattle’s Native community, and for our doors to remain open to the non-Native public. This is the best news we have had in a long time and our hearts are filled with love and gratitude.”