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NASHVILLE-Locally based Gaylord Entertainment has entered into a $1-billion senior secured credit facility arranged by Banc of America Securities LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank NA. The hospitality and entertainment company says it will use the financing, which matures in July 2012, toward existing bank debt and development of future plans.

“We are pleased to have completed the refinancing of our credit facility, especially given the current volatile state of the credit market,” David Kloeppel, executive vice president and CFO of Gaylord Entertainment, says in a release. “These commitments are a signal of the confidence our bank group has in our strategy and their recognition of the significant value of our assets.”

According to Gaylord’s first quarter results, the company had outstanding long-term debt of about $1.2 billion. “They had just opened a hotel outside of Washington, DC in April and at the end of the first quarter they had the debt load of that new property,” explains Robert LaFleur, gaming, lodging and leisure analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group LLP.

Another analyst who did not want to be named tells GlobeSt.com that some debt that Gaylord had on the books had restrictive covenants which prevented them from repurchasing a number of shares they wanted to buy. The new credit facility removed those restrictions and also allows the company to pursue plans for development of their conference hotels, he says.

“They have articulated two expansion programs at two of their properties,” says LaFleur. “One is an expansion of their National Resort & Convention Center [in National Harbor, MD] and the other is of the Gaylord Texan in Dallas.”

According to the anonymous source Gaylord also has expressed interest in developing a resort in the western US in addition to developing a bay-front resort at Chula Vista, a city outside San Diego. Plans for that development have been on again, off again for some time, the analysts agree.

Gaylord has plans to release its second quarter earnings results and outlook during a conference call Aug. 5. On the hospitality side, the company currently operates four signature resort and convention centers, including Gaylord Palms in Orlando, FL, Gaylord Texan in Dallas, Gaylord Opryland in Nashville and Gaylord National in National Harbor, MD.

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