IStar slashes debt, braces for $2.2B payment

January 19, 2011 03:25PM

IStar Financial, the battered, Manhattan-based commercial property lender that’s been attempting to stave off a bankruptcy filing in recent years, may actually succeed. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company has already managed to unload several assets at decent prices and as a result, has slashed its debt level by $3.7 billion over the past 12 months. IStar, whose shares have bounced back from below $1 last February to $8.20 yesterday, still has to refinance $2.2 billion in debt that’s due in June, however, and analysts say that will be no small feat. According to Fitch Ratings, it’s “inevitable” that creditors will have to agree to another restructuring of iStar’s debt, but CEO Jay Sugarman begs to differ. While he acknowledged that the delinquency rate on iStar’s real estate loans is “disturbing,” (27 percent of iStar’s portfolio was comprised of nonperforming loans as of the end of the third quarter of 2010), he insisted that “we have the strength and flexibility in our balance sheet to refinance all our obligations when they come due.” [WSJ]