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Intrawest sells lodging at two French resorts

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Whistler Blackcomb's owner, Intrawest ULC, sold lodging and commercial operations at two ski resorts in France this week, to French company Pierre et Vacance.

The European tourism company announced on Monday, Aug. 3 the acquisition of commercial and lodging operations at Arc 1950 Resort, Savoie, and the Flaine Montsoleil Resort, in the French Alps, would close Oct. 1, 2009.

Through the deal, Pierre et Vacance will get 655 apartments managed under the Radisson and Intrawest Hotels & Residences brand names at Arc 1950 Resort, which was Intrawest's first European resort. The French group will also get two restaurants, one bar, and two commercial spaces in the resort's village.

Over at Flaine Montsoleil Resort, Pierre et Vacance will get 138 apartments and other operations from the resort's lodging management business.

All staff working at the resorts will be transferred to the new management.

Pierre et Vacance's announcement comes less than five months after Intrawest's CEO, Bill Jensen, told a Colorado newspaper that the company was looking at "all options to reduce our debt," fueling rumours that the Vancouver-based company might sell the Mont Tremblant resort in Quebec.

The Fortressed-owned resort company has been hit hard by the economic recession, with fewer skier visits and a tough real estate market, Jensen told the Summit Daily News in mid-April.

Fortress also assumed $1.7 billion in debt when it bought Intrawest in 2006 for $2.8 billion, and last October, the New York company's investors scrambled to refinance the loan in the midst of the market turmoil.

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