Fortescue agrees $4.5bn debt respite

Australia-focused Fortescue Metals Group has agreed a $4.5bn (£2.7bn) debt facility, as it moved to shore up its balance sheet in the wake of falling iron ore prices.

The debt, underwritten by Credit Suisse and JP Morgan, gives the Perth-based company until November 2015 to make its first repayment.

"Fortescue has moved quickly to ensure its capital structure can withstand prolonged market volatility," chief executive Nev Power said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Fortescue announced it was slamming the brakes on plans to triple its iron ore capacity, cutting $1.6bn in planned capital spending this year, axing hundreds of jobs and selling a power station to preserve cash.

Iron ore prices have plummeted in recent weeks as demand in China shrinks. Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of iron ore.