Crius Energy: Acquired By Vistra Energy

On July 15, 2019 publicly traded “integrated energy company” Vistra Energy (VST) announced – by way of a press release – the successful acquisition of Crius Energy Trust, also a public entity traded on a Canadian exchange. The deal had been contemplated since February and sweetened along the way. Here are highlights from the press release:

As a result of the closing today, Crius Energy unitholders are entitled to receive C$8.80 per trust unit upon the redemption of such units. In addition, Crius Energy unitholders that were holders of record on March 26, 2019 will receive C$0.209 per unit for the distribution previously declared by Crius Energy on Jan. 16, 2019. The combination of these amounts results in total cash payable to Crius Energy unitholders of C$9.009 per unit. Crius Energy expects that the distribution of C$0.209per unit will be payable today, with the transaction consideration of C$8.80 payable within three business days of today’s date. The units of Crius Energy are expected to be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange as of the close of markets on July 17, 2019, and Crius Energy is expected to be wound-up following the redemption of the trust units on July 18, 2019.

This is good news for the only BDC with exposure to Crius Energy: MVC Capital (MVC). A couple of years ago MVC sold its largest portfolio company – US Gas & Electric (USGE) – to Crius in return for units in the Trust. Moreover, MVC has a $37.5mn second lien debt position, yielding 9.5%, in USGE’s debt, held by a subsidiary. Admittedly, thanks to the dropping value of the Crius Energy trust units that occurred in the quarters preceding the buy-out offer – and which caused us to place the investment on our under-performing list  – MVC will not receive back all its $25.9mn investment, as per the latest filing. (When interest is added to the principal balance received, the return is positive). However, Realized Loss likely to be booked in the  fiscal quarter ended July 2019 should be modest: under $5mn by our estimate, and there may even be a write up on an unrealized basis, by comparison with the $21.3mn FMV valuation at the of April 2019.  The USGE debt remains on the books, assumed by the new owner. However, the creditworthiness of Vistra is much greater than that of Crius, which allows us to return USGE’s debt to Performing status. All in all, a positive outcome for MVC (which is likely to be repaid in full by Vistra before long) on a credit that was headed south fast. Just before Vistra stepped in with its checkbook , the Crius trust units had been written down (49%) on the BDC’s books on an unrealized basis.