Murray Energy: Files For Chapter 11

Back on September 13, we wrote when first posting about Murray Energy: “We don’t want to bury the lead: Murray Energy is likely to file for bankruptcy or re-organize and the BDC lenders involved are going to absorb some rather large losses“. On October 29, 2019 the coal company filed for Chapter 11 protection.

Given that we have already quoted ourselves once, here is what we said about BDC exposure at the time, which remains the most up to date picture we have:

BDC exposure totals $52.4mn, spread over 6 BDCs. These include publicly traded FS-KKR Capital (FSK) and three sister non-traded BDCs funds (FSIC IIFSIC III and FSIC IV but not – surprisingly – FS Energy). Then there are two others: Cion Investment and Business Development Corporation Of America.The exposure is in two different loans, one which matures in 2021 and the other in 2022. The debt has been on our under-performing list since IVQ 2018 and is currently rated CCR 4 (Worry List), where the chances of an eventual loss are greater than a full recovery.

As of June 2019, the 2021 debt was carried at par but the 2022 debt was discounted by a third. Currently, though, the 2022 debt trades at twice that discount, suggesting holders are not optimistic. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the 2022 debt fully written off once the dust settles, which would result in ($8.5mn) of further losses and ($12.5mn) in Realized Losses, to be absorbed by Cion and BDCA. Less clear is what might happen to the 2021 debt, which still trades at par. We won’t speculate at this point but will point out that – overall – $5.5mn of annual investment income is at risk.

This was a useful first test of our Bankruptcy Imminent list, on which Murray Energy had been placed since October 4, 2019, when we were told the company’s banks were in forbearance. Like snow in May, loan forbearances rarely stays around for long – unless you’re Greece.

We won’t speculate too much about the way forward at this stage or try to evaluate how much more capital the existing BDC lenders might advance and what ultimate credit and investment income losses might look like. We’ll wait till more is heard about Murray’s exit plans and just how bad its financial position is. Even if the coal giant does successfully leave Chapter 11, with coal industry fundamentals headed ever further downwards, any remaining BDC exposure post-bankruptcy will remain on the under-performing list.