Fusion Connect: To Exit Chapter 11

The BDC Credit Reporter has written on four prior occasions about Fusion Connect Inc. ever since the “leading provider of integrated technology solutions” failed to make an interest payment on its debt back in April 2019. Subsequently the company agreed to a debt for equity swap with its senior lenders and filed for Chapter 11 back on June 4, 2019. Those senior lenders were owed $574mn. From today’s announcement, we know $400mn of debt has been written off. Furthermore, some existing lenders have agreed to provide $115mn in an “exit financing loan”. We’re not sure if that rolls up the D.I.P. financing in place or is a new facility.

Back in July we’d anticipated the Chapter 11 exit momentarily, so there’s been some delay. In the interim, the company has appointed a new CEO from within.

With the exit, we are upgrading our credit rating to CCR 3 (Watch List) from CCR 5 (Non Performing). We’ll be keeping Fusion in our BDC portfolio company Under Performers database until we learn a good deal more about the company’s long term prospects with its new manager and balance sheet. For the two BDCs involved Garrison Capital (GARS) and Investcorp Credit Management (ICMB), with at least $20.3mn in exposure, a day of reckoning is now nigh. The BDCs should be writing off a portion of the 2023 Term Loan they hold in the IQ 2020 results. Based on the current market value of that debt, we expect a third of the position may be written off. The small DIP positions the two BDCs have is likely to be repaid or continue in the unspecified “exit” facility.

Even at this interim stage, this is a material blow to both BDCs, with ICMB with the greatest exposure on the 2023 Term Loan-turned equity, with $11.4mn at cost and a likely Realized Loss of over ($3mn). GARS has $7.4mn invested at cost in the 2023 debt, but had not taken as big a discount as ICMB last quarter in valuation terms (27% versus 34%). As a result, GARS might have to take an incremental unrealized loss before booking its realized loss of over ($2mn). All the above is just speculation because BDCs have wide latitude on how to value these investments gone wrong and converted into different security types. Undeniably, though, both BDCs will permanently lose much of the $1.8mn of investment income being generated before everything went wrong.

A final word. As Advantage Data’s records show both BDCs got involved in lending to the fast growing (i.e. risky) technology company only in the second half of 2018. ICMB joined the lending group in the IIIQ 2018 and GARS started a quarter earlier. By the IQ 2019, the company was in trouble due to its inability to successfully integrate two major acquisitions and the debt went on non accrual. That’s a very brief period to go from performing credit to non performing. Hopefully for both BDCs the company’s future performance – and the stock that they now own – will offset these early reverses.