Posts for FS Investment IV

Murray Energy: Lenders Seek To Acquire Company

As we’ve written about earlier, controversial coal company Murray Energy is in Chapter 11. According to Law360, though, progress is being made towards a plan that will get Murray out of Chapter 11. Apparently, senior lenders with $1.7bn of debt outstanding have clubbed together to offer themselves as a buyer for essentially all the company’s assets. Given that so much of business news is hidden behind a paywall – an ironic complaint from the publisher of the BDC Reporter with its own premium version – we don’t know many of the details.

Speculating, though, remains free. Should the senior lenders successfully become the buyers of the highly troubled company in a declining industry – the likely format is the exchange of much – if not all – existing debt for equity. Most likely, new monies would have to be advanced by those same lenders in some form as well. For the 6 BDCs involved with $52.5mn of debt exposure at September 30, 2019, that’s likely to mean no or little income forthcoming from capital already invested and the prospect of dipping into their pockets for more advances. The $5.7mn of investment income that was being collected before the filing is unlikely to be returning any time soon.

Most affected by the Murray Energy debacle is the FS-KKR complex with roughly $40mn of the BDC debt outstanding, led by FS-KKR Capital (FSK) with $18.9mn already at risk, according to Advantage Data.

How this all plays out remains up in the air, and is subject to further updates before Murray exits bankruptcy court protection. Even after that, given the industry in which the company operates, we imagine we’ll be discussing the company – possibly under a new name – for some time to come as its lenders seem to be digging in.

Monitronics International: Reports IIIQ 2019 Results

Last time we discussed Monitronics International (dba Brinks Home Security), the company was filing for Chapter 11. Even then, management was aiming to be back operating normally once a major restructuring was effected. We were skeptical – wrongfully so – that this could be accomplished by September 2019 given the many moving parts. Our apologies to the many professionals involved because Monitronics was up and running again out of bankruptcy as a public company (ticker: SCTY) by the end of August.

The company did manage to shed a great deal of debt, as reinforced on the latest Conference Call: “Restructuring resulted in the elimination of over $800 million of debt, including $585 million of bond, and $250 million of the company’s term loans“.

Funnily enough, though, BDC exposure to Monitronics has substantially increased following the voluntary Chapter 11 and restructuring. From $51mn at cost in June 2019, BDC advances have nearly tripled to $148mn. The BDCs involved today are those who were present before, but generally speaking their exposure has greatly increased. That’s because of the nature of the restructuring which saw prior debt partly paid off in cash, equity in SCTY and new Term debt due in 2024. To that was added $295mn in new Term debt and a Revolver. Regarding the latter, $124mn has yet to be drawn.

This is all a wonder of financial engineering, but from what we can tell term debt has only been decreased by just under $100mn, and the revolving debt – if fully drawn – will be greater than the prior balance outstanding. The big change is the write-off of $585mn in 2020 Senior Notes, which received a little cash and 18% of the equity. For all the turgid details see pages 16-18 of the 10-Q.

This leaves Monitronics less leveraged, but not necessarily out of the woods. The company reported its latest results on November 13, which are a mix of before and after bankruptcy and not very instructive from an earnings standpoint. Management did not brave any questions and is still working on its 2020 Plan. As a result neither the BDC Credit Reporter, nor anyone else, has any meaningful metrics to work with. We do note, though, that debt to Adjusted EBITDA (annualizing the IIIQ) remains close to 5:1, and that’s before we get into any mandatory capex.

In any case, Monitronics/Brinks is facing a changing industry, and real challenges with customer attrition that lower debt will not change. Management is promising to make major improvements in how the business is run, promising a “best-in-class” customer experience, including transforming the “sales process from hiring to training, to performance management” and much more in that vein. We wish Monitronics well, but there’s a lot to do in what remains a highly leveraged business with myriad competitors.

This is a classic example of stakeholders – including BDC lenders – “doubling down” on a failing business through a restructuring process. Historically security companies like this one have been cash cows and Brinks has a well known and respected name. So we understand the impetus to try again with a new capital structure and strategic approach. There are no regulators to wag their fingers at the lenders involved and if this does not work out failure is likely to be some time off given the Revolver availability. Regardless, we are rating the “new” Monitronics CCR 4 (WorryList) till we get more tangible news about post-bankruptcy performance, but expect we’ll be reporting back periodically for some time.

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.

Frontier Communications: Hedge Fund Recommends Bankruptcy

The Frontier Communications saga continues with hedge fund and investor Robert Citrone recommending the company file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy sooner rather later. As the attached article reminds us, there’s an ongoing debate amongst “stakeholders” as to what the communications company should do to deal with its heavy debt load and uncertain future.

“Normally haste makes waste, but in this instance we believe haste limits waste,” Ormond said in the letter. “The further the delays in addressing the balance sheet and state of the business in a court-supervised process, the greater the risk to the corporation, operating assets, employees and surrounding Norwalk.”

Increasing subscriber losses and turnover, combined with limited financial guidance, will only lead to further deterioration in the business, according to the letter.

We have no view on whether to file or not is better, but the pressure does increase the chances of the former. We are adding Frontier to our Bankruptcy Imminent list. The company is already rated CCR 4 (Worry List). As a reminder BDC exposure is substantial at $61.7mn and valued close to par. A bankruptcy could have detrimental effects – but to varying degrees – on the 9 BDCs involved.

Murray Energy: Forbearance Extended Two Weeks

On October 16, 2019 Murray Energy announced that its lenders “amended a forbearance agreement regarding debt payments until Oct. 28 at 11:59 p.m. The company originally had until Oct. 14 at 11:59 p.m., but the deal allowed the agreement to be extended. Lenders have agreed to not exercise available remedies related to payments due on Sept. 30“. We had previously discussed the initial forbearance in a post on October 3.

The coal company took the opportunity to also announce its intention not to pay debt service due on two other debt agreements.

This only means that the day of reckoning – which is unlikely to be favorable to the company and its lenders – has been slightly delayed. Given the continuing weakness in the coal sector, we are not optimistic. However, we should note that the bulk of $52.4mn in BDC exposure is in the 2021 Term Loan, which continues to trade at only a (2%) discount to par.

However, non-listed Business Development Corporation of America and Cion Investment with $12.5mn of exposure in the 2022 Term Loan may be less sanguine. According to Advantage Data, that debt is trading at a (66%) discount. Last time the position was valued the discount was (33%), suggesting further unrealized write-downs are coming in the third quarter. If we get a Chapter 11 filing there’s $5.6mn of investment income at risk. A little further down the road: material Realized Losses.

Constellis Holdings: Hires Restructuring Firm

The Wall Street Journal reports on October 9 that defense contractor Constellis Holdingshas engaged PJT Partners Inc. to engineer a plan for restructuring the company’s debt-laden balance sheet, according to people familiar with the matter“. PJT Parners is an investment bank, often used in turnaround work.

Otherwise, the WSJ article has no new information, except a recap of some of the highlights from the most recent financial filings. Some of that data is admittedly dire. We noticed that even after a recent asset sale – the subject of our last post about Constellis – “the company’s liquidity remained tight, amounting to just $33 million of cash and $18 million of availability on a revolving credit facility as of June 30“. That alone should send chills down the spines of anyone concerned about the company.

Anyway, the advent of a restructuring firm and those slim liquidity numbers suggests a day of reckoning is coming – and fast.

We discussed BDC exposure before when we first added Constellis to the under-performing list back in August. Judging by the current market valuations (source: Advantage Data) of the three different loans outstanding in which BDC lenders are involved, the debt is discounted from (8%) to (70%), higher than in June. Thankfully, 90% of of BDC exposure is in the 2022 Term Loan, which is valued the highest even after the news of a prospective restructure. Nonetheless, at current levels – and things could get much worse – potential ultimate realized losses could reach $20mn on the $109mn invested at cost, most of which has not been recognized even on an unrealized basis as of June 2019. Not to mention the loss of investment income, which we’ve previously pegged at $9mn annually.

Unfortunately Constellis has the possibility of being one of the biggest credit hotspots of the fourth quarter (if that’s when the rubber meets the road) for the BDC sector. The prospective damage will be widespread. There are 4 FS-KKR related non-listed funds with $90mn at cost lent to Constellis. OFS Capital (OFS) and Garrison Capital (GARS) and – to a lesser degree – two non-listed BDCs are also exposed.

Murray Energy: Lenders Agree To Forebear

On October 2, 2019 coal producer Murray Energy announced by press release its intention not to pay principal and interest payments due on September 30, 2019. However, the company was also able to announce a majority of lenders under its most senior loan agreements agreed to “forbear”, or hold back from acting on the upcoming payment default. This is not much to write home about as the forbearance only lasts till October 14. We assume – as we wrote in an earlier update – that Murray will be using the extra time on the clock to complete its ongoing negotiations with stakeholders in an effort to keep from falling into involuntary bankruptcy proceedings.

For the 6 BDCs with $52.4mn invested at risk, this development does not move the valuation needle but suggests that some sort of resolution will be coming shortly. Very shortly. Judging by what little we know that will mean some sort of Realized Loss is likely, which is why Murray Energy is rated CCR 4 (Worry List), and could be at CCR 5 (Non Performing) within a fortnight. Back on September 13 we wrote that we expected to hear more about Murray Energy “before long”. After the latest news, the same prediction continues to apply.

Acosta Holdco: Payment default expected

We’re a few days late on this major story: Acosta Inc. – a leading marketing company to major brands – is about to miss a scheduled bond payment on October 1 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company has been in trouble for some time and has hired a turnaround adviser and recently been downgraded by Moody’s.

Now a restructuring is underway, which appears to be arranged in conjunction with the company’s many bank lenders and bond investors. “ The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company, owned by private-equity firm Carlyle Group , has notified its lenders and bondholders they should sign nondisclosure agreements to enter into formal restructuring negotiations in advance of an expected credit default“, according to “people familiar with the matter“.

The immediate challenge for Acosta, which is squeezed for cash, is a $31 million coupon payment due on Oct. 1 to bondholders that own $800 million in unsecured debt maturing in 2022. BDC exposure, though , is in its 9/26/2021 Term Loan. Aggregate debt at cost is $40.1mn, all held by 5 BDC funds – both listed and non-listed – controlled by KS-KKR Capital. For example, FSK has $19.1mn of debt outstanding. Total income at risk for the group is $2.1mn as the debt is priced at only LIBOR + 325 bps.

Given that the Carlyle Group is the sponsor and as you can tell by the pricing, this was supposed to be a “safer” loan, given that the income barely covers the BDCs cost of debt capital. Unfortunately, the company has been under-performing – by our standards – since the IIQ 2017. At June 2019 the debt was discounted by as much as (59%) on the various BDCs books. As of today – according to Advantage Data’s real-time loan pricing records – the discount has increased to (67%) and could go lower.

We expect the debt to be shown as on non accrual in the upcoming IIIQ FS-KKR portfolios when earnings are released and to be written down to the market level, which should cut the fair market value by at least $6mn. We’re likely to see a restructuring done relatively quickly – if past experience is any guide – and a realized loss is likely to follow but we don’t have sufficient information to estimate the extent. This is almost certainly going to be another reverse for the FS-KKR organization. Curiously FSK, FSIC III and FSIC IV appear to have jumped in relatively recently – perhaps ill advisedly seeking a bargain. Total BDC exposure jumped from $13.4mn at the end of 2017 to the $40.1mn current level. That’s a tripling of Acosta debt held.

J.C. Penney: Downgraded by Fitch Ratings

S&P recently downgraded J.C. Penney – the iconic retailer – and now Fitch has joined suit. In this case, the rating for the company has dropped to “junk” status or CCC+ from B-. The reasons given are just what you’d expect. For our prior three articles on Penney’s, click here.

As we’ve explained previously, BDC exposure is modest and whatever happens will have little impact on the three non-listed FS-KKR BDCs involved, which are in the process of going public as a combined FS-KKR II. Also in there is TPG Specialty (TSLX), but with its asset-based status is not expected to lose any money under most possible scenarios.

Of course, Penney is just one example of the retail sector “apocalypse” that’s been going on for years in a long running burn of companies of all kinds. Currently we’ve identified 20 retail-related companies that are under-performing, with a cost of investments of $1.27bn. That’s probably not everyone caught up in this seismic change in how consumers and businesses shop, but captures all the names you’d expect and a few more. The BDC sector has taken a hit, and will continue to do so, but the damage has been spread out over more than two dozen BDCs (roughly a quarter of the listed and non listed players) and over several years, mitigating the blow. Junk bond investors and other forms of lenders have taken more of a body blow f rom this once-in-a-lifetime shift in American commerce.

Frontier Communications: Makes Scheduled Debt Payments

Those are sighs of relief you’re hearing. On September 16, 2019 the Wall Street Journal reported that Frontier Communications was making its scheduled debt payments. This would not normally be news, but many investors were – apparently – concerned the troubled and highly leveraged communications company might choose to file for Chapter 11 or a restructuring instead.

That’s good news of a kind, but the problems at Frontier continue, so this may be more respite than anything else. (We’ve written about the company multiple times previously. Here’s a link to the list of articles). There is $62mn of debt outstanding at 8 different BDCs and over $5mn of annual investment income at risk. The exposure is carried as of June 2019 at close to par, so if anything negative happens to Frontier in the future the impact will be material from a BDC perspective (and much more so in the high yield bond market). For the moment lenders and shareholders can breathe easy. Tomorrow, though, is another day.

Vivint Smart Home: To Merge Into SPAC

On September 16, 2029 Vivint Smart Home, a subsidiary of APX Group Holdings, which is owned by Blackstone announced it is being acquired by Mosaic Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), backed by Fortress Investment Group, itself a subsidiary of Softbank. The existing investors will throw in another $100mn of equity to add to the $2.3bn already invested and Fortress affiliates will fund another $125mn. According to the press release discussing the merger: “With an agreed initial enterprise value of $5.6 billion, Vivint is anticipated to have revenues of $1.3 billion for fiscal year 2020E and Adjusted EBITDA of $530 million, implying an Adjusted EBITDA multiple of approximately 10.5x”.

According to Lisa Abramowicz at Bloomberg, this boosted the bonds of APX, which had been trading at a discount.

BDC exposure to Vivint is substantial ($137mn), spread across 4 different debt instruments and with valuations ranging from par to a discount of (20%). The debt is very recent, added during the IVQ 2018, and was added to our under-performers list only in the IIQ 2019 as Moody’s downgraded the company and BDC valuations dropped measurably, many beneath the 90% FMV to cost we consider a useful trigger in the absence of any other information.

All the BDC debt is held by FS – KKR Capital entities including its public vehicle (FSK) and 4 non-traded funds. This merger should result in an upgrade of the debt values but we don’t know if Mosaic will be refinancing the debt or assuming the obligations. We get the impression this is more of a capital infusion than anything else, and expect some debt may get repaid while the rest might be retained. Anyway, good news for the FS-KKR Capital group in the short run. In the long run, though, we’ll have to see if Vivint’s ambitions for domination of the “secure home” market can live comfortably with its capital structure. We’ll be leaving the Corporate Credit Rating at 3, but the trend is positive.

Constellis Holdings: Sells Assets To Improve Liquidity

According to the Wall Street Journal’s crack Pro publication, Constellis Holdings – a troubled leading defense contractor with multiple operations – has sold a training facility for $40mn. More than the amount involved – which is modest by comparison with the debt on the company’s balance sheet – we noted that the WSJ article indicated the sale was undertaken to “avert a liquidity crunch”.

We added Constellis to the under-performing list (CCR 3) only in the IIQ 2019, as reported in a post on August 17, 2019 and based in downward valuation changes, rating downgrades and changes in the C-suite. As we become more familiar with the Apollo Global-owned private company, we recognize that Constellis should have been a candidate for our concern some time before. The drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has been going on for some time, is one negative factor; along with a major restructuring of its business underway, discussed by its CEO in a recent article in a defense trade publication.

The sale of the training facility by itself will not be sufficient to right the ship, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on developments at the company in the months ahead. Given the over $100mn invested by 9 BDCs – especially 4 FS-KKR entities – this deserves watching.

Murray Energy: Assessing Restructuring Options

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 September 10, 2019 the Wall Street Journal’s bankruptcy publication reported that the privately-held coal miner had hired Kirkland & Ellis and Evercore to assess restructuring options.

That follows a recent downturn in the short term prospects for the U.S. coal industry, according to Moody’s and as reported by S&P… That’s not to mention the obvious secular decline in the prospects for coal mining and coal usage. Previously in 2019 , the rating groups had downgraded the company’s debt to SD or Selective Default, so the writing has been on the wall.

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 II, FSIC 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.

In any case, we expect we’ll be discussing Murray Energy again in the weeks ahead.

J.C. Penney: Downgraded by S&P

Standard & Poor’s has downgraded troubled retailer J.C. Penney to CCC from CCC+. Apparently, all the talk about restructuring the company in advance of any Chapter 11 filing, which we discussed in posts on July 23, 2019, when restructuring advisors were first called in and again on August 14, when Bloomberg reported serious talk of a debt for equity swap was in the air.

Not helping Penney’s with S&P is that the retail background for bricks and mortar stores remains challenging, notwithstanding the operational advances management has made. S&P’s view was summed up as follows:

“The negative outlook on JCP reflects the growing risk of a distressed debt exchange or restructuring in the next 12 months as industry headwinds, weak same-store sales, and a burdensome debt load contribute to its unsustainable capital structure.

“We could lower our ratings on JCP if the company announces a debt exchange or restructuring or if its operating conditions worsen such that we see a restructuring as increasingly likely in the next six months.

“Before raising our rating on JCP, we would expect the company to demonstrate a significant and sustained improvement in its performance that leads us to view a distressed exchange as less likely.”

We have rated J.C. Penney CCR 4 on our 1-5 scale, aka on our Worry List, where we believe the chances of an ultimate loss are greater than that of full recovery. Thankfully from a BDC perspective although there are 4 BDCs with exposure (including three non-traded FS Investment-KKR Capital BDCs) total exposure is very modest at $6.8mn at cost. All the debt sits towards the top of the capital structure and the biggest discount to cost is only (8%) as of June 2019. We believe the actual loss will be more substantial if and when a debt for equity swap or Chapter 11 occurs, but either way the impact on BDC net asset value and income should be modest. That’s a statement that cannot be made about the many other lenders to J.C. Penney, whose borrowings are substantial.

Constellis Holdings: Added To Under-Performing List

With the publication of the IIQ 2019 valuations by 8 BDCs with $107mn in various forms of debt exposure (2022-2024 and both senior and second lien), we’ve added Constellis Holdings to our under-performers list with an initial rating of CCR 3 (Watch List). The debt has been discounted between (6%-30%) from 0% to (5%) in the prior quarter.

This is not surprising as there has been a massive number of changes in senior management in recent months and downgrades from both S&P and Moody’s in the spring, worried about high leverage; cash flow losses and operational challenges. For the BDC sector, this is very big exposure in aggregate, with annual income of approx. $9mn at risk should the company default down the road. With that said $90mn of the debt is held by the three FS-KKR non traded BDCs (FS II-III and IV), which are intending to go public under one banner before long. How Constellis plays out will be of above average interest at FS Investment-KKR in the quarters ahead.

J.C. Penney: Discussion Of Debt Swap

Bloomberg reported on August 7, 2019 that J.C. Penney creditors are seriously considering a debt swap to give the troubled department store chain more time to turn its business round.

That may not affect the several BDCs with $6.8mn of first lien exposure (most recently TPG Specialty – TSLX – has gotten involved), but will draw in second lien debt.

In any case, although the company has liquidity and no immediate debt maturities, chances are increasing that something will happen in the weeks ahead. That might result in lower values for the 3 FS-KKR non-traded funds involved, all of whom have valued their modest exposure at or close to par last time results were published – in IQ 2019.

The retail apocalypse marches on.

J.C. Penney: Financial Picture Update

Another famous retailer – J.C. Penney – has been back in the news since Reuters announced on July 18, 2019 the hiring of restructuring advisors. We added the retailer to our Worry List on the news. Now Motley Fool has provided a useful summary of the company’s financial condition. Here are highlights: ”

“As of the end of last quarter, J.C. Penney had $3.9 billion of debt, plus another $1.2 billion of lease liabilities. Meanwhile, the company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) has plunged in recent years due to strategic missteps and tough business conditions. This has driven J.C. Penney’s leverage to unsustainable levels. Adjusted EBITDA totaled $568 million in fiscal 2018 — down from $1 billion in fiscal 2016 — putting J.C. Penney’s leverage ratio at more than seven times EBITDA. For comparison, most investment-grade companies have debt that is no more than three times EBITDA”.

The real problem is looming farther out. J.C. Penney has about $2.5 billion of secured debt that will mature between 2023 and 2025. It also has $1.2 billion of unsecured debt maturing between 2036 and 2097. J.C. Penney needs to whittle down the principal balance of this debt while ensuring that it can extend the maturities of what remains.

J.C. Penney’s unsecured debt maturing in 2036 and beyond currently trades for between $0.23 and $0.26 on the dollar. Even some of its lower-priority secured debt trades for less than $0.50 on the dollar. Thus, the market is already factoring in a substantial likelihood that creditors won’t be repaid in full. This should motivate them to cooperate with the company’s efforts to restructure its debt. It might even make sense to write off some of the principal if J.C. Penney can offer more collateral in exchange (and perhaps some equity warrants to reward creditors if the company manages to turn itself around).

From a BDC perspective, the exposure is modest at $3.3mn,  and spread over three FS KKR non-traded BDCs: FSIC II, FSIC III and FSIC IV in two different loans/notes, one maturing in 2020 and another in 2023. We expect lower valuations will be applied in future quarters than as of 3/31/2019 when FMV was close to par, but the impact on individual BDC balance sheets and income statements, even if Chapter 11 does eventually occur, should be modest.

Hudson Technologies: Stock Price Drop

As of June 19, 2019 the stock price of publicly traded refrigerants distributor Hudson Technologies (ticker: HDSN) has dropped below $1.00 and become a “penny stock”. The company – based on BDC valuations – has been under-performing since June 2018. As a public entity, we’ve been able to review quarterly filings and read the ever bullish Conference Call transcripts. We added Hudson first to our Watch List (CCR 3) and then – more recently – to our Worry List (CCR 4) and are concerned that the company may soon join our Bankruptcy List (CCR 5). Admittedly as of IQ 2019, the company was in compliance with much adjusted covenants on both its secured Revolver and its Term Loan.  The business is admittedly seasonal but Operating Income was under a quarter million dollars and interest expense $2.4mn. Total debt, which includes the 2023 Term debt where all BDC exposure sits, is $131mn. All of which to say that the signs do not look good for the business and for its lenders. BDC exposure is $102mn, and generates $13mn of annual investment income. All the BDCs are part of the FS Investments-KKR complex and include publicly traded FSK ($39mn) and non-traded FSIC II, FSIC III and FSIC IV.  At March 31, 2019 the Term debt had already been discounted (29%).  The debt is publicly traded and that discount holds as of June 19, 2019 based on Advantage Data’s middle market loan real-time data. Unfortunately, the fundamentals of the industry in which the company operates are currently negative and we worry that if a Chapter 11 filing or out of court restructuring occurs there will be both income interruption and further losses both realized and unrealized. At worst, the BDC lenders might have to write off (or convert to equity) 50% of debt outstanding, or around $50mn, compared to ($30mn) already discounted. Given the size of the BDC exposure; the substantial investment income accruing; the very sharp drop in the stock price and the negative tilt in recent results, this is a credit worth paying close attention to.