Public IPO:  $15.00   NAV 6-30-2016: $21.11

Posts for Main Street Capital Corporation

Grupo Hima San Pablo: BDC Writes Investment Off

On May 3, 2022, we heard the following from WhiteHorse Finance (WHF) in a press release which previewed IQ 2022 results:

During the three months ended March 31, 2022, the realization from Grupo HIMA San Pablo, Inc. generated an approximate $6.9 million net loss, or approximately a net loss of 29.8 cents per share.

WhiteHorse Finance Press Release May 3, 2022

No further details were provided, but this does provide a useful heads up regarding the Puertno Rican hospital chain, whose debt has been non performing in one way or another since IVQ 2017 (!). As of the IVQ 2021, 4 BDCs – including WHF – have exposure to Grupo Hima, in the form of first lien and second lien debt, with a cost of $44.4mn. At fair market value the positions already aggregated only $10.9mn.

WHF – according to its latest 10-K – had invested $19.5mn in the hospital chain, but had written exposure to $7.5mn. Assuming we understand what WHF is doing, this suggests the BDC will be recognizing a final loss but recovering $12.6mn of capital advanced and a small fair market value gain from the settlement of this long troubled credit.

The other BDCs involved – none of which have reported results yet are Portman Ridge (PTMN); Main Street Capital (MAIN) and Stellus Capital (SCM). The news out of WHF suggests the “realization” of the Grupo Hima situation means a final resolution has been made. Unfortunately, we don’t know the details and could not find anything from a quick search of the public record. We hope to circle back with more details when one or more of the BDC lenders provides more of an explanation of what has happened.

Rug Doctor/RD Holdco: Second Lien Debt On Non Accrual

We don’t know what’s going wrong exactly at Rug Doctor (aka RD Holdco) – the carpet cleaner rental company, but matters seem to be getting worse. Admittedly, based on the trend of BDC valuations we’ve tracked on Advantage Data, performance has not met expectations since – at least – 2018. Now that Ares Capital (ARCC) has reported its IQ 2022 results ahead of its peers, we can report the company’s second lien debt – due 5/2023 – has been placed on non accrual for the first time.

There are 3 other BDCs with exposure to the debt and equity of the company, and total outstandings at cost (using the year end 2021 data) amounted to $92mn. For ARCC, the loss of income on an anualized basis will amount to about ($2.2mn). That a 10% yield on $22mn at cost. The BDC also has $14mn invested in the equity but that remains valued at zero, unchanged at that level since IQ 2020.

The other BDCs – SLR Investment (SLRC); Main Street Capital (MAIN) and non-traded MSC Income Fund share $56mn in combined exposure and have not yet reported their IQ 2022 valuations. SLRC has the biggest stake – also in second lien and equity – and will probably be writing down both from a cost of $32mn to $9mn if they follow the ARCC lead. SLRC’s total value as of IVQ 2021 was $17mn, so there’s a potential ($8mn) unrealized write-down in play.

MAIN has $10.9mn in a “Senior Note” which was last valued at par and may not be subject to as much of a potential write-down, if any. Ditto for MSC Income Fund with $12mn in that same senior facility.

Looking down the road is not easy, given we know so little about what ails Rug Doctor. However, one can make a case that the – given this latest non accrual and years of underperformance – both the equity invested and the second lien obligations are in danger of a complete realized loss at some point. If that’s how matters pan out, two-thirds of the funds invested at cost by the BDCs could be lost – all of which would affect ARCC and SLRC. Both BDCs are sufficiently large in terms of capital base to absorb such losses, but this would be a reverse nonetheless and one that’s been a long time coming.

For the moment, we are downgrading Rug Doctor from CCR 4 to CCR 5. We’ll provide an update as we learn more from the BDCs involved and/or publicly available information.

US TelePacific Corp: Debt Refinancing Concerns

Privately-held communications company U.S. TelePacific (aka as TPx Communications) is in protracted negotiations with its existing lenders. Apparently, since November 2021 the company has brought on an adviser to assist in negotiations regarding its revolver and term loan, which mature in May 2022 and May 2023 respectively. The debt markets are already valuing the Term Loan at 75.6% of par. Furthermore, back in September 2021 S&P – and later Fitch – downgraded the company. The former has downgraded the business to a CCC+ rating. Commentators are projecting that private equity group Siris Capital Group – which acquired the company back in February 2020 – and has already lobbed some extra capital in to support the business might have to write another cheque. If not, liquidity might become a serious problem within months….

This is a material problem for 4 BDCs with exposure to the company – all in that $655mn Term Loan. Three of the BDCs are publicly traded: Main Street Capital (MAIN) with $17.0mn at cost; TCG BDC (CGBD) with $6.6mn and Capital Southwest (CSWC) with $5.2mn. Non-traded MSC Investment has $12.4mn at risk.

Till the IIQ 2021 – based on the BDC valuations – the company was rated as “performing to plan”, as the maximum discount taken on the debt (the S&P downgrade notwithstanding) was (7%). [The BDC Credit Reporter does not typically move any company to “underperforming” until a (10%) discount or greater has been reached]. However, in the IIIQ 2021 – probably reflecting the challenges mentioned above – the discount reached (18%). Given what we’ve heard of the current valuation a further unrealized loss is likely in the IVQ 2021. As a result, we rate the company as Trending (i.e. likely to show a material change in valuation on the next quarterly valuation).

We are rating U.S. TelePacific CCR 4 (An eventual realized loss is more likely than full repayment) because the market discount is substantial for a “secured” term loan. Moreover, we hear that many of the outstandings are held by CLOs, which might make finding a resolution – such as a debt for equity swap – more difficult. Finally, we’re concerned that 10 weeks or more have passed without a resolution between borrower and lenders.

Both the CSWC and CGBD positions are held in their joint ventures, but MAIN and – we believe – MDC Investment’s are carried on their balance sheet. We’ll learn more when IVQ 2021 results are published but a final resolution – positive or negative – is likely not to occur till later in 2022, or even later is no meeting of the minds can be reached.

American Teleconferencing Services: Debt Defaults

Now that we’ve heard IIQ 2021 results, multiple BDCs have reported that American Teleconferencing Services (AFS) and parent Premiere Global Services Inc. (dba PGi) have defaulted on a tranche of their debt: one that matures 6/8/2023. We’ve written about AFS before, warning that a default was likely back on June 4, 2021. A second lien loan to PGi that matures in 2024 has been non performing for several quarters.

As many as 8 BDCs – both public and non traded are involved with the two related borrowers with a total cost of $135mn. At this point, the $13mn in the second lien debt – all held by Oxford Square (OXSQ) has been written down by as much as (98%). Odds of recovery seem low. The remainder of the debt is first lien – mostly in the 6/8/2023 debt. The discounts applied by different BDCs in the same tranche vary widely: from (14%) to (56%). However, all the lenders involved increased their discount over the prior period, as per this data from Advantage Data.

Although PGi and AFS are clearly deteriorating, we’ve had no luck finding any direct discussion of the subject by the BDCs involved or in the public record. In the interim, though, we’ve downgraded AFS to CCR 5 from CCR 4 (PGi was already CCR 5).

We’ll be posting again when we find a credible update about what is happening at AFS/PGi.

I 45 SLF LLC: IQ 2021 Update

We’ve written once before about this joint venture, which invests in large cap borrower syndicated loans, between Main Street Capital (MAIN) and Capital Southwest (CSWC). That was back in the beginning of the pandemic as the nature of the investments, the leverage being used and lower LIBOR were all conspiring to drive down I-45’s value. This caused the two BDC partners to ante up additional capital. At its worst – in the IQ 2021 – the discount applied was (42%).

Since then the situation has greatly improved. Some of the extra capital advanced has been returned; troubled credits have improved in value and the discount on the JV – whose total cost is now $91mn – has been reduced to (21%). This is what CSWC’s management said about the status of the JV on May 26, 2021:

 “The I-45 portfolio also continued to show improvement during the quarter as our investment in the I-45 joint venture appreciated by $1.5 million. Leverage at the I-45 fund level is now 1.27 debt-to-equity at fair value. The increase in leverage at I-45 was mainly driven by an equity distribution to the JV partners during the quarter, which represented most of the capital contributed to the JV during the hike of the COVID-related market disruptions. … As of the end of the quarter, 95% of the I-45 portfolio is invested in first lien senior secured debt with diversity among industries and an average hold size of 2.8% of the portfolioIn March 2021, we amended our I-45 credit facility, lowering our cost of capital to LIBOR plus 215 basis points and extending the maturity of the facility to 2026“.

We are retaining the CCR 4 rating on the company, the above notwithstanding, as we still expect a material realized loss will be recognized when I-45 is ultimately wound up. Last time round we projected that hypothetical loss – still years away – could amount to ($15mn-$20mn). We stand by that estimate, but at the moment the unrealized loss is ($19.4mn), 4/5ths of which will inure to CSWC.

We have the JV on our Trending list because we expect a material – albeit not very large – value increase in the IIQ 2021. That’s because large cap borrower loans are in great demand – the JV has 36 companies in its portfolio – and their value has probably increased since March 31, 2021. Overall, though, this is not an investment that causes us much concern under existing market conditions.

American Teleconferencing Services: Ratings Downgraded, Withdrawn.

On June 4, 2021 S&P announced that conference audio and video provider Premier Global Services Inc., (dba PGi), whose wholly owned subsidiary is American Teleconferencing Services, was downgraded to CCC-, from CCC+, with a negative outlook, with the rating agency citing “significantly” deteriorating operating performance over the past quarter. Also downgraded was the company’s senior secured debt to CCC-, from CCC+. S&P noted that the company’s declining operating performance “increases the likelihood that [PGi] will default or undertake a distressed exchange” in the next six months unless the company’s private equity sponsor injects equity. Just the day before, Moody’s was more radical and just withdrew its ratings altogether, citing “insufficient information”.

This is obviously not good for the company or for the 10 BDCs with $171mn in first lien and second lien debt exposure to PGi or its subsidiary. At March 31, 2021, a couple of lenders were already carrying their exposure as non performing but most had not yet made the move. Aggregate FMV was already down to $117mn, a (32%) discount.

Our last update on these pages dates back to August 26, 2020 when the business was already struggling, and we applied a CCR 4 rating. Now, PGi/American Teleconferencing might slip into non performing – CCR 5 – status shortly judging by the rating agency hullabaloo. Most at risk are likely to be BDC lenders holding the second lien debt, which can often get written to zero in these situations. There is currently nearly $24mn in second lien debt at FMV. Then there are wide variations in how first lien debt is discounted: from (6%) to (46%). We calculate that after netting out already non performing loans, some $12mn of investment income is still at risk of interruption temporarily, or forever should the company fail.

We expect we’ll be circling back to PGi/American Teleconferencing again shortly as the situation clarifies. At the moment, the chances of further unrealized losses seems the likeliest short term outcome, which could show up in the IIQ 2021 BDC valuations.

Isagenix Intl LLC: S&P Rates D

S&P is not happy that Isagenix Intl LLC has bought back $65mn of its $375mn term loan at a discount, and given the company a D rating. The discount was said to be substantial.

We know less than we’d like to: such as which term loan is involved and which lenders were involved ? Nonetheless, this is a reminder that 5 BDCs have $34.5mn in exposure to the company – all in the 2025 term loan. At year-end 2020, the positions were valued at discounts that ranged from (28%) to (45%).

Isagenix is rated CCR 4, and some $2.3mn of investment income is involved. We last wrote about the company on August 28, 2020 when the principals of the business injected new capital. At the time, we concluded: “Maybe this capital infusion will be what it takes to return Isagenix to the ranks of normal performance“. Based on the latest valuation discount that does not seem to have been the case and material losses – of both capital and income – seem likely.

We’ll learn more in the days and weeks ahead – and whether some BDCs have crystallized some or all of their losses. The BDC Credit Reporter will return to Isagenix once we have more information.

Aptim Corp: S&P Global Ratings Update

According to a news report, S&P Global Ratings is feeling a little better about Aptim Corporation, an environmental consulting and remediation company. APTIM Corp. was “affirmed” on Feb. 11 2021 at CCC+ and its outlook revised to “stable” from “negative”. Apparently some receivables that had been of questionable collectibility have come in, improving liquidity.

The CCC+ rating on the company’s $515 million of 7.75% senior secured notes due 2025 was affirmed as well.S&P Global Ratings believes Aptim’s balance sheet cash will be sufficient to handle fixed charges over the next 12 months“. However, as you can see by the speculative rating, Aptim is hardly free and clear of trouble as leverage is high, operating profitability poor and the company’s capital structure as “unsustainable”.

Nonetheless, these developments – and the modestly positive signal from S&P – might result in shrinking the discount on the value of the 2025 debt – with a cost of $30.5mn and a IIIQ 2020 discount that ranges between -37% and -48%. We note that Main Street (MAIN); Great Elm (GECC); FS KKR Capital II (FSKR) and non-traded HMS Income all hold the same debt but their valuations differ. In fact, FSKR even carries the debt as non-performing.

The -$13mn in unrealized losses might shrink either in the IVQ 2020 valuation or in the IQ 2021 based on the improving situation at Aptim. We have rated the company as underperforming since the IVQ 2018; and further downgraded the business to a CCR 5 when we first saw the FSKR non-accrual in the IIQ 2020.

The BDC Credit Reporter will circle back as the IVQ 2020 results come in from the BDCs involved and see what we’ll learn. We have no view as to the likelihood of an eventual loss but that “unsustainable” capital structure remains cause for concern, especially as the BDC debt outstanding is in junior debt capital. Still, in the short term values might be going up rather than going down or getting written off.

UPDATE: We have added Aptim to our Alerts list of companies whose value is expected to materially change in the next 1-2 quarters.

American Teleconferencing Services: IVQ 2020 Update

We’ve written about American Teleconferencing Services before: back on August 21, 2020 when we provided a IIQ 2020 update. The company has been troubled since IVQ 2018 and is rated “speculative” by Moody’s. From a BDC perspective this is a “Major” underperformer because aggregate exposure at cost is over $100mn and involves no less than 7 BDCs. We have rated the company CCR 4.

Now Capital Southwest (CSWC) – one of the seven – has published IVQ 2020 results. No word on its conference call about American Teleconferencing. However, the BDC Credit Reporter notes that CSWC has increased its discount on the first lien and second lien held to record levels. The former debt – which matures in 2023 – is discounted -45% and the latter -60%. In the prior quarter, CSWC’s discounts were -33% and -48%.

This does not bode well for the company, or CSWC or the other BDC lenders who have yet to report. We did undertake a public search to get some color but found nothing recently. The downward trend is undeniable, though, and keeps the company rated CCR 4 on our five level scale. We don’t where CSWC rates the investment. Some $8.2mn of annual investment income is involved.

AAC Holdings: Completes Restructuring

The BDC Credit Reporter write about AAC Holdings, Inc (aka “American Addiction Centers”) a lot. This is our eleventh update and will not be the last. Last time we wrote – back on June 21, 2020 – we concluded in this way: “We get the feeling a debt for equity swap is in the cards and the BDCs on the books will be involved for many more years to come and the amounts of capital deployed will yet increase, possibly to over $80mn“.

That’s just what seems to have happened, based on a press release from the company on December 14, 2020. This announced the completion of “ a financial restructuring process” which involves a much lower debt load ($500mn !); a new CEO (picked from within the ranks of the company’s senior management) and a new Board. The Chairman of that new 7 person Board is Bowen Diehl, the CEO of Capital Southwest (CSWC). The BDC is one of four BDCs – both public and private – with what is now $82mn in exposure to the company.

Otherwise, the press release is un-generous in providing the details of what is clearly a debt for equity swap that will take the previously public business private. Perhaps we’ll have to wait till the IVQ 2020 BDC results are published in February 2021 to learn what realized loss might be booked and which lender owns what of AAC and what debt is left ? As of September 2020, the lenders-future owners had already taken ($24mn) in unrealized losses, or nearly 30% of funds advanced. Some of the lenders in the 2023 Term debt had booked discounts of (54%).

Clearly, from a credit standpoint and with some of the debt on non accrual for over a year (from IIIQ 2019) this has been a material setback for CSWC; Main Street Capital (MAIN); New Mountain Finance (NMFC) and non-traded HMS Income, which MAIN manages. We assume that the lenders have high hopes that the company – still facing plenty of pandemic-related operational challenges – can recoup some or all what has been lost in the years ahead with the lenders at the tiller. Before that begins, though, we need to know what the bill has been for the BDCs shareholders so far.

This is going to be an excellent test case of whether the BDCs involved can successfully rescue a portfolio company or whether good money (and managers time) is going after bad. CSWC is very familiar with this sector and Mr Diehl is a logical Chairman of a re-structured AAC. Still, that’s no guarantee that the business can be saved.

BarFly Ventures LLC: Assets Acquired Out Of Bankruptcy

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based BarFly Ventures LLC sold its assets — including craft beer bar/restaurant HopCat, Stella’s Lounge, and Grand Rapids Brewing Co. — to Congruent Investment Partners and Main Street Capital for $17.5 million, the company announced on Tuesday. Longtime investors Congruent Investment and Main Street Capital formed a new operating company, Project BarFly LLC upon acquisition of the brands“. Nation’s Restaurant News

Apparently, the new owners want to revive the existing Michigan operations of the restaurant chain, and expand beyond the state.

Main Street Capital (MAIN) – as well its sister non traded HMS Income -have a long standing relationship with the predecessor company that dates back to 2015. From the IQ 2020, though, the two BDCs debt to the company was placed on non accrual and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy followed in June. As of the most recent results at mid year, the two BDCs had invested $15.0mn in debt and equity, but had written down the positions to just $1.7mn.

Back in June, the BDC Credit Reporter asked itself the following:

Will MAIN/HMS seek to take an ownership situation and – maybe – double down with some additional financing ? Or will the BDCs kick themselves for having invested in the restaurant business in the first place and with a growth strategy – as the CEO himself tells it – based on growth by debt-funded acquisitions. The model was already in trouble before Covid-19 came along but the impact of the virus was the equivalent of a body slam. You can’t win them all, but this investment seems to have been dubious from the start“.

Now we have our answer but just how this will flow from a realized loss point of view and how much new capital will be advanced by the BDCs remains unclear. Furthermore, years are likely to pass before we’ll be able to tell if this latest transaction was a genius move that might return all the monies invested and more, or will end up itself in bankruptcy court and a further loss. If nothing else, though, this transaction does underscore how some BDCs are serving as their own “distressed assets” investors and are willing to become owners in certain situations rather than just take a loss and walk away. For shareholders in these BDCs this requires a different set of lenses when evaluating a portfolio and its outlook.

California Pizza Kitchen: Reaches Agreement With Lenders

According to multiple reports, California Pizza Kitchen (“CPK”) – in Chapter 11 bankruptcy – has reached an agreement in principle in late September 2020 with its first lien lenders and unsecured creditors. That should shortly allow the restaurant chain – already making operational plans for post-bankruptcy operations – to make an exit shortly from the court’s protection.

With a bit of luck CPK should exit bankruptcy in the IVQ 2020 and we’ll get a clear picture of which of the now 6 BDC lenders involved ended up where. Total outstandings from the BDC lenders is $49.5mn in IIQ 2020, slightly higher than in the IQ 2020. (BTW, Prospect Flexible Income appears to be no longer a lender). We already know, though, that this will prove to have been a misstep for all the BDCs involved.

Cenveo Corp: Sells Businesses

Sometimes the BDC Credit Reporter has to read the tea leaves and come to some conclusions without all the salient facts because we’re dealing with private companies and disclosure is limited. This is the situation with BDC-portfolio company Cenveo Corporation, a global printing solutions company. We last wrote about Cenveo in May when a plant was closed, with Covid-19 blamed. At the time we downgraded the company to CCR 4 from CCR 3. Now we hear that in August Cenveo sold two printing plants and – on September 10 – a trade publication indicatesCenveo Publisher Services and Cenveo Learning were sold to a third party.

This seems to be a pattern of business divestment by Cenveo that might signal an improvement in its credit standing. As of June 2020, Main Street Capital (MAIN) and non-traded sister BDC HMS Capital valued the $9.7mn debt of Cenveo at a modest discount to book. The $9.5mn equity in the company – apparently received a few years ago in a restructuring – is discounted by (50%). For the lenders, Cenveo has been a troubled borrower/investment since inception in 2015. A look at the Advantage Data valuation table shows loan – and later – equity – values rising and dropping and rising and dropping again over the past 5 years.

We are presuming – based on the evidence above – that the asset sales will help the business. That’s a leap of faith and readers should make their own minds up. We are upgrading the company from CCR 4 to CCR 3. However, the debt on the books of the BDCs is not due till 2023 so much could yet happen for good or ill.

We will revert back after the IIIQ 2020 results are published by the BDCs involved to see if our presumption has proved correct.

Isagenix International, LLC: Capital Infusion By Owners

Did the cavalry arrive in the nick of time at Isagenix International LLC ? On almost the same day as Fitch Ratings suggested the company might default before year-end, a press release indicates the principals of the company have injected $35mn in new equity capital. Moreover – but with less specificity- we learn that the existing lenders to the troubled company “have reconfirmed their support for the business with an amendment to their credit agreement, which will give the company greater flexibility for growth“.

That’s just as well for the 6 BDCs with an aggregate of $35.6mn in first lien loans to the company. As of June 2020, the debt was being discounted by (60%) or more. The debt – priced at a moderate LIBOR + 575 bps – was poised to be added to the BDC Credit Reporter’s Weakest Links list. We’ll hold off for the moment. By the way, the principal debt holder amongst the BDCs involved is non-traded Cion Investment with $13.4mn at cost; followed by Crescent Capital (CCAP) with $6.3mn and then by sister funds Main Street Capital and HMS Income Fund, both with $5.7mn.

We will retain the current Corporate Credit Rating of 4 till further details are made available and we hear more about the financial performance of the closely-held weight loss company. Nonetheless, the news of the capital support must be a positive for everyone involved. Although we’re writing about Isagenix for the first time here, the company has been underperforming since the IIQ 2019, first with a CCR 3 rating and CCR 4 since IQ 2020. Maybe this capital infusion will be what it takes to return Isagenix to the ranks of normal performance.

I-45 SLF LLC : IIQ 2020 Update

The “I-45 SLF LLC” is a joint venture set up between two public BDCs that have a history of working together: Main Street Capital (MAIN) and Capital Southwest (CSWC). The JV dates back to 2015 and was rated as performing through the end of 2019. However, the BDC Credit Reporter first downgraded the entity to CCR 3 in the IVQ 2019 as multiple portfolio companies experienced credit problems. The situation was only exacerbated by the pandemic and the rating was dropped to CCR 4 in IQ 2020, as the discount on the BDC’s junior capital in the entity reached (43%). In the second quarter 2020 the valuation increased modestly – along with market loan values. Nonetheless, we are retaining the CCR 4 rating.

In the most recent quarter income from the JV paid out to its sponsors was reduced due to the precipitous drop in LIBOR only marginally offset by the 80 basis point average “LIBOR floors”. Furthermore, MAIN and CSWC injected additional equity capital in the quarter while the JV’s lender reduced its debt commitment, as mentioned in CSWC’s 10-Q: “On April 30, 2020, the I-45 credit facility was amended to permanently reduce the I-45 credit facility amount through a prepayment of $15.0 million and to change the minimum utilization requirements”. 

A quick look down the portfolio list of I-45 SLF shows that several troubled companies already on CSWC and MAIN’s own books are here as well. We’ve reviewed the entire portfolio and identified several underperformers and noted that cost to FMV is only 85%, even after loan values generally increased in the June 2020 quarter. We’re pretty sure the BDC partners will not be getting back in full the capital deployed whenever the JV is eventually closed down. At this stage we expect the eventual realized loss will be ($15mn-$20mn), split 80/20 between CSWC and MAIN. In the interim, though, the JV should continue to pay out a dividend, so we’re not adding the name to the Weakest Links list.

American Teleconferencing Services: IIQ 2020 Update

Now that IIQ 2020 BDC results have been released, we can confirm that American Teleconferencing Services – a wholly owned subsidiary of communications company Premiere Global Services – remains rated CCR 4. We’re guided mostly by the latest valuations from multiple BDCs with first lien and second lien exposure. The former is discounted by wildly varying percentages : (6%) to (35%). The latter has been nearly cut by half in value. Moody’s has given the company a Caa2 rating as recently as August . The ratings group had this to say:

“The debt restructuring in October 2019, surge in audioconferencing volumes and virtual events during the pandemic and sponsor’s equity contributions have improved the liquidity position but it is uncertain how the business will perform when the crisis abates. The rating additionally considers execution risks in plans to cross-sell services and operate under shared services agreements with TPx Communications, which was acquired in February 2020 by affiliates of Siris Capital, which also owns the parent company of American Teleconferencing Services.”

There does not seem any reason to add the company to the Weakest Links list yet but the business has some considerable way to go before lenders are out of the woods in what is a Major position in aggregate: $109.4mn at cost and $88.8mn at FMV. Most at risk – but with modest exposure – is Capital Southwest (CSWC) with $2.1mn in the second lien, which is valued at $1.1mn. The outlook is favorable in the short run, as Moody’s suggests but the company will need monitoring.

California Pizza Kitchen: Files Chapter 11

On July 30, 2020 California Pizza Kitchen (aka CPK) filed for Chapter 11, as part of a broad restructuring plan (RSA) agreed with its first lien lenders. As readers will expect by now, the RSA envisages a “debt for equity swap” and additional financing to get the restaurant company through this difficult period, presumably financed by some or all those same lenders that are in the existing financing. CPK hopes to be in and out of bankruptcy in 3 months.

The BDC Credit Reporter has written about the company on three prior occasions. Our most recent contribution followed learning that several BDC lenders had placed their debt outstanding to the business on non accrual, but not all. In any case, bankruptcy has seemed like a forgone conclusion for some time. As a result, the seven BDCs involved (6 of whom are publicly traded) will have to face the consequences of their $48.1mn invested in the debt of CPK.

Common sense suggests the second lien debt holders : Great Elm Corporation (GECC) and Capitala Finance (CPTA) will have to write off the $4.1mn and $4.9mn respectively held. The rest of the debt is in first lien debt (including a tranche held by GECC) and will mostly become non income producing, when swapped for common shares. We expect the BDCs involved will write off 80% or more of their positions, but we’ll gather more details shortly. As usual in these situations, total exposure may increase as some of the lenders fund their share of the additional capital. For the record, the other BDCs involved are Main Street (MAIN); Capital Southwest (CSWC); Monroe Capital (MRCC) and Oaktree Specialty Lending (OCSL) ; as well as non traded TP Flexible Income with a tiny position.

CPK is – arguably an example of a “Second Wave” credit default. Admittedly, the company was already underperforming before Covid-19 but would likely not have had to file Chapter 11 if the virus had not occurred. As recently as the IIQ 2019 GECC – in a case of ill timing – bought into the second lien at a (5%) discount to par. Going forward, a much de-leveraged CPK should have a decent chance of survival, and may even thrive in the long run. This might allow the BDCs involved to recoup some of their capital but it’s going to be a long slog.

Currently, the BDC Reporter has rated CPK CCR 5 – or non performing – which remains unchanged. We’ll re-rate the company when the RSA – or some other outcome – is finalized. By the way, this is the ninth BDC-financed company to file for bankruptcy – all Chapter 11 – in the month of July, keeping up the blistering pace set in June.

Permian Holdco 1-3: File Chapter 11

On July 19, 2020 – according to news reportsPermian Tank & Manufacturing filed for Chapter 11. The filing seems to have included entities such as Permian Holdco 1, Permian Holdco 2 and Permian Holdco 3 – all of which have BDC debt involved. As you’d expect, the companies are pointing to Covid-19 as the culprit for this trip to bankruptcy court, but performance was on the fritz for some time. We have very few details at this time, so consider this but an early flash warning.

As far as we can tell so far there are three BDCs involved in one or all the “Permian Holdco” entities with a total cost of $48.2mn. Four-fifths of the exposure is held by New Mountain Finance (NMFC) but Main Street Capital (MAIN) and its sister fund HMS Income have exposure as well. The capital is invested in seemingly every layer of the balance sheet: senior debt, subordinated debt, preferred and equity.

As of March 31, 2020, NMFC had already sounded the alarm and placed some of its preferred and subordinated debt positions and written off a big chunk of accrued Pay In Kind income. Overall BDC capital had been discounted by one third, but there are huge variations between different facilities. The senior debt was mostly carried at par – as was the subordinated debt in some cases and written down by (32%) in others. The preferred and equity were fully written down.

We cannot tell how great the ultimate loss might be, but we do know that $20mn in the junior layers of the balance sheet must almost certainly be headed to a write-off. The remaining amount in senior debt, more likely than not, will face a haircut as well. We can’t tell exactly how much but several million dollars of investment income that was still being booked will be interrupted and probably not ever resume. Rightly or wrongly, NMFC – for example – was still booking into income some of the debt owed at rates of 14%-18% all the way through March and – maybe – through today.

The BDC Credit Reporter is downgrading the company/entities to CCR 5 from CCR 4. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a business with “Permian” in its name, this credit had been rated as “underperforming” since the IQ 2019.

We’ll learn more in the months ahead, but can say with some certainty that this looks like a material set-back for NMFC – both in terms of capital and income at risk. Less impacted, but hardly happy with the outcome are MAIN and HMS Income.

Bluestem Brands: Business Sold Out Of Bankruptcy

After much back and forth Bluestem Brands Inc. has been acquired out of bankruptcy by its lenders – led by Cerberus Capital Management. The centerpiece of the deal ? Forgiveness of $250mn in debt in return for control of the company in a “debt-for-equity” swap. These details are from a Wall Street Journal article on July 7, 2020. Haggling continued till the very end. At first the buying group offered $300mn, then $200mn and finally $250mn, as discussed in prior articles.

For the four BDCs involved with $34.0mn invested at cost – all in debt – this brings the day of resolution and restructuring closer. The BDCs have already written down their pre-petition positions by (31%)-(40%). We estimate that discount will increase to (55%) when all is said and done. The post-petition debt should get repaid in full or rolled into whatever new capital structure the new owners envisage. Expect to see significant realized losses booked in the third quarter 2020, in the order of ($12mn-$15mn).

Unknown – but not unlikely – is that Main Street (MAIN); HMS Capital; Capitala Finance (CPTA) and Monroe Capital (MRCC) will need to advance more capital going forward to give Bluestem a chance at success. Our readers may expect to be reading about the company – maybe under a new name – for some time to come. The good news ? Maybe some portion of the debt will start paying out its lenders again shortly.

However, the chances of a Chapter Twenty Two, i.e the business falling back into bankruptcy again remain high given the difficult market conditions. Also, much depends on how generously the new Cerberus-led group carves out a new capital structure. We’ve seen multiple examples of new, lender-led groups being shy about making the necessary sacrifices in writing off debt and not injecting new capital. Maybe it’s not in the DNA of lenders more intent on getting their money back than ensuring a business thrives. We need to dig deeper and find out what sort of plan Cerberus and its group has in mind.

Bluestem Brands: Stalking Horse Offer Reduced

As we last wrote on March 11, 2024, Bluestem Brands is in Chapter 11. Now we hear from the Wall Street Journal that the “stalking horse” offer by Cerberus and a group of lenders to the company has been reduced from $300mn to $200mn. Further details are as yet unavailable.

The implications for the 4 BDCs with exposure – which has now increased to $34mn as the lenders provide DIP financing which is performing – are not clear. We expect the BDCs are part of the Cerberus headed attempt to undertake a debt for equity swap. Clearly market conditions have deteriorated since the bankruptcy. This might result in each lender getting a bigger equity slice of a smaller pie or cause another buyer to swoop in or delay the exit from Chapter 11, which has the effect of depleting cash resources. (Bankruptcy is a very expensive process, and this one will shortly be entering its fourth month).

The BDCs involved in the original debt have already discounted their loans by (40%) as of March 31, 2020. Given the reduced perceived value of Bluestem, this might result in a yet bigger discount as of the June 30 valuation and a bigger realized loss when this phase is completed. The $6.3mn in DIP financing, though, should continue to be unaffected for the moment. We maintain the company’s CCR 5 rating.

This drop in the value of Bluestem is emblematic of what is likely to happen to recovery values going forward. Before Covid-19 struck, bankrupt companies were – by and large – retaining much of their value given plentiful capital in the market. Now buyers, investors and lenders are all pulling out their forensic microscopes and values are dropping. We’ll be interested to compare the final discount the lenders have to absorb against the March 31 value when this transaction plays out. It will be instructive both about Bluestem Brands and about recovery expectations more generally. The BDC Credit Reporter guesses we could see a substantial further drop. This is what happens in recessions. The days of a V recovery seem far off.