Murray Energy: Assessing Restructuring Options

e 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.

United Sporting Companies: Files Chapter 11

On June 10, 2019, Sportco Holdings, the parent of United Sporting Companies – an intermediate holding entity with no assets of its own  – and all its subsidiaries Ellett Brothers, LLC,  (“Ellett”), and four of Ellett’s six wholly-owned subsidiaries: Evans Sports, Inc.,  ; Jerry’s Sports, Inc. , Outdoor Sports Headquarters, Inc ; and Simmons Gun, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing is attached.  From the report provided to the bankruptcy court, the financial difficulties of the group are of long standing, and both sales and EBITDA have declined precipitously. The owners – who include WellSpring Capital Partners IV and Prospect Capital (PSEC) – have been seeking a buyer since the beginning of the year, but Houlihan Lokey – who was in charge of the auction – found no buyers despite contacting 55 prospects. Liquidation of the companies assets seems to be the likeliest course of action in bankruptcy. 321 jobs are at risk of being lost.

From a BDC perspective, PSEC serves as both equity holder (21%) and a second lien lender. The BDC first became a lender in 2012 with a $100mn advance. Over the years, exposure reached $160mn, but was reduced by March 31 2019 to $127mn at cost. (We don’t know if the reduction in outstandings was due to repayments by the borrower, or the sharing of the debt with other PSEC entities or third parties). The debt has been on non accrual since IIQ 2017. The most recent value of the debt was $35.7mn. We expect that the entire second lien loan will be written down to zero, judging by the information in the filing. The company reports adjusted EBITDA of only $8mn, while there is an asset-based loan senior to PSEC’s debt with $23mn outstanding. In addition, the company reports $41mn in unsecured obligations outstanding which, arguably, rank pari passu with the second lien debt, which totals $250mn. There are also unpaid wages and ongoing payroll to contend with. A $30mn Debtor In Possession facility is being envisaged, but we’re not clear if PSEC will be providing that new debt capital in bankruptcy. If we are correct, the Realized Loss will amount to approx $0.35 a share and the incremental hit to net book value will be $0.10. There will be no impact on income as PSEC has been forgoing over $17mn in annual investment income for two years.  This is obviously a major credit reversal for PSEC, and another indirect casualty of the shake-out happening in retail, made worse by some managerial miscalculations (see pages 7-8 of the filing). Although the business – according to management’s admission in the filing – has faced “headwinds” since 2d015, PSEC did not materially write down its second lien position until the non accrual occurred in IIQ 2017. That discount has risen over the subsequent quarters from (41%) to (72%) most recently.