Right up front we have to warn that the BDC Credit Reporter is playing the “name game” here. Here’s the background: Bloomberg reported on February 5, 2020 that “U.S. Dermatology Partners has defaulted on a $377 million financing provided by a group of investment firms, according to people with knowledge of the matter“. The article went on to say the debt was funded – at least in part – by BDC offshoots of Golub Capital (GBDC); Carlyle Group (CGBD) and Ares Management (ARCC). The rub ? No such company name exists in the Advantage Data records, nor even the prior name of the business: Dermatology Associates.
After much rifling through virtual files, we’ve worked out that GBDC carries its portion of the unitranche debt – which is nominally publicly traded – as Oliver Street Dermatology and has a $27.5mn investment at cost, all but $0.2mn of which is in the May 2022 unitranche loan. At September 30, 2019 that debt was discounted between (12%) and (18%). CGBD’s exposure is even bigger ($73mn) and goes under the name Derm Growth Partners III. Like ARCC, CGBD has a sliver of equity in the company ($1mn), valued at zero. The debt – in that same 2022 unitranche loan – was discounted (30%). We’ve not been able to clarify if ARCC has any exposure to the troubled company under yet another name.
What we do know is that we placed the company on the Under Performers List with a CCR 3 rating in the IQ 2019, when the equity stake was written down by CGBD by (86%), after being carried at a 45% premium the quarter before. That kind of valuation change is what draws our attention to previously performing companies.
The rating was dropped to CCR 4 when the debt – as mentioned above – was discounted (30%), compared to (13%) in the IIQ 2019. Now, with the default, we’ll be downgrading the company by whatever name to CCR 5.
We know a little about what’s ailing the privately-held company from CGBD’s last Conference Call: “We’re working through some operational and financial performance challenges with the sponsor and the company“. CGBD, though, waxed optimistic about any ultimate outcome because “this is a first lien tranche“. Still, if we read the filings right, the interest rate on the debt has been upped by 1.0% recently and was entirely on PIK through September 2019 – typical signs of credit weakness.
Now we seem to be looking at yet another “debt for equity swap” – a favored resolution in these situations amongst leveraged lenders, who move from lender to owner, or some hybrid thereof. We’ll wait for further details before drawing any grandiose conclusions but, given the $100mn of public BDC exposure to the business – owned by ABRY Partners since 2016 – this is a story worth following.
On April 16, 2019, SolAero Technologies, ” a leading provider of satellite solar power and structural solutions” , announced by press release a new financing arrangement which will cede control of the business to a new group of investors/lenders. The new group includes the Carlyle Group, GSO Capital Partners LP, First Eagle Private Credit LLC and Ares Management Corporation.
This allowed the company to restructure its debt – most of which was on non accrual. Based on a review of the IIQ 2019 10-Q, the only BDC with exposure – TCG BDC (CGBD) – seems to have booked an interim Realized Loss of ($9.1mn) and been left with $22mn of debt and equity in the restructured entity. The debt is carried at par, but we’re still keeping the company on the under-performing list with a Corporate Credit Rating of 3, till we see real improvements in the business. Solar has been a graveyard for capital and this story is only half told.
As is often the case where CGBD is concerned, none of the above was discussed on the latest (IIQ 2019) Conference Call or in any earlier communication with shareholders. Unfortunately, asset managers that have sprung out of private equity origins can be close mouthed about sharing investment details with public shareholders. It just goes against all their training. All the better for justifying the BDC Credit Reporter to our readers , so we’re not complaining.
On August 6, 2019, TCG BDC (CGBD) reported IIQ 2019 results, including placing its first lien debt to dental services chain Dimensional Dental Management on non accrual. This debt has been on the books since IQ 2016, and on the under-performing list from IIIQ 2018. We have no information from CGBD as to what’s going wrong in the PE-owned company, but a (37%) discount, up from (15%) just a quarter before, suggests a loss is more likely than not when the smoke clears. CGBD has already been deprived of $3.0mn of annualized investment income, and could yet lose some substantial portion of the $33.3mn at cost, currently valued at $20.9mn.
With the release of TCG BDC’s (CGBD) 10-Q on August 8, 2019, we see that the first lien debt held by the Carlyle BDC has been placed on non-accrual and written down on an unrealized basis by (57%). Ares Capital (ARCC), which has both first and second lien debt outstanding – also on non accrual in both case – has discounted the former by (42%) and (94%). All this augurs badly for the two BDCs. If all continues to go poorly for Indra – which owns clothes manufacturer Totes Isotoner – the second lien loan ($65mn at cost) and most of the senior debt ($25mn) could become a Realized Loss, and relatively soon. At least, this troubled debt will no longer have any income impact on either BDC going forward. Nonetheless, if things don’t turn around for Indra, these loans – on the books since 2014 – promise to be major reverses for ARCC and CGBD and for their credit underwriting track records.