Who’s Next ?: Clearly, the capital markets for both debt and equity are open for business where public Business Development Companies are concerned. Admittedly, there’s not been a flood of new capital raised but New Mountain Finance(NMFC) once again undertook a secondary stock offering at a premium to book value (even if that required some subsidizing by the External Manager) and Gladstone Capital (GLAD) entered into an equity distribution arrangement with Jefferies. On the fixed income side of the street, mid-sized BDC Fidus Investment (FDUS) launched a second Baby Bond not long after Saratoga Investment (SAR) piled on additional issuance to its own second Baby Bond offering, while Prospect Capital (PSEC) indefatigably continued to issue InterNotes, albeit in relatively small sizes. That’s all happened just in the month of February. Also worth mentioning – but less subject to the enthusiasms of the capital markets – multiple BDCs have been not only extending but expanding their secured debt financings, including TPG Specialty (TSLX) and Hercules Capital (HTGC).
Janus, Neustar adding more first-lien debt; PSEC, Triton Pacific hold respective companies’ second-lien credits
The secondary market commanded investors’ attention last week, what with earnings and other headline news sparking some big swings in widely held credits against the backdrop of a muted new-issue loan market and a high-yield secondary firm at three-month highs since the rebound rally in January.
We’re back to writing a preview of the week ahead in the BDC sector after a two week holiday break when not much was happening except wild swings in BDC common stock and bond prices, neither of which do we pretend to have any definitive insights as to their short term behavior. With the new year, though, we’re eager to get back to penciling out what we might expect to be reading about in the days ahead, and what the BDC Reporter might need to tackle in greater depth. In our most recent BDC Common Stocks Market Recap we boldly stated to our Premium subscribers that 2019 promises to be “the most important for the BDC sector in the last 10 years”. Let’s see how that goes, starting right away.
Loan market participants enter 2019 looking back at a miserable December. Senior secured loans traded off the most since early 2016. BB-rated loans were trading below $96.00 for the first time in the three-year span and nearly all loans fell below par.
Primary market yields on first lien middle market loans rose to their highest levels since Q1 2017 with increases in each quarter of 2018. This movement was driven heavily by the steady increase in LIBOR of over 100 bps throughout the year along with modest increases in coupon spread, most notably in the fourth quarter. First and second lien coupon spreads widened 35 and 33 bps respectively in the quarter, marking the largest quarterly spread widening in 2 years.