Investor Demand for Cash Flow Deals

Every day, I talk with institutional investors about deals.  Institutional investors have capital which they need to invest. So, what do I hear from these investors?  What are they looking for?

Today, many tell me they want predictable quarterly cash returns.

Some want fixed payments, something in a debt instrument.

Many, however, will accept some variability in the payments. they’ll take some equity risk, to get a better return.

I’m seeing a large and growing universe of these investors.

If you can offer investors a generally predictable cash return, you can get investment capital.

Naturally, institutional investors will ask what could go wrong to diminish their cash return. The better your answer, the stronger the investor demand and the lower your required payments.

Also, if your investment has underlying assets, like real estate or equipment that can be sold to raise capital in a pinch, this also makes your investment more attractive.

So, if you’re raising capital for an investment that generates strong cash flows, consider using those cash flows to pay investors a periodic cash return. 

I recognize that if you pay out the cash flow to investors which you need to reinvest for growth, you’ll have to raise more capital.

The good news is that if you’ve gained a track record for paying investors their periodic cash return as promised, you’ll have no trouble raising capital at attractive terms.

Please contact me to discuss your capital market goals. Thank you.

Dennis McCarthy

Dennis McCarthy

SEC Money Fund Rules Adopted

The SEC has adopted the much-debated new rules for institutional prime and municipal money funds.

Key elements include:

  1. Money funds will carry a net asset value (NAV) to emphasize that the value is not constant as was the prior marketing positioning.
  2. Money funds can impose liquidity fees and gates (limitations on redemptions) if necessary.
  3. The funds will carry enhanced diversification, disclosure and stress testing requirements.
  4. The IRS will release a new simplified treatment to enable investors to track gains and losses and avoid wash sales.

Detractors of these new rules suggest that sophisticated Wall Street investors will avoid the liquidity gates by quickly redeeming capital prompting a “rush for the door” behavior.

Click here to read the new SEC rules.

Click here to read the New York Times “Dealbook” article.

The New Neutral

The New Neutral is the name for our near-term economic future according to William Gross, founder and Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO, one of the largest of investment funds.

He and his investment team pride themselves on discerning the big trends and avoiding herd mentality when plotting the course of PIMCO fund investments.

After prematurely calling the end of the era of interest rate declines and predicting a more rapid rebound in interest rates, Gross is now predicting a new trend, “The New Neutral”.  In this environment, he suggests the US economy is in for a period of market stability with moderate to low returns (broadly, bonds returning 3-4% and stocks 4-5%) with relatively lower volatility.

Of course, he points out that the US economy is subject to impacts from our major trading partners and specifically calls out the risk of Japan’s current economic policy.

While his reputation as an economic wizard has been tarnished, his predictions, in my view, still merit consideration.

Excerpt

In 2014, the tide may be turning again as demographics, fear of another Lehman, or just income-starved insurance companies and similarly structured liability-influenced institutions, reach for anything they can get. The era of income may be, at the margin, replacing the era of capital gains, despite artificially low current yields.

Click here to read the PIMCO article.

I admit, my posts predicting a slow growth environment were also premature. Click here.

High(?) Yield Bonds

Dennis McCarthy – (213) 222-8260 – dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com

New high yield bonds are now being issued at interest rates that don’t really qualify as high.

Forbes magazine reports that the 30-day average high yield new issue bond yield fell to 6.11% at the end of January.

If your company has debt outstanding in an amount of $100 million or more, your company should consider issuing high yield bonds at these historically low rates.

Many companies continue to borrow at short-term floating rates because those rates are amazingly low. Most likely, short-term floating rates won’t stay this low for 5 to 10 years, however. 

In contrast, today’s high yield bond rates present an opportunity to lock in low rates for a long period.

Also, short-term floating rate debt typically carries covenants that restrict a company. 

Again, in contrast, high yield bonds typically have very few covenants restricting the issuer. 

Please contact me to discuss raising high yield bonds or any capital market transaction.

Forbes article link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/spleverage/2013/01/22/high-yield-bond-yields-hit-record-low-6-11/

high-yield-bond-yield

Deal with a Slow Growth World

Dennis McCarthy – (213) 222-8260 – dennis@monarchbayassociates.com

When I posted, “Living with no growth”, I suggested that we rethink some of our widely held assumptions, which are based on continued growth.

At that time, the most common response from viewers was denial, “no growth, not my world”.

And, to be fair, there’ll be pockets of growth, no doubt, but, in general, the global economy is slowing. There’s no denying it.

So, if you run a company facing this slow to no growth environment, how do you respond? 

Specifically, how do you deal with Wall Street when earnings growth is hard to come by?

The first response of many companies is to cut costs.  Many companies, however, are already running lean and mean so there’s not much room to cut costs any more, and some costs, for example, health and workers comp insurance, just keep rising.

The related response, raising prices is probably a non-starter in the face of today’s softening demand and increased competition.

So how do you keep Wall Street happy? Here are a couple more ideas.

One. Many public companies are initiating or increasing their stock buyback programs.

Last month, companies announced $45 billion in new or expanded stock buyback programs.

Two. Initiate or increase a dividend on your stock.  As I reported in my post Offer Yield Securities – What Investors Want”, increasingly, investors look for current yield if there’s slow or no growth.  And you know, with today’s low interest rate environment it doesn’t take much to offer an attractive yield. 

Three.  Your company could increase its financial leverage.  Your company could raise debt to grow or buyback equity. Borrowing rates are at record lows so you may be able to put the money to work efficiently to make this move pay.

Four. Get economies of scale by combining with another synergistic company.

If you can acquire or merge with a company at a reasonable price, you may be able to give your bottom line a boost by eliminating duplicate costs.

So, the message is, once we recognize that our environment has changed, that global growth is slowing, we can focus on practical responses

I can help you to evaluate your options and take the best actions.  Contact me now.

Visual Interest Rate History

On Youtube, next to my posts about interest rate risk such as “Behind the Headlines on Interest Rates” were a series of videos which visually chronicle the history of US Treasury interest rates along the maturity curve for the last 50 years with commentary by Dr. Donald R. van Deventer, founder of Kamakura Corporation. Displayed above is one of the videos entitled, “50 Years of Forward Rate Movements”.

In a great example of a picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, 12,300 days of data, one can quickly sense (i) historical levels of benchmark US Treasury interest rates, (ii) the variations from the expected or classical term rate structure (which is more common than one would think), and (iii) the amazing volatility in benchmark US Treasury rates.

As my post “Behind the Headlines on Interest Rates” explains, there’s more to what a company pays in interest rates than just the benchmark US Treasury rates but this reveals the variability in those benchmarks themselves.

My thanks to Kamakura Corporation for creating these videos.  The company’s Youtube channel is www.youtube.com/user/kamakuracorporation and its website is www.kamakuraco.com.

Behind The Headlines On Interest Rates

 

The Federal Reserve announced that economic factors “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014.”

This will, no doubt, influence interest rates through this period, but this is not the sole determinant of a company’s interest rate as noted in my post “Seems Smart Now“.

For example, the debt market for corporations, both large and small, is influenced by supply and demand factors in addition to the benchmark federal funds rate.  The predicted reduction in demand for corporate debt by collateralized loan obligation (CLO) funds suggests that companies may see higher new issue interest rates.  In contrast, any increase in demand by other lenders such as high yield bond and “relative value” investors may ease rates.

The recent post, “No Loan Left Behind“, by Randy Schwimmer of Churchill Middle Market Finance, now a unit of The Carlyle Group, describes these supply and demand forces at work on the larger size loan market (size above $100 million).

To support Randy’s view that high yield investors are supplying critical demand, this week one of my clients successfully priced its first high yield bond replacing other financing sources.

My message is that while Fed action gets the headlines, there are several other factors at work, behind the headlines, which influence a company’s debt rate.

Dennis McCarthy

(213) 222-8260

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com

Offer Yield Securities – What Investors Want

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com

(213) 222-8260

This is the second in a series of posts about how a company can best  respond to our current capital markets environment.

Frequently, our clients express their frustration that the equity market is so volatile now that investors seem reluctant to act.  Many investors are unsure whether they’ll get a positive return on their investment.

This has driven many to seek out securities with a yield, maybe interest on debt or a dividend on equity.

Seeing this, we’ve come up with a transaction which responds to investors’ current preferences.

We’ve advised companies to offer their common shareholders a new yield-oriented security in exchange for their common.

We’ve tailored the exchange offers to fit our client’s specific circumstances, there are a number of variations available.

The key is that our clients offer what is in great demand, a yield security, in exchange for what seems less in demand, plain common stock.

We’d be happy to discuss this idea with you to determine whether it works in your situation. 

Please call me or email me.  Thank you.

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com

(213) 222-8260

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