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Alcentra names Hatfield as global CIO, Yang as head of the Americas

Alcentra today announced several executive leadership appointments, with Paul Hatfield returning to the Group’s global headquarters in London in an expanded role as global chief investment officer. He will lead the firm’s initiatives related to multi-strategy credit portfolio management and customized investment solutions.

Jack Yang succeeds Paul Hatfield, as Alcentra’s head of the Americas, while retaining his responsibilities as global head of business development. In his new role, Yang is responsible for the firm’s business operations in the Americas, and product development, marketing, fundraising and investor relations globally.

Both report to David Forbes-Nixon, Alcentra’s chairman and CEO. – Sarah Husband

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S&P: CLO exposure to recent Oil & Gas rating actions is limited

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has reviewed exposure in U.S. CLO transactions to the 23 oil and gas exploration and production companies whose ratings were affected by its Jan. 16, 2015 rating actions.

As per that report, the following borrowers were downgraded:

  • WPX Energy, to BB/Stable from BB+/Negative
  • Energy XXI, to B/Negative from B+/Negative
  • Warren Resources, to B-/Stable from B/Stable
  • Swift Energy, to B-/Stable from B/Stable
  • Midstates Petroleum Co., to B-/Negative from B/Stable
  • Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., to CCC+/Negative from B-/Negative
  • Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, to CCC-/Negative from CCC+/Negative
  • Rooster Energy, to CCC-/Negative from CCC+/Developing.

 

The following borrowers had their outlook revised:

  • Chesapeake Energy Corp., to stable from positive (affirmed ‘BB+’ corporate credit rating)
  • Whiting Petroleum Corp., to negative from stable (affirmed ‘BB+’ corporate credit rating)
  • SM Energy Co., to stable from positive (affirmed ‘BB’ corporate credit rating)
  • Denbury Resources, to negative from stable (affirmed ‘BB’ corporate credit rating)
  • Legacy Reserves, to negative from stable (affirmed ‘B+’ corporate credit rating)
  • Chaparral Energy, to stable from positive (affirmed ‘B’ corporate credit rating)
  • Halcon Resources Corp., to negative from stable (affirmed ‘B’ corporate credit rating)
  • SandRidge Energy, to negative from stable (affirmed ‘B’ corporate credit rating)
  • Sabine Oil & Gas, to negative from stable (affirmed ‘B’ corporate credit rating)
  • Clayton Williams Energy, to negative from stable (affirmed ‘B’ corporate credit rating)
  • EXCO Resources, to negative from stable (affirmed ‘B’ corporate credit rating)
  • American Eagle Energy Corp., to negative from stable (affirmed ‘CCC+’ corporate credit rating).

 

The following borrowers had their rating placed on CreditWatch negative:

  • Apache Corp. – ‘A-’ rating on CreditWatch with negative implications
  • Breitburn Energy Partners – ratings placed on CreditWatch with negative implications.

 

The following borrower had its rating affirmed:

  • Continental Resources – ‘BBB-’ corporate credit rating affirmed. The outlook is stable.

 

Based on the agency’s review, a total of 17 U.S. CLOs have exposure to companies whose ratings were either lowered or placed on CreditWatch negative as part of the Jan. 16 rating actions. The largest exposure was 0.62%. All other exposures were less than 0.5%. Based on the small exposure, S&P doesn’t expect any rating actions for U.S. CLO transactions as a result of the Jan. 16 rating actions.

Based on its review in December 2014 of roughly 700 U.S. CLOs, the average CLO exposure to loans issued out of the oil and gas sector was only about 3.3%.

S&P will continue to review whether, in its view, the ratings currently assigned to CLO transactions exposed to the oil and gas sector remain consistent with the credit enhancement available to support them. – Staff reports

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US House passes Volcker extension legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation that would grant a two-year extension, to July 21, 2019, of the application of the Volcker Rule to banks’ AAA and AA CLO holdings. The bill passed by a vote of 271-154.

As reported, the legislation, H.R. 37, last week failed as it was brought to the House floor under suspension of the rules, a parliamentary measure that requires two-thirds approval.

The bill now moves to the Senate. The White House, however, has indicated President Obama would veto the bill.

“The LSTA is encouraged that the House of Representatives passed a narrow Volcker fix, which will prevent banks from engaging in a forced sale of well-performing CLO AAA and AA notes,” said Meredith Coffey, executive vice president of research and analytics at the LSTA. “We hope the Senate and the Administration support this sensible modest improvement.”

LSTA Executive Director Bram Smith yesterday wrote a letter to the House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) expressing the organization’s support for the legislation, and specifically the language that would extend to 2019 implementation of the Volcker Rule with respect to banks’ CLO holdings.

“If left unaddressed, banks will be forced to sell these safe investments to opportunistic buyers who will demand a deep discount. If Volcker implementation is extended just two years, this problem will resolve itself,” Smith wrote, noting that by 2019, the vast majority of the CLO notes that are not Volcker compliant will have matured or been redeemed.

For the text of the legislation, click here. – Kerry Kantin

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Leveraged loan mart softens in December as demand deficit deepens

loan supply v demand

Loan market technical conditions weakened in December as capital formation faded more quickly than supply. In all, the amount of S&P/LSTA Index loans outstanding exceeded visible demand from CLO formation and retail flows by $5.8 billion: $7.9 billion to $2.1 billion. It was the deepest demand deficit in three months, edging November’s $5.5 billion figure. – Steve Miller

This analysis is part of a longer LCD News story, available to subscribers here, also details

  • US prime fund flows
  • US CLO issuance
  • Volume of leveraged loans breaking for trading
  • Loan outstandings
  • Secondary loan prices
  • Leveraged loan returns
  • Loan yields

 

Follow Steve on Twitter for leveraged loan insight and analysis.

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US CLO Issuance Hits Record $124.1B in 2014

US CLO issuance

The U.S. CLO market printed $124.1 billion of new issues from 234 deals in 2014, according to LCD. That’s up from $83 billion in 2013 and blows through the previous high of $97 billion in 2006.

CLO issuance in December totaled $7.75 billion from 16 deals. It was the third lightest month of the year, ahead of just January ($2.55 billion) and September ($7.73 billion) At $13.78 billion, June topped the issuance charts last year, according to LCD.

Looking to this year, the general sense is that CLO issuance will continue albeit at a reduced rate. Regulatory uncertainty (risk retention, Volcker) and rising rates are likely to be key focal points for market players, who will also be watching for risk retention consolidation/strategic partnership plays. – Sarah Husband

Follow Sarah on Twitter for CLO market news and insight.

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2014 Leveraged Loan Investor Market: CLOs dominate as retail bid, banks fade

loan investor market

Over the final three months of 2014, the investor base for leveraged loans shifted further away from loan mutual funds, which were wracked by significant outflows. The continued strength of the new-issue CLO market only partially filled the void, forcing arrangers and issuers to sweeten challenging deals to attract relative-value investors in search of wide-margin paper. – Steve Miller

Follow Steve on Twitter for leveraged loan analysis and insight.

 

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LMA Survey: European CLO issuance likely €10-15B in 2015

The LMA today released the results of its survey on the outlook for the syndicated loan market over the next 12 months. A summary of the key points follows, and the survey can be found here.

Competitive pressure in the market, and global geopolitical and/or economic risks, are the top-two respectively when it comes to factors people think will most influence the syndicated loan market over the next 12 months, according to the survey, while corporate M&A, followed by refinancings, are likely to present the best opportunities over the same timeframe.

As for syndicate loan volume expectations, just under half those surveyed believe there will be an up to 10% increase in volume, and 42% think it will be unchanged. Meanwhile, 47% forecast CLO issuance volumes will be in the €10-15 billion range.

Looking back at this year, increased investor appetite is identified as the greatest influence on secondary market liquidity, according to the poll. Sticking with secondary, 45% of respondents expect buyside appetite will not be matched by primary supply, and that liquidity will be deal-specific next year.

When it comes to the main barrier to developing market lending at the present time, the LMA found a close split between those citing legal uncertainty and inconsistent regional integration, while the primary factor driving developing market investment is widely seen to be the search for yield.

The survey garnered a disparity of views on where the property cycle is in Europe, while it found debt funds are likely to demonstrate the greatest growth in real-estate lending in 2015. – Staff Reports

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CLO roundup: U.S. supply beats forecasts, Europe nears upper limit

CLO activity in the U.S. was curtailed by the Thanksgiving holiday, with just three U.S. CLOs pricing last week.

Europe managed two transactions, but the primary pipeline is hampered by waning investor appetite and widening liability spreads.

As a result, global issuance has risen to $132.87 billion, according to LCD.

Ahead of the Thanksgiving break, arrangers were focused on getting those deals priced that they could, and lining up further transactions for this week once the market returns. New-issue activity will be on hold again early next week as players head to Dana Point, Calif. for Opal’s CLO Summit this weekend.

LCD subscribers can click here for full story, analysis, and the following charts:

  • Deal pipeline
  • US arbitrage CLO issuance and institutional loan volume
  • European arbitrage CLO issuance and institutional loan volume

– Sarah Husband

Follow Sarah on Twitter for the latest CLO market news and insight.

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LSTA files suit against Fed, SEC over CLO risk retention

The Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Reserve and the Securities Exchange Commission over the final risk-retention-rule release last month.

The petition for review, filed Nov. 10, alleges the final rule is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

The petition for review represents the first step in legal proceedings that the LSTA has taken against regulators in an effort to provide the CLO market with relief from the final risk-retention rule, which will require CLO managers to retain 5% of the deal. It is expected to take effect in about two years.

The LSTA said it filed the suit “reluctantly” and as a last resort. “The LSTA believes the regulatory agencies’ one-size-fits-all solution to risk retention with respect to collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) disproportionately punishes an industry that was not involved in the financial crisis, suffered practically no losses and currently provides critical financing to over 1,000 non-investment-grade companies,” LSTA executive director Bram Smith said in a statement.

“We have sought a reasonable solution for years and worked tirelessly to provide the agencies with workable and practical options because we believe the negative impact of the risk-retention rule on the CLO market and broader economy will be significant,” Smith added. “None of our material proposals were implemented into the rule.” – Kerry Kantin

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CLO roundup: Pricing schedule stays busy as European spreads widen

CLO roundup 2014-11-10 chart 3

Last week was an active one for the U.S. as market players looked to price CLO transactions ahead of the shortened Thanksgiving week. In Europe, meanwhile, November saw its first two pricings last week ahead of what could be a busy push into year-end. The big question, however, is whether widening liability spreads in Europe will lead some issuers to put transactions on hold until 2015.

Global issuance stands at $130.77 billion, according to LCD.

LCD subscribers can click here for full story, analysis, and the following charts:

  • Deal pipeline
  • US arbitrage CLO issuance and institutional loan volume
  • European arbitrage CLO issuance and institutional loan volume

– Sarah Husband

Follow Sarah on Twitter for the latest CLO market news and insight.