Wenn das kein Warnzeichen ist

Immer wieder wird behauptet, der Mangel an Euphorie wäre ein sicheres Zeichen dafür, dass die Aufwärtsbewegung an den Märkten noch lange nicht vorbei sei. Komisch, wohin ich auch blicke, finde ich Zeichen für überbordenden Optimismus und Risikobereitschaft. So erneut in der FT, die vom Boom am Markt für „Leveraged Loans“ berichtet. Sicherheiten sind auch wirklich so etwas von überschätzt!

  • About 18 months ago (…) standards were seriously slipping in the $940bn market for leveraged loans, where debt-laden companies take on more debt. But over the past six months terms have got looser still (…) as still-low interest rates combine with strong demand from specialist credit vehicles to encourage the riskiest of companies to lever up.” bto: Es gibt extra Fonds, die darauf aus sind, den riskantesten Schuldnern noch mehr Schulden aufzudrücken. Wenn das kein Warnzeichen ist?
  • “(…) the traditional assurances — such as covenants that restrict further borrowing, open lines of communication with the company or maintaining a lender’s position in the capital structure — have been steadily worn away. Riskier covenant-lite‘ loans now account for about 70 per cent of new leveraged loans, up from 30 per cent before the Lehman Brothers crisis. Protections that were standard back then have now vanished altogether.” bto: Die Schuldner diktieren den Kapitalgebern die Konditionen. Nett, aber ganz klar ein Zeichen für eine Endphase der Euphorie – oder Verzweiflung – aber nicht für solides Wirtschaften.
  • One example: a provision whereby the interest rate resets higher, if the issuer issues new debt with a more attractive spread within a certain period. In the original credit agreement that the underwriters signed up for, the debtor offered just a year of protection, as opposed to the usual 18 months. And that protection kicked in if the spread on the new debt is 75 basis points higher, rather than 50bp. Another example: a so-called “trapdoor” structure, whereby collateral can be moved to subsidiaries that are out of reach of creditors, effectively adding leverage.” bto: Das muss man sich mal vorstellen! Da dürfen die Schuldner Sicherheiten einfach verschieben. Was sind denn das für Kreditgeber?
  • It is possible that buyers of these loans just do not realise what they are giving up. Many are vehicles known as collateralised loan obligations, or CLOs, where loans are pooled together and passed on to different classes of owners in various tranches. Managers of CLOs may lack the resources to plough through a 500-page credit agreement or to track a quarterly covenant that limits debt to, say, cash flow.  If they look at all, it is more likely to be once they’re in the ‘uh oh’ environment,‘ says Christina Padgett, a senior vice-president at Moody’s.” bto: Und das „Uh-oh“-Umfeld kommt schneller, als die denken!
  • On one deal, for example, leverage was about six times ebitda on an adjusted basis. But if you take out all those adjustments — including assumptions that the new owner will do much better than the previous private-equity owner, in managing the company’s supply chain and inventories — then the leverage was more like 10 times.” bto: Das sind dann schon Businesspläne auf dem Niveau der Flüchtlingsrechnung von Herrn Fratzscher vom DIW (O.  k., das konnte ich mir nicht verkneifen).
  • That is well beyond the six-times level that regulators have flagged as a threshold for extra caution. Debt burdens such as these leave any company with little room for error. And if things do go wrong, lenders have signed away protections that could have given them a seat at the table. Loan terms never got this bad in ‘07,‘ (…) The contracts (…) are the worst they’ve ever been. Period, full stop.‘” bto: So, und wir haben also wirklich keine Euphorie?

FINANCIAL TIMES (Anmeldung erforderlich): “Little room for error as investors chase leveraged loan boom”, 10. November 2017