Selection Process— We are committed to a value oriented philosophy used by the investment professionals who manage our portfolio and seek to minimize the risk of capital loss without foregoing potential for capital appreciation.
We have identified several criteria, discussed below, that we believe are important in identifying and investing in prospective portfolio companies. These criteria provide general guidelines for our investment decisions. However, we caution that not all of these criteria will be met by each prospective portfolio company in which we choose to invest.
Generally, we seek to use our experience and access to market information to identify investment candidates and to structure investments quickly and effectively.
Value orientation and positive cash flow
Our investment philosophy places a premium on fundamental analysis and has a distinct value orientation. We focus on companies in which we can invest at relatively low multiples of operating cash flow and that are profitable at the time of investment on an operating cash flow basis. Typically, we do not expect to invest in start-up companies or companies having speculative business plans.
Experienced management and established financial sponsor relationship
We generally require that our portfolio companies have an experienced management team. We also require the portfolio companies to have proper incentives in place to induce management to succeed and to act in concert with our interests as investors, including having equity interests. In addition, we focus our investments in companies backed by strong financial sponsors that have a history of creating value and with whom members of our Investment Adviser have an established relationship.
Strong and defensible competitive market position
We seek to invest in target companies that have developed leading market positions within their respective markets and are well positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities. We also seek companies that demonstrate significant competitive advantages versus their competitors, which should help to protect their market position and profitability.
Viable exit strategy
We seek to invest in companies that we believe will provide a steady stream of cash flow to repay our loans and reinvest in their respective businesses. We expect that such internally generated cash flow, leading to the payment of interest on, and the repayment of the principal of, our investments in portfolio companies to be a key means by which we exit from our investments over time. In addition, we also seek to invest in companies whose business models and expected future cash flows offer attractive exit possibilities. These companies include candidates for strategic acquisition by other industry participants and companies that may repay our investments through an initial public offering of common stock or other capital market transaction.
We believe it is critical to conduct extensive due diligence on investment targets and in evaluating new investments. Our Investment Adviser conducts a rigorous due diligence process that is applied to prospective portfolio companies and draws from our Investment Adviser’s experience, industry expertise and network of contacts. In conducting due diligence, our Investment Adviser uses information provided by companies, financial sponsors and publicly available information as well as information from relationships with former and current management teams, consultants, competitors and investment bankers.
Our due diligence typically includes:
• review of historical and prospective financial information;
• on-site visits;
• interviews with management, employees, customers and vendors of the potential portfolio company;
• review of loan documents;
• background checks; and
• research relating to the company’s management, industry, markets, products and services and competitors.
Upon the completion of due diligence and a decision to proceed with an investment in a company, the team leading the investment presents the investment opportunity to our Investment Adviser’s investment committee. This committee determines whether to pursue the potential investment. All new investments are required to be reviewed by the investment committee of our Investment Adviser. The members of the investment committee receive no compensation from us. These members are employees of our Investment Adviser and receive compensation from our Investment Adviser.
Additional due diligence with respect to any investment may be conducted on our behalf by attorneys and independent auditors prior to the closing of the investment, as well as other outside advisers, as appropriate.
The Investment Adviser monitors credit risk of each portfolio company regularly and periodically with a goal toward identifying early and, when able and appropriate, selling, investments with potential credit problems. This monitoring process may include reviewing: (1) a portfolio company’s financial resources and operating history; (2) comparing a portfolio company’s current operating results with the Investment Adviser’s initial thesis for the investment and its expectations for the performance of the investment; (3) a portfolio company’s sensitivity to economic conditions; (4) the performance of a portfolio company’s management; (5) a portfolio company’s debt maturities and borrowing requirements; (6) a portfolio company’s interest and asset coverage; and (7) the relative value of an investment based on a portfolio company’s anticipated cash flow.
The Investment Adviser seeks to achieve our investment objective through a disciplined approach to the selection of credit investments and its evaluation of portfolio companies. The Investment Adviser also gains exposure to portfolio companies across a broad range of industries and of varying operating and financial characteristics and return profiles, as well as active management of such investments in light of economic developments and trends. However, we are classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act, and our investment portfolio may be more concentrated than the portfolios of other issuers. We may take certain actions if short-term interest rates increase or market conditions otherwise change (or if we anticipate such an increase or change) and our use of leverage, if any, begins (or is expected) to adversely affect our common stockholders. To offset any potentially negative impact of leverage on common stockholders, we may shorten the average maturity of our investment portfolio (by investing in short-term securities) or may reduce our indebtedness or unwind other leveraged transactions. We may also attempt to reduce our use of leverage by redeeming or otherwise purchasing outstanding preferred stock or debt securities, if any.
Once we determine that a prospective portfolio company is suitable for investment, we work with the management of that company and its other capital providers, including senior, junior and equity capital providers, to structure an investment. We negotiate among these parties to agree on how our investment is structured relative to the other capital in the portfolio company’s capital structure.
We expect our senior secured loans to have terms of three to ten years. We generally obtain security interests in the assets of our portfolio companies that will serve as collateral in support of the repayment of these loans. This collateral may take the form of first or second priority liens on the assets of a portfolio company.
Mezzanine debt may have interest-only payments in the early years, payable in cash or PIK payments with amortization of principal deferred to the later years of the mezzanine debt. In some cases, we may enter into mezzanine debt that, by its terms, converts into equity or additional debt securities or defers payments of interest for the first few years after our investment. Also, in some cases our mezzanine debt may be collateralized by a subordinated lien on some or all of the assets of the borrower. Typically, our mezzanine debt investments have maturities of three to ten years.
In the case of our senior secured loan and mezzanine debt investments, we seek to tailor the terms of the investment to the facts and circumstances of the transaction and the prospective portfolio company, negotiating a structure that protects our rights and manages our risk while creating incentives for the portfolio company to achieve its business plan and improve its profitability. For example, in addition to seeking a senior position in the capital structure of our portfolio companies, we seek to limit the downside potential of our investments by:
· requiring a total return on our investments (including both interest and potential equity appreciation) that compensates us for credit risk;
· incorporating “put” rights and call protection into the investment structure; and
· negotiating covenants in connection with our investments that afford our portfolio companies as much flexibility in managing their businesses as possible, consistent with preservation of our capital. Such restrictions may include affirmative and negative covenants, default penalties, lien protection, change of control provisions and board rights, including either observation or participation rights.
Our investments may include equity features, such as direct investments in the equity securities of borrowers or warrants or options to buy a minority interest in a portfolio company. Any warrants we may receive with our debt securities generally require only a nominal cost to exercise, so as a portfolio company appreciates in value, we may achieve additional investment return from these equity investments. We may structure the warrants to provide provisions protecting our rights as a minority-interest holder, as well as puts, or rights to sell such securities back to the company, upon the occurrence of specified events. In many cases, we may also obtain registration rights in connection with these equity investments, which may include demand and “piggyback” registration rights.
We expect to hold most of our investments to maturity or repayment, but may sell certain investments earlier if a liquidity event takes place, such as the sale or refinancing of a portfolio company. We also may turn over investments to better position the portfolio in light of market conditions.
Our Family of Funds
PennantPark Investment Corporation
PennantPark Floating Rate Capital Ltd.