Private equity firm and global asset manager, American Capital, Ltd. (ACAS) reported second-quarter 2014 net operating income per share of 9 cents, significantly lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 20 cents. Moreover, results compared unfavorably with the prior-quarter earnings of 16 cents.
Results were impacted by a disappointing top-line performance, partially offset by lower expenses. However, new investments and realization from portfolios were the positives.
Net operating income for the quarter came in at $26 million, down 47% year over year. Net earnings stood at $212 million or 76 cents per share, compared with $21 million or 7 cents per share in the prior-year quarter.
Quarter in Detail
Total operating revenue was $100 million in the quarter, down 23% from the prior-year quarter. The decline was primarily due to lower interest and dividend income, partially offset by higher fee income. Also, operating revenue lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $115 million.
Total interest and dividend income was $83 million, down 35% year over year. However, fee income increased 42% year over year to $17 million.
Operating expenses declined 9% year over year to $59 million. The fall in expenses was primarily due to lower salaries, benefits and stock-based compensation as well as decreases in general and administrative expenses.
American Capital’s asset coverage ratio increased to 593% in the quarter from 528% in the prior quarter. The company made new investments of $813 million during the quarter while strengthening its balance sheet. Moreover, the company recorded $408 million of cash proceeds from the realization of portfolio investments.
As of Jun 30, 2014, non-accrual loans were $299 million, representing 7.5% of total loans at fair value, down from $315 million and 9.7% as of Mar 31, 2014. Net asset value (NAV) per share came in at $21.12, up 17% or 83 cents per share (annualized) from $19.29 as of Mar 31, 2014. The weighted average effective interest rate on the company’s debt investments as of Jun 30, 2014 was 7.8%, down from 9.1% at the end of the prior quarter.
Given the company’s current performance track, management intends to separate investments from the asset management business. Such a proposal is expected to be put forward to the board of directors in fourth-quarter 2014.
In spite of the volatile capital markets affecting valuations of the investment portfolio in the quarter, the overall underlying performance of American Capital’s portfolio companies continue to remain positive. Also, we are encouraged by the company’s continued efforts in balance sheet repositioning.
Further, during the quarter, American Capital obtained $750 million senior secured revolving credit facility, which enhances the company’s financial flexibility to invest in senior secured floating rate loans. This is expected to boost net operating income in the upcoming quarters, if utilized properly.
Though the improved portfolio performance is expected to continue with the economic recovery, we believe the low interest rate environment and global cues will act as headwinds in the upcoming quarters.
Currently, American Capital carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked companies in the finance sector include AllianceBernstein Holding L.P. (AB), Capital One Financial Corporation (COF) and Piper Jaffray Companies (PJC). All these companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).