Macquarie/First Trust Global Infrastructure/Utilities Dividend & Income Fund (the "Fund") (NYSE: MFD) has decreased its regularly scheduled quarterly distribution to $0.20 per share from $0.25 per share The distribution will be payable on May 29, 2020, to shareholders of record as of May 26, 2020. The ex-dividend date is expected to be May 22, 2020. The quarterly distribution information for the Fund appears below.
Macquarie/First Trust Global Infrastructure/Utilities Dividend & Income Fund (MFD):
Distribution per share:
Distribution Rate based on the May 8, 2020 NAV of $9.23:
Distribution Rate based on the May 8, 2020 closing market price of $8.04:
Decrease from previous distribution of $0.25:
A portion of the distribution may be treated as paid from sources other than net investment income, including short-term capital gain, long-term capital gain and return of capital. The final determination of the source and tax status of all distributions paid in 2020 will be made after the end of 2020 and will be provided on Form 1099-DIV.
The Fund is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company that seeks a high level of current return consisting of dividends, interest and other similar income while attempting to preserve capital. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing predominantly in the securities of companies that are involved in the management, ownership and/or operation of infrastructure and utility assets and are expected to offer reasonably predictable income and attractive yields.
In seeking to balance the Fund’s objectives of providing a high level of current return consisting of dividends, interest and other similar income while attempting to preserve capital, we believe a reduction in the distribution from $0.25 per share to $0.20 per share will bring the distribution more in line with the expected current earning potential of the Fund.
First Trust Advisors L.P. ("FTA") is a federally registered investment advisor and serves as the Fund's investment advisor. FTA and its affiliate First Trust Portfolios L.P. ("FTP"), a FINRA registered broker-dealer, are privately-held companies that provide a variety of investment services. FTA has collective assets under management or supervision of approximately $127 billion as of April 30, 2020 through unit investment trusts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, mutual funds and separate managed accounts. FTA is the supervisor of the First Trust unit investment trusts, while FTP is the sponsor. FTP is also a distributor of mutual fund shares and exchange-traded fund creation units. FTA and FTP are based in Wheaton, Illinois.
Delaware Investments Fund Advisers ("DIFA") is the Fund's investment sub-advisor. DIFA operates within Macquarie Asset Management ("MAM"). MAM is a large scale, global asset manager, providing clients with access to a diverse range of capabilities and products across infrastructure, real estate, natural resources, private credit, fixed income, equities, multi-asset and liquid alternatives. The Fund's Core Component, which consists primarily of equity securities and equity-like securities issued by infrastructure issuers, is managed by the Global Listed Infrastructure team, which started operations in 2004 with the launch of the fund. DIFA and its Australia-based affiliates managed approximately $2.9 billion of assets as of December 31, 2019, in MAM's Infrastructure Securities portfolios, which includes the Fund. The Fund's Senior Loan Component is managed by Four Corners Capital Management ("FCCM"), which joined Macquarie Group in 2008. FCCM managed approximately $700 million of assets as of December 31, 2019, with an emphasis on Senior Loans.
Past performance is no assurance of future results. Investment return and market value of an investment in the Fund will fluctuate. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objectives will be achieved. The Fund may not be appropriate for all investors.
Principal Risk Factors: Securities held by a fund, as well as shares of a fund itself, are subject to market fluctuations caused by factors such as general economic conditions, political events, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of a fund could decline in value or underperform other investments as a result of the risk of loss associated with these market fluctuations. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on a fund and its investments. Such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. The outbreak of the respiratory disease designated as COVID-19 in December 2019 has caused significant volatility and declines in global financial markets, which have caused losses for investors. The impact of this COVID-19 pandemic may be short term or may last for an extended period of time, and in either case could result in a substantial economic downturn or recession.
The Fund principally invests in a global portfolio of infrastructure stocks in a range of currencies and senior secured loans. Accordingly, the Fund's NAV will fluctuate with changes in the value of the Fund's holdings. Investment in infrastructure and utilities issuers are subject to various risks including governmental regulations, high-interest costs associated with capital construction programs, costs associated with environmental regulation, the effects of economic slowdown and surplus capacity, competition from other providers of services and other factors. Investment in non-U.S. securities is subject to the risk of currency fluctuations and to economic and political risks associated with such foreign countries.
The Senior Loans in which the Fund invests are generally considered to be "high-yield securities". High-yield securities are subject to greater market fluctuations and risk of loss than securities with higher ratings. The Fund's portfolio is also subject to credit risk and interest rate risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that fixed-income securities will decline in value because of changes in market interest rates. Credit risk is the risk of nonpayment of scheduled contractual repayments whether interest and/or principal payments or payments for services and that the value of a security may decline as a result.
Use of leverage can result in additional risk and cost, and can magnify the effect of any losses. There can be no assurance as to what portion of the distributions paid to the Fund's common shareholders will consist of tax-advantaged qualified dividend income.
Many financial instruments use or may use a floating rate based upon the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which is being phased out by the end of 2021. There remains some uncertainty regarding the future utilization of LIBOR and the nature of any replacement rate.
As a result of the Fund’s significant exposure to MLPs, a downturn in one or more industries within the energy sector, material declines in energy-related commodity prices, adverse political, legislative or regulatory developments or other events could have a larger impact on the Fund than on an investment company that does not invest significantly in the group of industries that are part of the energy sector. Certain risks inherent in investing in MLPs include: commodity pricing risk, commodity supply and demand risk, lack of diversification of and reliance on MLP customers and suppliers risk, commodity depletion and exploration risk, energy sector and energy utility industry regulatory risk, interest rate risk, risk of lack of acquisition or reinvestment opportunities for MLPs, risk of lacking of funding for MLPs, dependency on MLP affiliate risk, weather risk, catastrophe risk, terrorism and MLP market disruption risk, and technology risk.
Companies that own interstate pipelines are subject to regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with respect to the tariff rates that they may charge to their customers. In March 2018, FERC changed its tax allowance policy to no longer permit such companies to include in their cost of service an income tax allowance to the extent that their owners have an actual or potential tax liability on the income generated by them. This has had a negative impact on the performance of some energy companies affected by this decision.
Other factors which may reduce the amount of cash an MLP has available to pay its debt and equity holders include increased operating costs, maintenance capital expenditures, acquisition costs, expansion or construction costs and borrowing costs (including increased borrowing costs as a result of additional collateral requirements as a result of ratings downgrades by credit agencies).
The Fund is subject to certain risks specifically associated with investments in the securities of United Kingdom issuers. Investments in British issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, and economic risk specific to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has one of the largest economies in Europe, and the United States and other European countries are substantial trading partners of the United Kingdom. As a result, the British economy may be impacted by changes to the economic health of the United States and other European countries. On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted via referendum to leave the European Union, an event commonly referred to as "Brexit." Brexit immediately led to significant market volatility around the world, as well as political, economic, and legal uncertainty. Recent parliamentary elections and parliamentary votes in the United Kingdom have increased the likelihood of withdrawal, although there is still uncertainty relating to the potential terms, including the terms of a trade deal with the European Union and with other countries, and precise timeline for the exit. At this time, it is also difficult to predict what the longer term ramifications and political, economic, and legal implications will be as a result of Brexit, including the impact on the Fund’s portfolio holdings. The negative impact on not only the United Kingdom and European economies, but the broader global economy, could be significant, potentially resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity and lower economic growth for companies that rely significantly on Europe for their business activities and revenues.
In the event a borrower fails to pay scheduled interest or principal payments on a senior loan held by the Fund, the Fund will experience a reduction in its income and a decline in the value of the senior loan, which will likely reduce dividends and lead to a decline in the net asset value of the Fund’s common shares. If the Fund acquires a senior loan from another lender, for example, by acquiring a participation, the Fund may also be subject to credit risks with respect to that lender. Although senior loans may be secured by specific collateral, the value of the collateral may not equal the Fund’s investment when the senior loan is acquired or may decline below the principal amount of the senior loan subsequent to the Fund’s investment. Also, to the extent that collateral consists of stock of the borrower or its subsidiaries or affiliates, the Fund bears the risk that the stock may decline in value, be relatively illiquid, and/or may lose all or substantially all of its value, causing the senior loan to be under collateralized. Therefore, the liquidation of the collateral underlying a senior loan may not satisfy the issuer’s obligation to the Fund in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal, and the collateral may not be readily liquidated. The senior loan market has seen a significant increase in loans with weaker lender protections including, but not limited to, limited financial maintenance covenants or, in some cases, no financial maintenance covenants (i.e., "covenant-lite loans") that would typically be included in a traditional loan agreement and general weakening of other restrictive covenants applicable to the borrower such as limitations on incurrence of additional debt, restrictions on payments of junior debt or restrictions on dividends and distributions. Weaker lender protections such as the absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement and the inclusion of "borrower-favorable" terms may impact recovery values and/or trading levels of senior loans in the future. The absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement generally means that the lender may not be able to declare a default if financial performance deteriorates. This may hinder the Fund’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with a particular borrower and reduce the Fund’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, the Fund’s exposure to losses on investments in senior loans may be increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle or changes in market or economic conditions.
The risks of investing in the Fund are spelled out in the shareholder report and other regulatory filings.
The information presented is not intended to constitute an investment recommendation for, or advice to, any specific person. By providing this information, First Trust is not undertaking to give advice in any fiduciary capacity within the meaning of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or any other regulatory framework. Financial advisors are responsible for evaluating investment risks independently and for exercising independent judgment in determining whether investments are appropriate for their clients.
The Fund’s daily closing New York Stock Exchange price and net asset value per share as well as other information can be found at www.ftportfolios.com or by calling 1-800-988-5891.
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