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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Ares Capital (ARCC). Shares have added about 20.9% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Ares Capital due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.
Ares Capital Q3 Earnings Beat Estimates, Expenses Rise Y/Y
Ares Capital’s third-quarter 2020 core earnings of 39 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. However, the bottom line declined 18.8% year over year.
The company recorded a decline in total investment income along with higher expenses. Nevertheless, decent portfolio activity supported results to some extent. Further, the company’s liquidity position remained strong, which was another positive.
GAAP net income was $441 million or $1.04 per share, up from $175 million or 41 cents per share in the prior-year quarter.
Total Investment Income Declines, Expenses Rise
Total investment income was $352 million, down 9% year over year. The fall was due to lower capital structuring service fees, interest income from investments and dividend income. Nonetheless, the figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $343.8 million.
Total expenses were $182 million, up 1.1% from the prior-year level.
Net investment income declined 21.7% year over year to $166 million.
Balance Sheet Strong
As of Sep 30, 2020, the company’s cash and cash equivalents (including restricted cash) totaled $276 million, up from $176 million as of Dec 31, 2019.
Moreover, Ares Capital had $4.2 billion available for additional borrowings under the existing credit facilities as of Sep 30, 2020. Total outstanding debt was $7.55 billion, up from $6.97 billion as of Dec 31, 2019.
As of Sep 30, 2020, Ares Capital’s total assets amounted to $14.95 billion and stockholders’ equity was $6.96 billion.
Further, net asset value was $16.48 per share, down from $17.32 as of Dec 31, 2019.
Portfolio Activity Decent
Gross commitments worth $706 million were made during the third quarter to new and existing portfolio companies. This compares with $2.41 billion worth of gross commitments in the prior-year quarter.
Further, during the quarter, the company exited $352 million of commitments compared with $1.42 billion a year ago.
The fair value of Ares Capital’s portfolio investments as of Sep 30, 2020, was $14.36 billion, which included $12.6 billion in accruing debt and other income-producing securities.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
It turns out, estimates revision have trended upward during the past month.
At this time, Ares Capital has a poor Growth Score of F, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a B. However, the stock was allocated a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of F. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions has been net zero. Notably, Ares Capital has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.
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