- Frankfurt School Verlag - Konferenz M&A und Private Equity
- Characteristics of Sovereign Wealth Fund Targets
- 1. The Beginning of Hedge Funds
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Frankfurt School Verlag - Konferenz M&A und Private Equity
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Characteristics of Sovereign Wealth Fund Targets
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There seems little sign of an imminent turnaround in interest rates. The euro interbank offered rate has remained close to zero since , down from 1. The anticipated ongoing low rates should represent good news for finance-hungry businesses in Germany. Below, we examine the most significant among these developments. Stagnant Corporate Credit. Despite positive developments in the European economy, the corporate credit business in Germany remained stagnant in the first few years following the global financial crisis.
This minimal participation in financing by traditional banks stems in part from their increased capital requirements and their reservation of capital in for the European Banking Authority stress test and asset quality review. To keep their credit rating, German banks had to maintain a capital ratio even higher than that required by Basel III.
1. The Beginning of Hedge Funds
Intensifying Private Equity Action. This indicates that PE firms are feeling pressured thanks to low interest rates and scarce alternative investment opportunities for financers to invest their expanding funds in a limited number of available targets. At the same time, hedge funds have been on a renewed course of growth since the financial-market crisis, including financing in the distressed segment of the market.
The percentage of investment channeled into the distressed market rose from 2. For corporate financing in Germany, these trends imply that professional, and sometimes activist, investors have entered the arena to finance both performing and nonperforming companies. In Germany, capital market instruments are playing an increasingly important role in corporate finance. But bonds come with their own potential peril: the risk of a spike in defaults.
Indeed, during , a considerable number of bonds for small and midsize SME German businesses defaulted. Meanwhile, the number of bonds that will mature through has risen sharply, suggesting the possibility of further defaults and the need for financial restructuring. Bonds are sometimes used to generate easy last-resort financing via the capital markets.
Companies with bond financing that face this situation are also more complex to refinance because of the many small bondholders that are hard to control. These companies are thus at greater risk of bankruptcy. Financing Alternatives. Most of these programs have proven to be unsuccessful because of high default rates and downgrades and are not expected to be renewed because of their declining popularity.
But online-only financial-technology players—the so-called fintechs—are entering the financing business elsewhere around the world, especially in the US and Europe but also in Asia. These companies support a range of finance-related activities, such as payment services, investment advice, and crowd or peer-to-peer lending. We expect fintechs to also venture into the corporate-finance realm, given their considerable success to date in providing other finance-related services. Though fintech activity is increasing in Germany, the trend is still nascent. Raising capital for a corporation, as well as implementing a financial-restructuring effort, now constitutes a mix of measures—a situation that contrasts sharply with the bank-dominated model that had long prevailed.
Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Regulation 12222 | Germany
German SMEs, in particular, will find the new environment most challenging, given trends such as investor activism and the complexities that come with restructuring capital market financing as opposed to obtaining bank loans. With the unique situation of German SMEs in mind, BCG analyzed 22 such companies that had undergone restructuring and refinancing at some point between and The intent was to identify practices that led to successful restructuring and refinancing efforts, which were defined as those that avoided insolvency proceedings. Most of the companies were based in Germany, though some were based in Austria or Switzerland, and all had engaged BCG to support the refinancing efforts they were undergoing—for instance, to help them define a restructuring concept, compile a going-concern prognosis, conduct refinancing negotiations, or implement a restructuring concept.
Participating firms represented ten different industries: automotive, energy and environment, mechanical and plant engineering, health care, infrastructure, metals and mining, processing industry and construction materials, retail, shipping, and transportation and tourism. See Exhibit 2. To conduct the study, we asked the BCG project leaders who had worked with the selected companies on restructuring to complete a survey.
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Analysis of the survey responses showed that almost all of the companies in our study were facing a liquidity crisis and needed financing to fund restructuring measures or to bridge short-term working capital or liquidity needs. These findings suggest that companies tend to take action to generate fresh capital and apply restructuring measures only after crisis strikes.
This approach contrasts sharply with one focused on establishing disciplined crisis-prevention practices, such as initiating restructuring measures at an early stage. Moreover, while most of the companies we examined still had a good equity ratio, their gearing ratio defined as the proportion of net debt to EBITDA was in poor shape from the beginning of the restructuring efforts we supported.
Indeed, all but two of the businesses were subinvestment grade, with a gearing of 3. In such cases, debt level is said to be no longer sustainable, indicating that a company has waited too long to take action and may be unable to make full interest payments and repayments on debts in the future. We also found that at the beginning of restructuring, many of the companies involved still had limited free funds available.
But the companies needed additional financing to survive the subsequent one to three years and to apply the measures laid out in their restructuring concept. The good news is that, in more than half of the cases we analyzed, the companies still had uncollateralized assets that could be used to generate the needed additional financing—giving them room to maneuver during crises. The lesson here is that companies can gain some advantages by retaining a reasonable degree of backup sources, even during flush times.
As for the financing instruments used in the initial restructuring situations we examined, traditional financial sources dominated, in the form of bank loans and current-account credit lines. But we also saw some use of other on-balance-sheet instruments, such as shareholder loans, mezzanine capital lending, bonds, leasing, and swaps.