Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights Golub Capital BDC and Crescent Capital BDC

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 7, 2024 – Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses Golub Capital BDC, Inc. GBDC and Crescent Capital BDC, Inc. CCAP.

Industry: SBIC & Commercial Finance

Link: https://www.zacks.com/commentary/2284479/2-sbic-commercial-finance-stocks-to-buy-despite-industry-woes

The Zacks SBIC & Commercial Finance industry will continue to benefit from favorable regulatory changes and decent demand for personalized financing solutions.

However, gradual deterioration in asset quality because of prolonged high rates and economic slowdown will hurt industry players’ financials. Increased competition and portfolio companies’ difficulty in servicing debt are other major headwinds being faced by the industry. Yet, a few names, like Golub Capital BDC, Inc. and Crescent Capital BDC, Inc., are worth investing in.

About the Industry

The Zacks SBIC & Commercial Finance industry comprises companies that provide finance to small and mid-sized privately held developing firms. These firms are typically underserved by traditional banks and other lenders. Additionally, firms suffering from financial distress are the primary target clients of these lenders.

The industry players provide customized financing solutions, ranging from senior debt instruments to equity capital. This financing is provided for a change of ownership transactions, strategic buyouts, recapitalizations and growth initiatives in partnership with business owners, management teams and financial sponsors, among others. Some of the other products offered by the industry participants are mezzanine loans that typically pay high interest rates and can be converted into equity in the target firm.

3 Themes to Watch in the SBIC & Commercial Finance Industry

Asset Quality: Following the COVID-19 outbreak and a subsequent halt in business activities in 2020, the majority of sectors wherein SBIC & Commercial Finance companies provide loans were hit hard. This raised fears of a deterioration of asset quality for industry players. Nonetheless, support from the administration in the form of stimulus packages and the re-opening of businesses supported economic growth and prevented a substantial rise in delinquency rates for the industry players.

However, with the interest rates at a 22-year high of 5.25-5.50%, industry players are likely to witness some weakness in asset quality as the portfolio companies might find difficulty in servicing debt. Further, economic slowdown and heightened geopolitical risk will put pressure on SBIC & Commercial Finance companies’ asset quality.

High Rates: The Federal Reserve aggressively raised interest rates since March 2022 to control high inflation. Though there are chances of rate cuts later in the year, the rates are likely to remain high for a prolonged period. As the higher rates lead to a spike in prepayments and refinancing, this will keep benefiting SBIC & Commercial Finance industry players.

However, the demand for products and services offered by these companies is likely to moderate due to a challenging macroeconomic backdrop and increased competition. Thus, the industry players’ revenue growth is expected to be hampered in the upcoming period.

Regulatory Changes: In 2018, an amendment to the Investment Company Act of 1940 by the Small Business Credit Availability Act eased leverage limits for such companies, allowing them to increase their debt-to-equity leverage to 2:1 from 1:1. This helped these companies reduce portfolio risks by investing in higher capital structures without forgoing current returns. Thus, the act provided extra funding flexibility to these companies and will continue offering more growth opportunities.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Grim Prospects

The Zacks SBIC & Commercial Finance industry is a 34-stock group within the broader Zacks Finance sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #131, which places it in the bottom 47% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates underperformance in the near term. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

The industry’s positioning in the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a discouraging earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gradually losing confidence in this group’s bottom-line growth potential. Since October 2023-end, the industry’s earnings estimates for the current year have been revised marginally lower.

Before we present a few stocks that are well-positioned to outperform the market despite near-term weakness, let’s check out the industry’s recent stock market performance and valuation picture.

Industry Underperforms the Sector and the S&P 500

The Zacks SBIC & Commercial Finance industry has underperformed both the S&P 500 composite and its sector over the past year.

The stocks in this industry have collectively risen 15.4% over this period, while the Zacks S&P 500 composite and the Zacks Finance sector have rallied 23.3% and 21.3%, respectively.

Industry’s Valuation

One might get a good sense of the industry’s relative valuation by looking at its price-to-tangible book ratio (P/TBV), which is commonly used for valuing loan providers because of large variations in their earnings from one quarter to the next.

The industry currently has a trailing 12-month P/TB of 0.96X. The highest level of 1.05X, the lowest of 0.42X and a median of 0.92X have been recorded by the industry over the past five years. Also, the industry is trading at a significant discount compared with the market at large, as evidenced by the trailing 12-month P/TB for the S&P 500 composite of 10.96X.

As finance stocks typically have a low P/TB ratio, comparing SBIC & commercial loan providers with the S&P 500 may not make sense to many investors. Hence, comparing the group’s P/TB ratio with that of its broader sector ensures that the group is trading at a solid discount. The Zacks Finance sector’s trailing 12-month P/TB of 4.69X is also way above the Zacks SBIC & Commercial Finance industry’s ratio.

2 SBIC & Commercial Finance Stocks to Bet On

Golub Capital BDC: This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock makes investments mainly in one stop (a loan that combines the characteristics of traditional first lien senior secured loans and second lien or subordinated loans) and other senior secured loans of middle-market companies. Based in New York, the company invests roughly $10-$75 million of capital. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Following the acquisition of Golub Capital Investment Corporation in 2019, Golub Capital became the fifth largest externally managed, publicly traded business development company in the United States in terms of assets. The deal continues to support the company’s financials.

As of Mar 31, 2024, Golub Capital had total investments (fair value) of $5.39 billion in 366 portfolio companies and NAV per share of $15.12. As of the same date, the company had cash, cash equivalents and foreign currencies of $300.7 million and restricted cash and cash equivalents of $159.6 million.

Further, at March 2024-end, GBDC had $3.29 billion in outstanding debt. Further, the company had $1.49 billion of remaining availability in the aggregate on its revolving credit facility with JPMorgan and $100.0 million of remaining commitments and availability on its unsecured line of credit with GC Advisors.

The company’s shares have rallied 21% over the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2024 earnings has remained unchanged over the past month. GBDC has a market cap of $4.25 billion.

Crescent Capital: This is a specialty finance company mainly focused on originating and investing in the debt of private middle market companies principally located in the United States. Carrying a Zacks Rank #2, CCAP offers capital solutions to companies with sound business fundamentals and strong growth prospects.

As of Mar 31, 2024, Crescent Capital had total investments (fair value) of $1.56 billion (in 183 portfolio companies). Of the total investment value, 62.7% was Unitranche first lien. As of the same date, NAV was $20.28 per share.

The Los Angeles, CA-based company had a debt of $831.4 million as of Mar 31, 2024. It had $31.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash and $343.6 million of undrawn capacity on its credit facilities.

Crescent Capital has a market cap of $678.2 million. Over a year, the company’s shares have risen 32.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 earnings has been revised by 3.5% north over the past 30 days.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit  for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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