The "Donk bet" being:
- A bet made by a donk, i.e. one that is generally considered weak or to demonstrate inexperience or lack of understanding of strategy.
- A bet made in early position by a player who didn't take initiative in the previous betting round. It was named because this move is often considered indicative of a weak player (since it is more often reasonable to expect a continuation bet). - source Wikipedia
“As the recent experience with Dell illustrates, the risk of LBOs has a particularly large impact” on Markit’s investment-grade benchmark, pushing it a net 2 basis points wider, Bank of America’s Mikkelsen and Yuriy Shchuchinov wrote in a Jan. 23 note. Their model shows 14 percent of the index’s underlying credits are feasible LBO candidates.
Credit-default swaps on Quest Diagnostics have climbed 38.5 basis points to a mid-price of 123 basis points since Bloomberg News first reported Dell’s buyout discussions with private- equity firms, according to data provider CMA, which is owned by McGraw-Hill Cos. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market.
That was “precipitated by investors’ buying protection on names that have traditionally been considered LBO candidates,” following the Dell news, according to a note dated Jan. 23 from Barclays Plc analysts led by Shubhomoy Mukherjee. Credit-default swaps tied to Nabors surged 42 basis points to 191, the highest since July, and contracts on Avnet Inc.’s debt climbed as high as 254 basis points on Jan. 14 before falling to 178 basis points yesterday, CMA data show. Those on Falls Church, Virginia-based Computer Sciences Corp. added 40.5 basis points since Jan. 11 to 193 yesterday. Buyout firms announced a record $1.6 trillion of acquisitions from 2005 to 2007. The end of that era was “quite painful for many overleveraged deals and many PE firms and their investors have continued their long wait to reach that point where they can exit and take their gains,” CreditSights Inc. analysts Glenn Reynolds and Ping Zhao wrote in a note." - source Bloomberg - Dell Lifts Default Risk on Next Buyout Targets: Credit Markets.
Could that be another indication of a "Donk bet" taking place in the credit space? We wonder...
As we have argued last week's Dell LBO conversation:
"One thing for sure with which we clearly agree on with CreditSights, is that the yield curve management policies of the Fed is clearly pushing investors into higher risk assets to reach for return in this "Yield Famine" induced environment of "Financial Repression" (probably out of their comfort zone too...)."
"A change in the latest asset quality deterioration trend is needed for the sustainability of the banking system. If at a system level we maintain the loan contraction and the NPL growth during the next 5 quarters, the NPL ratio for the corporate segment would increase to 29.1% in 4Q13E from 16.6% in 3Q12. As expected the key drivers of the NPL growth will be the construction and the real estate sectors" - source Citi
So much for "stability Mr Cano. So much for "improvement Mr de Guindos.
In last week's conversation "Cool Hand" we discussed the Bank of Spain's recent willingness in stemming the war for deposits taking place in Spain:
"By trying to put an end to the deposit wars, the Bank of Spain ambitions to reduce the pressure on banks' earnings and profitability which would reduce the capital shortfall for some Spanish banks and the level of capital injunctions needed. It is once again a "Fabian strategy", buying time that is."
Citi's recent note on that matter is as follows:
"On 8 January 2012, the Spanish press reported that the Bank of Spain had “recommended” the largest banks in Spain to limit the yield of saving products. Other banks followed shortly. The measure apparently would also affect guaranteed funds and commercial paper products. The penalty for high yield deposits would consist of higher capital requirements, which would not affect foreign banks operating in the country (ie Banco Espirito Santo, ING).
The press sources differ in the way the penalty is going to work, given the lack of official statements from Bank of Spain, the interpretation of the law can vary significantly. We expect a law to regulate this “recommendation” shortly. The Bank of Spain has taken this measure in order to reduce the cost of funding for the banks, which are expected to transfer part of this reduction to lower lending rates. We have to take into account that, according to the 3Q12 results, banks are already reducing the yield of loans after the repricing cycle during 2012.
How do we understand the new recommendation? It will apply to the new savings production from banks — 85% of the new production of the banks won’t be able to exceed the yield limits set in the table below (Figure 4). The banks exceeding this limit will need to comply with higher core capital requirements, according to the press up to 125bps more from the current 9.0% requirement. The latest reports point out that the deposits above €10 million won’t be affected by the new requirement, supporting big corporate and public deposit accounts." - source CITI
The larger than expected EUR 137.2 billion initial repayment from the first three year LTRO (consensus was for 84 billion), we will have to wait until mid-march to get the geographical breakdown from National Central Banks in order to assess the complete picture for European countries.
But some Spanish banks such as Banco Sabadell indicated on the 11th of January, that the bank was planning to repay EUR 4.8 billion of LTRO funding (20% of the total requested) according to Citi's note.
As far as profitability for Spanish banks is concerned, as indicated by Citi's note:
"Given that the last LTRO was already announced in February 2012, it should be fully included in analysts’ estimates, reducing revenues expectations for 2015. Below we can find the revenue consensus estimates of our coverage universe. It is not only that revenues seem high, in our view, it is also that consensus seems to be missing the LTRO effect in 2015 revenue estimates, as they are expected to grow by 7% on average (ex Santander and BBVA)." - source Citi
An interesting analysis from Citi, while there are not missing out on the LTRO impact on earnings, we think they are lacking some essential points in relation to Spanish banks.
-First missing point - the issue of puttable bonds which we discussed in our conversation "When causation implies correlation":
"Banco Santander SA, Spain’s biggest lender, is placing its trust in bondholders by issuing 4.4 billion euros ($5.7 billion) of fixed-income securities that investors are able to redeem before maturity.
Bonds with put options make up 36 percent of Santander’s debt funding this year, compared with 9 percent in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the bonds have lower interest rates, they leave the bank vulnerable to a potential 7 percent increase in the 33.4 billion euros it must repay next year. Investors have already demanded early repayment on 1 billion euros of the notes." - source Bloomberg
Puttable bonds are indeed a typical instrument used by financial institutions under stress. For us, a big red flag." - source Macronomics, When causation implies correlation, 27th of October 2012
-Second missing point - the issue of the dwindling capacity in absorbing potential losses at the parent bank due to partial IPOs discussed in the same October conversation:
Another red flag we think for Santander, comes from its dwindling capacity in absorbing potential losses at the parent bank by its increasing policy of partial IPOs such as the one done in Mexico as indicated by CreditSights in their report Spanish Banks - The Value of Empires from the 22nd of October:
"In Santander's case especially, the capacity of equity in its foreign subsidiaries to absorb potential losses at the parent bank is being reduced by its policy of partial IPOs(the goal being to list all the most significant subsidiaries within five years – see Santander: Partial IPO in Mexico). The erosion of loss absorbing capacity that this implies at parent or group level is reflected in the Basel 3 reform that will ultimately prevent banks from including in consolidated CET1 capital any surplus equity contributed by minorities in excess of the subsidiaries' minimum regulatory requirements." - source CreditSights"
-Third missing point being one of Macronomics's favourite namely the importance of "Goodwill" (see our conversation from November 2011 - "Goodwill Hunting Redux"):
"Large Goodwill Impairments increase the debt to equity ratio.
It is therefore paramount to track goodwill impairments in relation to future banks earnings."
"Goodwill is an accounting convention that represents the amount paid for an acquisition over and above its book value. Under the accounting rules European banks use, the International Financial Reporting Standards, companies have to write down goodwill on their balance sheets if the underlying assets have permanently deteriorated in value."
In December 2010 ("Goodwill Hunting - The rise in Goodwill impairments on Banks Balance Sheet"), this is what we discussed as a reminder:
We also indicated at the time:"When a bank acquires another one, goodwill as intangible asset goes on its balance sheet. When a medium bank acquires a smaller one, goodwill is created onto the balance sheet. But, when the medium bank is acquired by a larger one, there is a compounding effect given that the larger bank will also create some more goodwill of its own and therefore inflates its balance sheet.
As the process goes on and on, for banks on the acquisition war path, you find more and more goodwill making up the capital."
"Looking at non-cash intangible assets (i.e., goodwill) can be a good indicator and used as a proxy to determine the health of banks.
The significance of the write-downs on Goodwill is often presaged as rough waters ahead. These losses often take a real bite out of corporate earnings. It is therefore very important to track the level of these write-downs to gauge the risk in earnings reported for banks."
In relation to the "real economy" in Spain and the on-going "Donk bet", Spanish recession has deepened in the last quarter of 2012 with GDP contracting 0.6% from the previous 6 months when it slipped 0.3%. So while Spanish Economy Minister Mr de Guindos is seeing an improvement in the perception of the Spanish economy, there is a difference between perception and reality. Even the European Commission on the 22nd of January indicated Spain would miss its 2012 deficit target. with a GDP contraction forecast of 1.4%, taking the deficit to 6% for 2013, not the "ambitious" 4.5% Mr de Guindos seems so sure of.
What matters is loan growth for economic growth to resume in Spain. We do not see it happening in 2013 for the "real economy" - graph below source Citi:
As indicated in the article from Charles Penty in Bloomberg from the 21st of January 2013 entitled - "Spain Banks selling debt still won't cut loan costs:
"The prospect of diminishing competition for retail deposits may boost lending margins. Reports that the Bank of Spain wants lenders to cap the yields they offer on deposits are positive for banks because it would provide relief for their funding costs and bolster margins, Sergio Gamez, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, wrote in a Jan. 10 note to clients. Bank behavior may make it hard for Spain to rejuvenate an economy mired in a five-year slump and headed for a further contraction this year, said Tobias Blattner, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets in London. Spain’s economy will shrink 1.5 percent this year after contracting 1.4 percent in 2012, according to the median forecast of 38 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. “The interest rates that banks are charging to lend to companies aren’t going down and that’s a big worry,” Blattner said. “There are no signs yet of a pass-through by banks of their lower funding costs to the real economy.”" - source Bloomberg
We hate sounding like a broken record but, no credit, no loan growth, no loan growth, no economic growth and no reduction of aforementioned budget deficits:
"So austerity measures in conjunction with loan book contractions will lead unfortunately to a credit crunch in peripheral countries, seriously putting in jeopardy their economic growth plan and deficit reduction plans."- "Subordinated debt - Love me tender?" - Macronomics, October 2011
From the same Bloomberg article:
“If they’re using wholesale debt that costs 3 to 4 percent to replace ECB funding that costs 0.75 percent, that means substantial pressure on margins,” Creelan-Sandford said. Banks are trying to wring more revenue from loan books as they seek to absorb the rising cost of a clean-up of 180 billion euros of real estate assets ordered by the government last year, he said. Banks in other nations have dropped their lending rates, ECB data show. German rates declined to 2.9 percent from 3.9 percent a year earlier, while French companies pay 2.2 percent, down from 3.2 percent. In Portugal, the cost of a loan for as much as 1 million euros fell to 6.7 percent from 7.6 percent, while Irish banks charge 4.6 percent, compared with 5.3 percent. Spanish companies are petitioning Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who says one of his priorities in government is to create conditions for credit to recover in Spain. The Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Companies said in a Jan. 17 statement that it didn’t see “normal” financing conditions returning until 2016 at the earliest and that the lack of funding put firms in a “situation of extreme weakness.” - source Bloomberg
It is deflation in Europe and Spain is still mired in a deflationary spiral.
On a final note the VIX volatility index passed the 5 year level as Bank CDS fall further as indicated in the Bloomberg chart from the 21st of January:
"There is no gambling like politics." - Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman