Volta Finance Limited (VTA / VTAS) – December 2020 monthly report
NOT FOR RELEASE, DISTRIBUTION OR PUBLICATION, IN WHOLE OR PART, IN OR INTO THE UNITED STATES
Guernsey, 13 January 2021
AXA IM has published the Volta Finance Limited (the “Company” or “Volta Finance” or “Volta”) monthly report for December. The full report is attached to this release and will be available on Volta’s website shortly (www.voltafinance.com).
PERFORMANCE and PORTFOLIO ACTIVITY
In December, the monthly performance of Volta was +4.3% dividend payable included, another strong performance following the announcements regarding the availability of vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic. The performance was mainly driven once again by the CLO debt and equity buckets. This brings the performance for the full year to -5.7%. Whilst it is, of course, disappointing to have generated a negative return for the year as a whole, the recovery from the lows at the end of March has been very strong, with a gain of 41.8% in the last 9-month period. As noted below, we anticipate a solid performance in 2021.
The monthly asset class performances** were in euro: -0.2% for Bank Balance Sheet transactions, +9.7% for CLO equity tranches; +5.9% for CLO Debt; +0.5% for Cash Corporate Credit deals (this bucket comprises funds that have a one-month delay in publishing their NAV); and -0.9% for ABS.
The continuing strong performance of CLO equity positions reinforces our conviction that we may be able to refinance or even reset some of our CLO equity positions in 2021. This would reduce the average cost of debt that constitutes the embedded leverage for our CLO equity positions. As the WAS (Weighted Average Spread) of the underlying loan pools is still increasing and might continue to increase in the coming quarters thanks to repayments of existing loans, we can reasonably expect that cash flows from our CLO equity positions will increase through 2021.
In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 19% of the US loans prepaid, reducing occurrences of default and allowing CLO managers to reinvest in loans at discount or in new loans with higher spreads. We expect loan prepayments to be higher still in 2021, near 25% for the US and 20% in Europe. This will further improve the performance of our CLO equity positions.
Turning to default rates, December marked the second successive month in which the trailing 12-month default rate declined in the US. Our view continues to be that the COVID pandemic will continue to generate defaults in both the US and the European loan markets, probably for a few years, but at a manageable pace.
As in prior years, January should be a solid month for CLO equity cash flows to Volta.
In December 2020 interest and coupons received totaled the equivalent of €0.7m for Volta. On a 6-month rolling basis, Volta received the equivalent of €18.1m as at the end of December, representing a 14.8% annualised cash flow yield, based on the end December NAV (even taking into account the strong increase in NAV). We expect this amount to increase in the coming months.
This combination of advantageous factors for our CLO Equity positions, which account for a total of 61% of the NAV, alongside the likelihood of further spread compression in CLO Debt and other positions means that the outlook for 2021 and beyond is favorable for Volta. There will, no doubt, be ongoing bouts of volatility in markets but we are optimistic that the NAV should reach €7.00 per share at some point in 2021 and then to €7.50 per share in the medium term which, combined with a dividend close to 8% of NAV represents an attractive return stream especially when considering the discount to the NAV at which the shares are currently trading.
As at the end of December 2020, Volta’s NAV was €244.0m or €6.67 per share after the payment of €0.12 dividend in December.
The month-end available cash position was €7.0m.
*It should be noted that approximately 8.0% of Volta’s GAV comprises investments for which the relevant NAVs as at the month-end date are normally available only after Volta’s NAV has already been published. Volta’s policy is to publish its NAV on as timely a basis as possible to provide shareholders with Volta’s appropriately up-to-date NAV information. Consequently, such investments are valued using the most recently available NAV for each fund or quoted price for such subordinated note. The most recently available fund NAV or quoted price was for 3.0% as at 30 November 2020, 3.9% as at 31 October 2020, and 1.1% as at 30 September 2020.
** “performances” of asset classes are calculated as the Dietz-performance of the assets in each bucket, taking into account the Mark-to-Market of the assets at period ends, payments received from the assets over the period, and ignoring changes in cross-currency rates. Nevertheless, some residual currency effects could impact the aggregate value of the portfolio when aggregating each bucket.
For the Investment Manager
AXA Investment Managers Paris
+33 (0) 1 44 45 84 47
Company Secretary and Administrator
BNP Paribas Securities Services S.C.A, Guernsey Branch
+44 (0) 1481 750 853
Cenkos Securities plc
+44 (0) 20 7397 8900
ABOUT VOLTA FINANCE LIMITED
Volta Finance Limited is incorporated in Guernsey under The Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008 (as amended) and listed on Euronext Amsterdam and the London Stock Exchange's Main Market for listed securities. Volta’s home member state for the purposes of the EU Transparency Directive is the Netherlands. As such, Volta is subject to regulation and supervision by the AFM, being the regulator for financial markets in the Netherlands.
Volta’s investment objectives are to preserve capital across the credit cycle and to provide a stable stream of income to its shareholders through dividends. Volta seeks to attain its investment objectives predominantly through diversified investments in structured finance assets. The assets that the Company may invest in either directly or indirectly include, but are not limited to: corporate credits; sovereign and quasi-sovereign debt; residential mortgage loans; and, automobile loans. The Company’s approach to investment is through vehicles and arrangements that essentially provide leveraged exposure to portfolios of such underlying assets. The Company has appointed AXA Investment Managers Paris an investment management company with a division specialised in structured credit, for the investment management of all its assets.
ABOUT AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS
AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) is a multi-expert asset management company within the AXA Group, a global leader in financial protection and wealth management. AXA IM is one of the largest European-based asset managers with 753 investment professionals and €801 billion in assets under management as of the end of April 2020.
This press release is published by AXA Investment Managers Paris (“AXA IM”), in its capacity as alternative investment fund manager (within the meaning of Directive 2011/61/EU, the “AIFM Directive”) of Volta Finance Limited (the "Volta Finance") whose portfolio is managed by AXA IM.
This press release is for information only and does not constitute an invitation or inducement to acquire shares in Volta Finance. Its circulation may be prohibited in certain jurisdictions and no recipient may circulate copies of this document in breach of such limitations or restrictions. This document is not an offer for sale of the securities referred to herein in the United States or to persons who are “U.S. persons” for purposes of Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or otherwise in circumstances where such offer would be restricted by applicable law. Such securities may not be sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration from the Securities Act. Volta Finance does not intend to register any portion of the offer of such securities in the United States or to conduct a public offering of such securities in the United States.
This communication is only being distributed to and is only directed at (i) persons who are outside the United Kingdom or (ii) investment professionals falling within Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “Order”) or (iii) high net worth companies, and other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order (all such persons together being referred to as “relevant persons”). The securities referred to herein are only available to, and any invitation, offer or agreement to subscribe, purchase or otherwise acquire such securities will be engaged in only with, relevant persons. Any person who is not a relevant person should not act or rely on this document or any of its contents. Past performance cannot be relied on as a guide to future performance.
This press release contains statements that are, or may deemed to be, "forward-looking statements". These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms "believes", "anticipated", "expects", "intends", "is/are expected", "may", "will" or "should". They include the statements regarding the level of the dividend, the current market context and its impact on the long-term return of Volta Finance's investments. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Volta Finance's actual results, portfolio composition and performance may differ materially from the impression created by the forward-looking statements. AXA IM does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking statements.
Any target information is based on certain assumptions as to future events which may not prove to be realised. Due to the uncertainty surrounding these future events, the targets are not intended to be and should not be regarded as profits or earnings or any other type of forecasts. There can be no assurance that any of these targets will be achieved. In addition, no assurance can be given that the investment objective will be achieved.
The figures provided that relate to past months or years and past performance cannot be relied on as a guide to future performance or construed as a reliable indicator as to future performance. Throughout this review, the citation of specific trades or strategies is intended to illustrate some of the investment methodologies and philosophies of Volta Finance, as implemented by AXA IM. The historical success or AXA IM’s belief in the future success, of any of these trades or strategies is not indicative of, and has no bearing on, future results.
The valuation of financial assets can vary significantly from the prices that the AXA IM could obtain if it sought to liquidate the positions on behalf of the Volta Finance due to market conditions and general economic environment. Such valuations do not constitute a fairness or similar opinion and should not be regarded as such.
Editor: AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS PARIS, a company incorporated under the laws of France, having its registered office located at Tour Majunga, 6, Place de la Pyramide - 92800 Puteaux. AXA IMP is authorized by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers under registration number GP92008 as an alternative investment fund manager within the meaning of the AIFM Directive.