Friday, 5 November 2010

Awal Bank Chapter 11 Filing Update - Request for Extension of Time to Provide Information

Here's an update from Bell Pottinger Middle East on the case.  BPME is the PR company used by Charles Russell for the Awal Bank engagement.

Awal Bank files request for extension of time

Bahrain, 4 November 2010: Charles Russell LLP, acting as External Administrator and Foreign Representative (the “Foreign Representative”) of and for Awal Bank BSC (“Awal Bank”) has filed a request for an extension to the deadline to file schedules of assets and liabilities and statement of financial affairs (the “Schedules”) in the Chapter 11 Case commenced on 21 October 2010.

The request follows the first day hearing that took place on 26 October 2010 at which the Foreign Representative sought an order to establish a workable protocol to administer the Chapter 11 Case in cooperation and coordination with the Bahraini administration. After hearing from both the Office of the United States Trustee and counsel for the Foreign Representative, the Bankruptcy Court directed that the Motion be further considered at a later date in order to allow more time to assess the information provided and after giving opportunity for creditors to make representations regarding the relief requested in the Motion.

The Foreign Representative has determined that additional time is required to assess, among other things, creditor views in relation to the Chapter 11 Case. Upon this assessment being undertaken, the Foreign Representative will determine whether to further pursue the Chapter 11 Case. The Office of the United States Trustee has indicated it has no objection to the Foreign Representative’s request for additional time to file the Schedules.

In October 2009 the Foreign Representative obtained “foreign main proceeding” recognition from the Bankruptcy Court under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for Awal Bank’s administration proceedings in Bahrain.

The Bahraini administration governed by the Central Bank of Bahrain and Financial Institutions Law (“CBBFIL”), continues to be recognised as the foreign main proceeding under Chapter 15. The U.S. based legal activities form part of a multinational litigation process, with court proceedings also currently underway in Bahrain, the Cayman Islands, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Please contact David J. Molton, Esq. from Brown Rudnick LLP, counsel to the Foreign Representative, at 00 1 212 2094822 with any inquiries.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Gulf Finance House - Draft Terms on New Sukuk = 23% Annual Return

 Choose Your Door Carefully.  Some Deals are Better than Others.

As you recall, GFH announced with great fanfare its plan to raise up to US$500 million in new capital.  If you don't, here's an earlier post.

I've just gotten a copy of the draft term sheet for the Sukuk from a reliable source.

First, a recitation of the terms:
  1. Type - Convertible Murabaha Facility
  2. Status - Senior Unsecured Debt
  3. Maturity - 3.5 years
  4. Profit Payment (aka Interest Rate) - Indicative 12% per annum!
  5. Conversion Price - US$0.31 per share
  6. Incentive Structure - If conversion election made before 31 December 2010, last 2.5 years Profit Payment in shares at US$0.31 conversion price.
Before the commentary, two very important caveats:
  1. GFH's shareholders have not approved the issuance.  GFH's first OGM and EGM failed for lack of a quorum.  
  2. The terms sheet is marked "indicative" meaning it's not binding, but rather serves as a basis for discussion/negotiation with potential investors. 
  3. Nonetheless, these terms provide a window into what GFH's board and management believe will be necessary to secure investor interest.  In that regard, I'd note that the accompanying investor presentation (a future post will comment on that) states:  "Some commitments already received from Chairman, strategic investors, and related parties".  So you can be pretty sure that GFH has drawn on these disinterested parties to set market-based terms.
Now to the commentary.
  1. Assuming a take and hold investor who does not elect conversion until after 31 December 2010, the promised return (IRR basis) is roughly 23% per annum. 
  2. 12% of that return composed of cash (the "interest payments").   It's hard to see GFH earning sufficient returns to have much left for shareholders after the interest payment is made.
  3. 11% of that from the discount on the shares (assuming the shareholders approve the 1:4  reverse split and GFH trades at 4 times its current US$0.125 per share.  A rather substantial dilution of existing shareholders.
  4. The total promised return reflects the weak financial condition of the company when it has to offer essentially private equity like returns for its debt.  Of course, the actual return will depend on GFH's performance which may indicate a market judgment on the probability of such performance.
  5. It also establishes what might be considered an "unfortunate" benchmark for GFH's debt issues. Particularly, when one considers this is apparently an early offer to potential investors.  And as we all know the first price in the suq is not the last.

Gulf Finance House to Ask Sukuk Holders for Three Year Extension

Reuters is quoting an unnamed GFH spokesman that the Bank intends to ask the holders of its US$200 million Sukuk issue (US$137 million outstanding) to roll the Sukuk on its original terms for three years.  That is, to extend the maturity from 2012 to 2015.

I'm not sure if "chuzpah" is an Islamic banking term, but it would sure seem to apply here.  The Sukuk is currently trading at around just a whisker over 50% of face value.

I'd also note that earlier this week GFH formally stated that it had not issued the information the Gulf Daily News report that it intended to either (a) sell assets to  US$90 million in debt next year or (b)  reschedule debt.   If you recall the original GDN article, there was a third alternative mentioned - which was extinguishing debt via asset transfers.  Interestingly enough, what is mentioned in the GDN article is precisely what I see  on page 13 in the copy of GFH's October 2010 "Return to Growth" Presentation to investors which I recently obtained. 

It is, I suppose, indeed sad that someone is issuing presentations using GFH's highly respected name in such a fashion.

As to pricing for GFH debt, please see my soon to be issued companion post on the draft terms for GFH's proposed new Sukuk.

National Bank of Kuwait – Related Parties’ Loans Analysis

One of our regulator and insightful commenters, Advocatus, said that there were rumors in the market that NBK was experiencing problems with its exposure to M Al Khorafi and had to extend the loans more than once to keep them from becoming classified as non performing.

An intriguing comment.

Abu Shukri is known as a careful banker, but even Homer nodded from time to time. And sometimes it is very hard to say "no" to a very well connected shareholder. As they say: "Past performance is not a guarantee of future results."

Without access to NBK's internal records, it's not possible to say one way or another. Let's look and see if we can find any signs of difficulties in NBK's financials.

Related Party Information

The first assumption is that loans to MAK or other AlKhorafi entities would be reported in the Related Parties Section. The data below is taken from the Related Party Notes in the Bank's Quarterly financials and is expressed in millions of KD.

QuarterRP LoansCollateral% Cover

  1. Collateral coverage is reasonably comfortable, except for 4Q08. If there was a problem with Related Party loans, it's likely this is when it occurred. Two factors accounted for this change: a very dramatic decline in collateral and an increase in outstandings. 
  2. The significant drop in collateral coverage in 4Q08 coincides with the dramatic decline in market values following the collapse of Lehman. This suggests that the collateral is composed of equities and other marketable securities. 
  3. One would also expect that this would be a time of liquidity and cashflow stress leading borrowers to draw down additional amounts to cover their needs. 
  4. However, there is remediation on the principal side in 1Q09 with a KD71.8 reduction (twice the increase in 4Q08). That's quite remarkable because this was not exactly a "boom" time for Kuwait or the world in general. 
  5. Further declines in 2010 appear to indicate that there is no problem with RP loans. By 1Q10 these were below their 1Q07 level. Collateral coverage remains comfortable and the absolute of loans outstanding is below those in 1Q07. 
  6. I'd guess that Zain shares make up a good portion of the collateral for MAK exposure. But that is just a guess. If so, the Itisalat acquisition should lead to a further dramatic reduction in RP loans.
Renegotiated Loans

Another place to look is for the IFRS #7 Note on renegotiated loans. 
  1. Note 28.1.4 to NBK's 2009 financials state that only KD8.4 million of loans were renegotiated in that fiscal year and nil the year before. I didn't seem similar disclosure in the 2007 financials.
  2. If NBK were having problems with MAK exposure, one might expect to see larger "renegotiated" amounts, though it is possible in this sort of situation for a bank to extend a new loan to repay another short term loan and treat it as a new loan. One would expect that interest would have to be paid in full for the auditors to sign off. I'd note that one's expectations are not always fulfilled.

The financials don't disclose any problems, though as mentioned above this analysis is based on an external diagnosis without benefit of x-rays (details of NBK's exposure to the AlKhorafi Group).