UBS Cuts Debt, Earns Upgrade
UBS Group’s (NYSE: UBS) deleveraging efforts, first announced in 2012, have been successful. The company recently received an upgrade from S&P Global ratings recognizing its efforts to reduce debt and to move away from investment banking to wealth management. S&P upgraded it from a BBB+ to A- and said UBS is in a position to deliver satisfactory returns without further changes to its wealth management plan.
The company expects to cut an additional $1.4 billion in debt by the end of June. S&P noted that UBS will receive more upgrades as it continues to meet its financial targets.
UBS Group, yielding 5.5%, is a Buy below $25.
HSBC Holdings (NYSE: HSBC) continues to restructure its investment banking business due to the weak economic conditions in Asia and its other key markets. In February, the company created a new global banking division. It recently appointed regional co-heads for the new division and created an advisory board which will combine M&A and corporate finance.
The company intends to cut roughly 20% of its workforce, sell off and merge its businesses to increase revenue and improve its bottom line.
The company recently made another step towards this goal as it received approval from Brazilian regulators for the $5.2 billion sale of its operations there. The sale will allow it to boost its main capital ratio and help it maintain its dividend payout ratio, a dividend currently about 7.8%.
HSBC Holdings is a currently a Hold.
Seaspan (NYSE:SSW) recently announced today that it accepted delivery of a 14000 TEU (twenty—foot equivalent unit) containership, its eighth of nine recent 14000 TEU units it is adding to its fleet. This expands the company’s operating fleet to a total of 89 units.
The vessel has already been signed to a 10-year, fixed-rate time charter with Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.
As it continues to build out its fleet, the company has been making efforts to shore up its finances. The company has raised about $750 million through public offerings and over $540 million in debt and equity financings. The company used some of these funds to redeem some of its higher-cost, preferred shares. The remaining capital will give it more financial flexibility to weather the current market conditions.
Seaspan remains a Hold.
With Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, facing a pending impeachment vote, the country’s leadership is now in the hands of interim President, Michel Temer, who vows to shift the government’s policies to a more market-friendly one.
This is expected to garner more foreign investment interest in the country as many believe Brazil will focus on economic stimulus under its new monetary policy. This bodes well for Brazilian banks like Banco Bradesco (NYSE: BBD) which recently announced steady earnings in the first quarter.
The company reported adjusted income of $1.2 billion, down 3% compared to prior year’s quarter. However, assets under management rose 11.1%. Bradesco reported that Insurance, Pension Plans and Capitalization Bonds during the quarter rose 11.4% ,driven by strong sales of its “Life and Pension Plans” and “Health Plans” products, which increased 13.6% and 16.8%, respectively.
Bradesco also received a positive verdict on its $5.2 billion purchase of HSBC Brazil, which was the country’s third-largest bank. Absorbing HSBC’s business will increase Bradesco’s assets by 16% and give it an additional 5 million customers.
BBD, which currently yields 4.2%, is a Hold.
PDL BioPharma (NSDQ: PDLI) announced it bought an 88% interest in Ireland-based Noden Pharma DAC, a private company which owns the rights to Novartis’ hypertension drug, Tekturna, which had global sales of $154 million in 2015. Under the terms of the deal, PDL is expected to contribute about $107 million in the first year with the potential to invest up to $294 million in the company. Given its majority ownership, Noden’s financials will be immediately accretive to PDL’s cash earnings.
Yielding 6%, PDLI is currently a Hold.
Starwood Property Trust (NYSE: STWD) reported core earnings of $118.9 million, or $0.50 per diluted share in the first quarter, in line with Wall Street estimates.
The company’s Lending Segment contributed $98.5 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, to core earnings and added $437.4 million in investments during the quarter.
Starwood’s Property Segment added $9.8 million, or $0.04 per diluted share. During the quarter, the Property segment acquired 12 of 32 previously announced housing communities referred to as the “Woodstar Portfolio” for $202.8 million and net equity of $79.9 million. These 12 properties are comprised of 3,082 units and were funded with cash and assumed government-sponsored financing of $142.3 million.
Starwood recently put its 510,000 square foot office complex in Woodland Hills, California up for sale for about $190 million.
Starwood, yielding 9.1% is a Buy up to $32.