Company Quick10K Filing
Solar Capital
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$0.00 0 $0
10-K 2020-02-20 Annual: 2019-12-31
10-Q 2019-11-04 Quarter: 2019-09-30
10-Q 2019-08-05 Quarter: 2019-06-30
10-Q 2019-05-06 Quarter: 2019-03-31
10-K 2019-02-21 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-11-05 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-08-06 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-05-07 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2018-02-22 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-11-02 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-08-01 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-05-02 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2017-02-22 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-11-02 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-08-02 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-05-03 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2016-02-24 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-11-03 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-08-04 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-05-05 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2015-02-25 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-11-04 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-08-04 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-05-05 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2014-02-25 Annual: 2013-12-31
10-Q 2013-10-30 Quarter: 2013-09-30
10-Q 2013-07-31 Quarter: 2013-06-30
10-Q 2013-05-07 Quarter: 2013-03-31
10-K 2013-02-25 Annual: 2012-12-31
10-Q 2012-11-01 Quarter: 2012-09-30
10-Q 2012-07-31 Quarter: 2012-06-30
10-Q 2012-05-01 Quarter: 2012-03-31
10-K 2012-02-22 Annual: 2011-12-31
10-Q 2011-11-01 Quarter: 2011-09-30
10-Q 2011-08-02 Quarter: 2011-06-30
10-Q 2011-05-03 Quarter: 2011-03-31
10-K 2011-03-01 Annual: 2010-12-31
10-Q 2010-11-02 Quarter: 2010-09-30
10-Q 2010-08-03 Quarter: 2010-06-30
10-Q 2010-05-04 Quarter: 2010-03-31
10-K 2010-03-04 Annual: 2009-12-31
8-K 2020-02-20 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-12-18 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2019-11-04 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-10-08 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2019-08-28 Enter Agreement, Leave Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement
8-K 2019-08-05 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-06-10 Officers, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-05-06 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-21 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-21 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-05 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-11 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2018-08-06 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-07 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-02-22 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-10 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2017-08-02 Other Events, Exhibits
SLRC 2019-12-31
Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Note 1. Organization
Note 2. Significant Accounting Policies
Note 3. Agreements
Note 4. Net Asset Value per Share
Note 5. Earnings per Share
Note 6. Fair Value
Note 7. Debt
Note 8(A). Income Tax Information and Distributions To Stockholders
Note 8(B). Other Tax Information (Unaudited)
Note 9. Financial Highlights
Note 10. Crystal Financial Llc
Note 11. Selected Quarterly Financial Data (Unaudited)
Note 12. Commitments and Contingencies
Note 13. Nef Holdings, Llc
Note 14. Capital Share Transactions
Note 15. Subsequent Events
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary
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Solar Capital Earnings 2019-12-31

SLRC 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

Comparables ($MM TTM)
Ticker M Cap Assets Liab Rev G Profit Net Inc EBITDA EV G Margin EV/EBITDA ROA
VETS
SAR
OXSQ
SUNS
BCSF
MCC
SLRC
ABDC
HCAP
GBDC

10-K 1 d853127d10k.htm FORM 10-K Form 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                      TO                    

COMMISSION FILE NUMBER: 814-00754

 

 

SOLAR CAPITAL LTD.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Maryland   26-1381340
(State of Incorporation)  

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

500 Park Avenue

New York, N.Y.

  10022
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (212) 993-1670

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

  

Trading Symbol

  

Name of Each Exchange on Which  Registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share    SLRC    The NASDAQ Global Select Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ☒    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ☐    No  ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ☒    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes  ☐    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer      Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer      Smaller Reporting Company  
Emerging growth company       

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act)    Yes  ☐    No  ☒

The aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant on June 28, 2019 based on the closing price on that date of $20.53 on the NASDAQ Global Select Market was approximately $815.9 million. For the purposes of calculating this amount only, all directors and executive officers of the Registrant have been treated as affiliates. There were 42,260,826 shares of the Registrant’s common stock outstanding as of February 18, 2020.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

SOLAR CAPITAL LTD.

FORM 10-K

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

         Page  
    PART I       

Item 1.

 

Business

     1  

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

     29  

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

     63  

Item 2.

 

Properties

     63  

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

     63  

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

     63  
    PART II       

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

     64  

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

     70  

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

     71  

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

     89  

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

     90  

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

     134  

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

     134  

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

     134  
    PART III       

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

     135  

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

     140  

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

     142  

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

     143  

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

     146  
    PART IV       

Item 15.

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

     148  

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

     150  
 

Signatures

     151  


Table of Contents

PART I

 

Item 1.

Business

Solar Capital Ltd. (“Solar”, “Solar Capital”, the “Company”, “we” or “our”), a Maryland corporation formed in November 2007, is a closed-end, externally managed, non-diversified management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company (“BDC”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Furthermore, as the Company is an investment company, it continues to apply the guidance in FASB Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 946. In addition, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we have elected to be treated, and intend to qualify annually, as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).

In February 2010, we completed our initial public offering and a concurrent private offering of shares to our senior management team.

We invest primarily in privately held U.S. middle-market companies, where we believe the supply of primary capital is limited and the investment opportunities are most attractive. Our investment objective is to generate both current income and capital appreciation through debt and equity investments. We invest primarily in leveraged middle-market companies in the form of senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans, financing leases and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities. We define “middle market” to refer to companies with annual revenues typically between $50 million and $1 billion. Our investments in stretch-senior loans represent loans where the amount of senior debt of the portfolio company is larger than a traditional senior secured loan but is less than a unitranche loan. From time to time, we may also invest directly in the debt and equity of public companies that are thinly traded and such investments will not be limited to any minimum or maximum market capitalization. In addition, we may invest in foreign markets, including emerging markets. Our business is focused primarily on the direct origination of investments through portfolio companies or their financial sponsors. Our investments generally range between $5 million and $100 million each, although we expect that this investment size will vary proportionately with the size of our capital base and/or with strategic initiatives.

In addition, we may invest a portion of our portfolio in other types of investments, which we refer to as opportunistic investments, which are not our primary focus but are intended to enhance our overall returns. These investments may include, but are not limited to, direct investments in public companies that are not thinly traded and securities of leveraged companies located in select countries outside of the United States. The securities that we invest in are typically rated below investment grade. Securities rated below investment grade are often referred to as “leveraged loans,” “high yield” or “junk” securities, and may be considered “high risk” compared to debt instruments that are rated investment grade. In addition, some of our debt investments will not fully amortize during their lifetime, which means that a borrower may be unable to payoff its debt due to bankruptcy or other reasons and therefore we may write-off such debt investment prior to its scheduled maturity. Upon such an occurrence, we may realize a loss or a substantial amount of unpaid principal and interest due upon maturity.

Our investment activities are managed by Solar Capital Partners, LLC (“Solar Capital Partners” or the “Investment Adviser”) and supervised by our board of directors, a majority of whom are non-interested, as such term is defined in the 1940 Act. Solar Capital Management, LLC (“Solar Capital Management”) provides the administrative services necessary for us to operate.

As of December 31, 2019, our investment portfolio totaled $1.5 billion and our net asset value was $905.9 million. Our portfolio was comprised of debt and equity investments in 108 portfolio companies.

During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, we invested approximately $404 million in over 50 portfolio companies. Investments sold or prepaid during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 totaled approximately $362 million.

 

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Solar Capital Partners

Solar Capital Partners, our investment adviser, is controlled and led by Michael S. Gross, our Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Bruce Spohler, our Co-Chief Operating Officer and Chief Operating Officer. They are supported by a team of investment professionals. Solar Capital Partners’ investment team has extensive experience in leveraged lending and private equity, as well as significant contacts with financial sponsors.

In addition, at December 31, 2019, Solar Capital Partners serves as investment adviser to private funds and managed accounts as well as to Solar Senior Capital Ltd. (or “Solar Senior”), another publicly traded BDC that primarily invests directly and indirectly in leveraged, private middle market companies in the form of senior secured loans, including first lien and stretch-senior debt instruments, and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC, an unlisted BDC that primarily invests in first lien and stretch first lien loans to upper middle market private leveraged companies. Through December 31, 2019, the investment team led by Messrs. Gross and Spohler has invested approximately $9.0 billion in more than 390 different portfolio companies involving approximately 200 different financial sponsors. As of February 18, 2020, Mr. Gross and Mr. Spohler beneficially owned, either directly or indirectly, approximately 5.8% of our outstanding common stock.

Mr. Gross has over 25 years of experience in the private equity, distressed debt and mezzanine i.e., actually or structurally subordinated lending businesses and has been involved in originating, structuring, negotiating, consummating and managing private equity, distressed debt and mezzanine lending transactions. Prior to his current role as our Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer and President, Mr. Gross founded Apollo Investment Corporation, a publicly traded BDC. He served as its chairman from February 2004 to July 2006 and its chief executive officer from February 2004 to February 2006. Under his management, Apollo Investment Corporation raised approximately $930 million in gross proceeds in an initial public offering in April 2004, built a dedicated investment team and infrastructure and invested approximately $2.3 billion in over 65 companies in conjunction with 50 different private equity sponsors. Mr. Gross is also a founder and a former senior partner of Apollo Management, L.P., a leading private equity firm. During his tenure at Apollo Management, L.P., Mr. Gross was a member of the investment committee that was responsible for overseeing more than $13 billion of investments in over 150 companies.

Mr. Gross also currently serves on the boards of directors of three public companies, and in the past has served on the boards of directors of more than 20 public and private companies. As a result, Mr. Gross has developed an extensive network of private equity sponsor relationships as well as relationships with management teams of public and private companies, investment bankers, attorneys and accountants that we believe should provide us with significant business opportunities.

We also rely on the over 25 years of experience of Mr. Spohler, who has served as our Chief Operating Officer and a partner of Solar Capital Partners since its inception and as Co-Chief Executive Officer since June 2019. Previously, Mr. Spohler was a managing director and a former co-head of U.S. Leveraged Finance for CIBC World Markets. He held numerous senior roles at CIBC World Markets, including serving on the U.S. Management Committee, Global Executive Committee and the Deals Committee, which approves all of CIBC World Markets’ U.S. corporate finance debt capital decisions. During Mr. Spohler’s tenure, he was responsible for senior loan, high yield and mezzanine origination and execution, as well as CIBC World Markets’ below investment grade loan portfolio in the United States. As a co-head of U.S. Leveraged Finance, Mr. Spohler oversaw over 300 capital raising and merger and acquisition transactions, comprising over $40 billion in market capitalization.

Solar Capital Partners’ senior investment professionals have been active participants in the primary and secondary leveraged credit markets throughout their careers. They have effectively managed portfolios of distressed and mezzanine debt as well as other investment types. The depth of their prior experience and credit market expertise has led them through various stages of the economic cycle as well as several market disruptions.

 

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Table of Contents

Solar Capital Management

Pursuant to an administration agreement (the “Administration Agreement”), Solar Capital Management furnishes us with office facilities, equipment and clerical, bookkeeping and record keeping services at such facilities. Under the Administration Agreement, Solar Capital Management also performs, or oversees the performance of, our required administrative services, which include, among other things, being responsible for the financial records which we are required to maintain and preparing reports to our stockholders. In addition, Solar Capital Management assists us in determining and publishing our net asset value, oversees the preparation and filing of our tax returns and the printing and dissemination of reports to our stockholders, and generally oversees the payment of our expenses and the performance of administrative and professional services rendered to us by others. Solar Capital Management also provides managerial assistance, if any, on our behalf to those portfolio companies that request such assistance.

License Agreement

We have entered into a license agreement with Solar Capital Partners pursuant to which Solar Capital Partners has agreed to grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use the name “Solar Capital.” Under this agreement, we have a right to use the Solar Capital name for so long as the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement with our investment adviser is in effect. Other than with respect to this limited license, we will have no legal right to the “Solar Capital” name.

Market Opportunity

Solar Capital invests primarily in leveraged middle-market companies, including in senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities. We believe that the size of this market, coupled with leveraged companies’ need for flexible sources of capital at attractive terms and rates, creates an attractive investment environment for us.

 

   

Middle-market companies have faced increasing difficulty in accessing the capital markets. While many middle-market companies were formerly able to raise funds by issuing high-yield bonds, we believe this approach to financing has become more difficult in recent years as institutional investors have sought to invest in larger, more liquid offerings. In addition, many private finance companies that historically financed their lending and investing activities through securitization transactions have lost that source of funding and reduced lending significantly. Moreover, consolidation of lenders and market participants and the illiquid nature of investments have resulted in fewer middle-market lenders and market participants.

 

   

There is a large pool of uninvested private equity capital likely to seek additional capital to support their investments. We believe there is more than $600 billion of uninvested private equity capital seeking debt financing to support acquisitions.

 

   

The significant amount of debt maturing through 2021 should provide additional demand for capital. A high volume of financings are expected to mature over the next few years. We believe that this supply of prospective lending opportunities coupled with a lack of available credit in the middle-market lending space may offer attractive risk-adjusted returns to investors. Risk-adjusted return compares returns against the amount of risk incurred. The term “risk-adjusted return” does not imply that an investment is no risk or low risk.

 

   

Investing in private middle-market debt provides an attractive risk reward profile. In general, terms for illiquid, middle-market subordinated debt have been more attractive than those for larger corporations which are typically more liquid. We believe this is because fewer institutions are able to invest in illiquid asset classes.

Therefore, we believe that there is an attractive opportunity to invest in leveraged middle-market companies, including in senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans, unitranche loans and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities, and that we are well positioned to serve this market.

 

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Table of Contents

Competitive Advantages and Strategy

We believe that we have the following competitive advantages over other providers of financing to leveraged companies.

Management Expertise

As managing partner, Mr. Gross has principal management responsibility for Solar Capital Partners, to which he currently dedicates substantially all of his time. Mr. Gross has over 25 years of experience in leveraged finance, private equity and distressed debt investing. Mr. Spohler, our Co-Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and a partner of Solar Capital Partners, has over 25 years of experience in evaluating and executing leverage finance transactions.

Investment Capacity

The proceeds from our initial public offering and the Concurrent Private Placement, the borrowing capacity under the senior secured credit facility led by Citibank, N.A. (the “Credit Facility”), our $50 million NEFPASS SPV credit facility (the “NEFPASS Facility”), our $75 million of unsecured senior notes due 2023 (the “2023 Unsecured Notes”), our $150 million of unsecured senior notes due 2022 (the “2022 Unsecured Notes”), our $21 million of unsecured senior notes due 2022 (the “2022 Tranche C Notes”), our $125 million of unsecured notes due 2024 (the “2024 Unsecured Notes”), our $75 million of unsecured notes due 2026 (the “2026 Unsecured Notes”) and the expected repayments of existing investments provide us with a substantial amount of capital available for deployment into new investment opportunities. We believe we are well positioned for the current marketplace.

Solar Capital’s Limited Leverage

As of December 31, 2019, we had total outstanding borrowings of approximately $593.9 million. Under the provisions of the 1940 Act, we are permitted to issue senior securities in amounts such that our asset coverage ratio, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 150% of gross assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities, after each issuance of senior securities. As of December 31, 2019, our asset coverage ratio was 252.5%. We believe our relatively low level of leverage provides us with a competitive advantage, allowing us to anticipate providing a consistent distribution to our investors, as proceeds from our investments are available for reinvestment as opposed to being consumed by debt repayment. We may increase our relative level of debt in the future. However, we do not currently anticipate operating with a substantial amount of debt relative to our total assets.

Proprietary Sourcing and Origination

We believe that Solar Capital Partners’ senior investment professionals’ longstanding relationships with financial sponsors, commercial and investment banks, management teams and other financial intermediaries provide us with a strong pipeline of proprietary origination opportunities. We expect to continue leveraging the relationships Mr. Gross established while sourcing and originating investments at Apollo Investment Corporation (“Apollo”) as well as the financial sponsor relationships Mr. Spohler developed while he was a co-head of CIBC World Markets’ U.S. Leveraged Finance Group.

Versatile Transaction Structuring and Flexibility of Capital

We believe Solar Capital Partners’ senior investment team’s broad expertise and ability to draw upon its extensive experience enable us to identify, assess and structure investments successfully across all levels of a company’s capital structure and to manage potential risk and return at all stages of the economic cycle. The attempt to manage risk does not imply low risk or no risk. While we are subject to significant regulation as a

 

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Table of Contents

BDC, we are not subject to many of the regulatory limitations that govern traditional lending institutions such as banks. As a result, we believe that we can be more flexible than such lending institutions in selecting and structuring investments, adjusting investment criteria, transaction structures and, in some cases, the types of securities in which we invest.

Emphasis on Achieving Strong Risk-Adjusted Returns

Solar Capital Partners uses a structured investment and risk management process that emphasizes research and analysis. Solar Capital Partners seeks to build our portfolio on a “bottom-up” basis, choosing and sizing individual positions based on their relative risk/reward profiles as a function of the associated downside risk, volatility, correlation with the existing portfolio and liquidity. At the same time, Solar Capital Partners takes into consideration a variety of factors in managing our portfolio and imposes portfolio-based risk constraints promoting a more diverse portfolio of investments and limiting issuer and industry concentration. We do not pursue short-term origination targets. We believe this approach enables us to build an attractive investment portfolio that meets our return and value criteria over the long term. We believe it is critical to conduct extensive due diligence on investment targets. In evaluating new investments we, through Solar Capital Partners, conduct a rigorous due diligence process.

Dedication of Resources to Industries with Substantial Information Flow

We dedicate our investing resources to industries characterized by strong cash flow and in which Solar Capital Partners’ investment professionals have deep investment experience. As a result of their investment experience, Messrs. Gross and Spohler, together with Solar Capital Partners’ other senior investment professionals, have long-term relationships with management consultants and management teams in the industries we target, as well as substantial information concerning those industries.

Longer Investment Horizon

Unlike private equity and venture capital funds, we will not be subject to standard periodic capital return requirements. Such requirements typically stipulate that the capital of these funds, together with any capital gains on such invested funds, can only be invested once and must be returned to investors after a pre-agreed time period. We believe that our flexibility to make investments with a long-term view and without the capital return requirements of traditional private investment vehicles provides us with the opportunity to generate favorable returns relative to the risks of our invested capital and enables us to be a better long-term partner for our portfolio companies.

Investments

Solar Capital seeks to create a diverse portfolio that includes senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans and to a lesser extent unsecured loans and equity securities by investing approximately $5 million to $100 million of capital, on average, in the securities of leveraged companies, including middle-market companies. We expect that this investment size will vary with the size of our capital base and/or for strategic initiatives. Structurally, unsecured loans usually rank subordinate in priority of payment to senior debt, such as senior bank debt. As such, other creditors may rank senior to us in the event of insolvency. However, unsecured loans rank senior to common and preferred equity in a borrowers’ capital structure. Due to its higher risk profile and often less restrictive covenants as compared to senior loans, unsecured loans generally earn a higher return than senior secured loans.

In addition to senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans and unsecured loans, we may invest a portion of our portfolio in opportunistic investments, which are not our primary focus, but are intended to enhance our returns to our investors. These investments may include direct investments in public companies that are not thinly traded and securities of leveraged companies located in select countries outside of the United States. The securities that

 

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we invest in are typically rated below investment grade. Securities rated below investment grade are speculative and are often referred to as “leveraged loans,” “high yield” or “junk” securities, and may be considered “high risk” compared to debt instruments that are rated investment grade. In addition, some of our debt investments will not fully amortize during their lifetime, which means that a borrower may be unable to payoff its debt due to bankruptcy or other reasons and therefore we may write-off such debt investment prior to its scheduled maturity. Upon such an occurrence, we may realize a loss or a substantial amount of unpaid principal and interest due upon maturity. We may invest up to 30% of our total assets in such opportunistic investments, including loans issued by non-U.S. issuers, subject to compliance with our regulatory obligations as a BDC under the 1940 Act.

We have and will continue to borrow funds to make investments. As a result, we will be exposed to the risks of leverage, which may be considered a speculative investment technique. The use of leverage magnifies the potential for loss on amounts invested and therefore increases the risks associated with investing in our securities. In addition, the costs associated with our borrowings, including any increase in management fees payable to our investment adviser, Solar Capital Partners, will be borne by our common stockholders.

Additionally, we may in the future seek to securitize our loans to generate cash for funding new investments. To securitize loans, we may create a wholly-owned subsidiary and contribute a pool of loans to the subsidiary. This could include the sale of interests in the subsidiary on a non-recourse basis to purchasers who we would expect to be willing to accept a lower interest rate to invest in investment grade loan pools, and we would retain a portion of the equity in the securitized pool of loans.

Moreover, we may acquire investments in the secondary market and, in analyzing such investments, we will employ the same analytical process as we use for our primary investments.

We may utilize instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of our portfolio positions from changes in currency exchange rates and market interest rates. Hedging against a decline in the values of our portfolio positions does not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such portfolio positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the values of the underlying portfolio positions should increase. It may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek to establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and the portfolio holdings being hedged. Any such imperfect correlation may prevent us from achieving the intended hedge and expose us to risk of loss. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge fully or perfectly against currency fluctuations affecting the value of securities denominated in non-U.S. currencies because the value of those securities is likely to fluctuate as a result of factors not related to currency fluctuations.

Our principal focus is to provide senior secured loans and stretch-senior loans to leveraged companies in a variety of industries. We generally seek to target companies that generate positive cash flows and/or have substantial assets that secure our loans. We generally seek to invest in companies from the broad variety of industries in which our investment adviser has direct expertise.

 

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The following is a representative list of the industries in which we may invest:

 

  Aerospace & Defense

 

  Air Freight & Logistics

 

  Airlines

 

  Asset Management

 

  Automobiles

 

  Building Products

 

  Chemicals

 

  Commercial Services & Supplies

 

  Communications Equipment

 

  Construction & Engineering

 

  Consumer Finance

 

  Containers & Packaging

 

  Distributors

 

  Diversified Consumer Services

 

  Diversified Financial Services

 

  Diversified Real Estate Activities

 

  Diversified Telecommunications Services

 

  Education Services

 

  Energy Equipment & Services

 

  Food Products

 

  Footwear

 

  Health Care Equipment & Supplies

 

  Health Care Facilities

 

  Health Care Providers & Services

 

  Health Care Technology
  Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure

 

  Household & Personal Products

 

  Industrial Conglomerates

 

  Insurance

 

  Internet Services & Infrastructure

 

  IT Services

 

  Leisure Equipment & Products

 

  Life SciencesTools & Services

 

  Machinery

 

  Media

 

  Multiline Retail

 

  Multi-Sector Holdings

 

  Oil, Gas & Consumer Fuels

 

  Paper & Forest Products

 

  Personal Products

 

  Pharmaceuticals

 

  Professional Services

 

  Research & Consulting Services

 

  Road & Rail

 

  Software

 

  Specialty Retail

 

  Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods

 

  Thrifts & Mortgage Finance

 

  Trading Companies & Distributors

 

  Utilities

 

  Wireless Telecommunications Services
 

 

We may also invest in other industries if we are presented with attractive opportunities.

We may invest, to the extent permitted by law, in the securities and instruments of other investment companies, including private funds. We may also participate in negotiated co-investment transactions with certain affiliates, each of whose investment adviser is Solar Capital Partners, or an investment adviser controlling, controlled by or under common control with Solar Capital Partners and is registered as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act, in a manner consistent with our investment objective, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions as well as regulatory requirements and other pertinent factors, and pursuant to the conditions of the exemptive order obtained from the SEC on June 13, 2017 (the “New Exemptive Order”), which supersedes the exemptive order that we initially obtained on July 28, 2014 (the “Prior Exemptive Order”).

 

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Pursuant to the New Exemptive Order, we are permitted to co-invest with our affiliates if a “required majority” (as defined in Section 57(o) of the 1940 Act) of our independent directors make certain conclusions in connection with a co-investment transaction, including, but not limited to, that (1) the terms of the potential co-investment transaction, including the consideration to be paid, are reasonable and fair to us and our stockholders and do not involve overreaching in respect of us or our stockholders on the part of any person concerned, and (2) the potential co-investment transaction is consistent with the interests of our stockholders and is consistent with our then-current investment objective and strategies.

At December 31, 2019, our portfolio consisted of 108 portfolio companies and was invested 31.0% in cash flow senior secured loans, 28.2% in asset-based senior secured loans / Crystal Financial LLC (“Crystal”), 21.5% in equipment senior secured financings / NEF Holdings, LLC (“NEF”), and 19.3% in life science senior secured loans, in each case, measured at fair value. We expect that our portfolio will continue to include primarily senior secured, stretch-senior, financing leases and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities. In addition, we also expect to invest a portion of our portfolio in opportunistic investments, which are not our primary focus, but are intended to enhance our risk-adjusted returns to stockholders. These investments may include, but are not limited to, securities of public companies and debt and equity securities of companies located outside of the United States.

While our primary investment objective is to maximize current income and capital appreciation through investments in U.S. senior and subordinated loans, other debt securities and equity, we may also invest a portion of the portfolio in opportunistic investments, including foreign securities.

Listed below are our top ten portfolio companies and industries based on their fair value and represented as a percentage of total assets as of December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018:

TOP TEN PORTFOLIO COMPANIES AND INDUSTRIES AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2019

 

Portfolio Company

   % of
Total Assets
 

Crystal Financial LLC*

     15.2

NEF Holdings, LLC*

     7.4

Genmark Diagnostics, Inc.

     2.6

Falmouth Group Holdings Corp. (AMPAC)

     1.9

KORE Wireless Group, Inc.

     1.9

Varilease Finance, Inc.

     1.9

Kingsbridge Holdings, LLC

     1.7

PhyMed Management LLC

     1.7

MRI Software, Inc.

     1.6

Equipment Operating Leases LLC*

     1.5

 

*

Denotes investments in which we are deemed to exercise a controlling influence over the management or policies of a company, as defined in the 1940 Act, due to beneficially owning, either directly or through one or more controlled companies, more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of the investment.

 

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Industry

   % of
Total Assets
 

Diversified Financial Services

     15.4

Multi-Sector Holdings

     13.3

Health Care Providers & Services

     10.0

Pharmaceuticals

     6.6

Health Care Equipment & Supplies

     5.6

Software

     3.2

Commercial Services & Supplies

     2.2

Media

     2.0

Wireless Telecommunication Services

     1.9

Chemicals

     1.9

TOP TEN PORTFOLIO COMPANIES AND INDUSTRIES AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2018

 

Portfolio Company

   % of
Total Assets
 

Crystal Financial LLC*

     17.4

NEF Holdings, LLC*

     8.6

Falmouth Group Holdings Corp. (AMPAC)

     2.4

KORE Wireless Group, Inc.

     2.2

Varilease Finance, Inc.

     2.0

Equipment Operating Leases LLC*

     2.0

PhyMed Management LLC

     1.9

American Teleconferencing Services, Ltd. (PGI)

     1.8

Pet Holdings ULC & Pet Supermarket, Inc.

     1.7

PSKW, LLC & PDR, LLC

     1.7

 

*

Denotes investments in which we are deemed to exercise a controlling influence over the management or policies of a company, as defined in the 1940 Act, due to beneficially owning, either directly or through one or more controlled companies, more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of the investment.

 

Industry

   % of
Total Assets
 

Diversified Financial Services

     18.5

Multi-Sector Holdings

     14.2

Health Care Providers & Services

     10.0

Pharmaceuticals

     9.0

Health Care Equipment & Supplies

     4.8

Road & Rail

     2.7

Chemicals

     2.4

Media

     2.3

Wireless Telecommunication Services

     2.3

Communications Equipment

     2.2

Set forth below is a brief description of each portfolio company in which we have made an investment that represents greater than 5% of our total assets as of December 31, 2019.

Crystal Financial LLC

Crystal Financial LLC is an independent commercial finance company that provides primarily senior secured loans for both asset-based and cash flow financings to middle-market companies. Its team of

 

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experienced, responsive professionals has underwritten, closed and managed more than $20 billion in secured debt commitments across a wide range of industries. As of December 31, 2019, Crystal Financial LLC had 35 funded commitments to 28 different issuers with total funded loans of approximately $496.8 million on total assets of $520.0 million. Crystal’s competitors include other specialty finance companies and small banks. As with any lender, Crystal is exposed to interest rate risk, which it mostly mitigates by issuing loans with floating rates.

NEF Holdings, LLC

On July 31, 2017, the Company completed the acquisition of NEF Holdings, which conducts its business through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nations Equipment Finance, LLC. NEF Holdings is an independent equipment finance company that provides senior secured loans and leases primarily to U.S. based companies. The Company invested $209.9 million in cash to effect the transaction, of which $145.0 million was invested in the equity of NEF Holdings through our wholly-owned consolidated taxable subsidiary NEFCORP LLC and our wholly-owned consolidated subsidiary NEFPASS LLC and $64.9 million was used to purchase certain leases and loans held by NEF Holdings through NEFPASS LLC. At July 31, 2017, NEF Holdings also had two securitizations outstanding, with an issued note balance of $94.6 million, which were later redeemed in 2018. As of December 31, 2019, NEF had 168 funded equipment-backed leases and loans to 78 different customers with a total net investment in leases and loans of approximately $245.0 million on total assets of $304.2 million.

Investment Selection Process

Solar Capital Partners is committed to and utilizes a value-oriented investment philosophy with a focus on the preservation of capital and a commitment to managing downside exposure.

Portfolio Company Characteristics

We have identified several criteria that we believe are important in identifying and investing in prospective portfolio companies. These criteria provide general guidelines for our investment decisions; however, not all of these criteria will be met by each prospective portfolio company in which we choose to invest.

Stable Earnings and Strong Free Cash Flow. We seek to invest in companies who have demonstrated stable earnings through economic cycles. We target companies that can de-lever through consistent generation of cash flows rather than relying solely on growth to service and repay our loans.

Value Orientation. Our investment philosophy places a premium on fundamental analysis from an investor’s perspective and has a distinct value orientation. We focus on companies in which we can invest at relatively low multiples of operating cash flow and that are profitable at the time of investment on an operating cash flow basis.

Value of Assets. The prospective value of the assets, if any, that collateralizes the loans in which we invest, is an important factor in our credit analysis. Our analysis emphasizes both tangible assets, such as accounts receivable, inventory, equipment and real estate, and intangible assets, such as intellectual property, customer lists, networks and databases. In some of our transactions the company’s fundings may be derived from a borrowing base determined by the value of the company’s assets.

Strong Competitive Position in Industry. We seek to invest in target companies that have developed leading market positions within their respective markets and are well positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities. We seek companies that demonstrate significant competitive advantages versus their competitors, which we believe should help to protect their market position and profitability.

 

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Diversified Customer and Supplier Base. We seek to invest in businesses that have a diversified customer and supplier base. We believe that companies with a diversified customer and supplier base are generally better able to endure economic downturns, industry consolidation, changing business preferences and other factors that may negatively impact their customers, suppliers and competitors.

Exit Strategy. We predominantly invest in companies which provide multiple alternatives for an eventual exit. We look for opportunities that provide an exit typically within three years of the initial capital commitment.

We generally seek companies that we believe will have or provide a steady stream of cash flow to repay our loans and reinvest in their respective businesses. We believe that such internally generated cash flow, leading to the payment of our interest, and the repayment of our principal, represent a key means by which we will be able to exit from our investments over time.

In addition, we also seek to invest in companies whose business models and expected future cash flows or cash positions offer attractive exit possibilities. These companies include candidates for strategic acquisition by other industry participants and companies that may repay our investments through an initial public offering of common stock or another capital market transaction. We underwrite our investments on a held-to-maturity basis, but expensive capital is often repaid prior to stated maturity.

Experienced and Committed Management. We generally require that portfolio companies have an experienced management team. We also require portfolio companies have in place proper incentives to induce management to succeed and to act in concert with our interests as investors, including having significant equity interests.

Strong Sponsorship. We generally aim to invest alongside other sophisticated investors. We typically seek to partner with successful financial sponsors who have historically generated high returns. We believe that investing in these sponsors’ portfolio companies enables us to benefit from their direct involvement and due diligence.

Solar Capital’s investment team works in concert with sponsors to proactively manage investment opportunities by acting as a partner throughout the investment process. We actively focus on the middle-market financial sponsor community, with a particular focus on the upper-end of the middle-market (sponsors with equity funds of $800 million to $3 billion). We favor such sponsors because they typically:

 

   

buy larger companies with strong business franchises;

 

   

invest significant amounts of equity in their portfolio companies;

 

   

value flexibility and creativity in structuring their transactions;

 

   

possess longer track records over multiple investment funds;

 

   

have a deeper management bench;

 

   

have better ability to withstand downturns; and

 

   

possess the ability to support portfolio companies with additional capital.

We divide our coverage of these sponsors among our more senior investment professionals, who are responsible for day-to-day interaction with financial sponsors. Our coverage approach aims to act proactively, consider all investments in the capital structure, provide quick feedback, deliver on commitments, and are constructive throughout the life cycle of an investment.

 

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Due Diligence

Our “private equity” approach to credit investing typically incorporates extensive in-depth due diligence often alongside the private equity sponsor. In conducting due diligence, we will use publicly available information as well as information from relationships with former and current management teams, consultants, competitors and investment bankers. We believe that our due diligence methodology allows us to screen a high volume of potential investment opportunities on a consistent and thorough basis.

Our due diligence typically includes:

 

   

review of historical and prospective financial information;

 

   

review and valuation of assets;

 

   

research relating to the company’s management, industry, markets, products and services and competitors;

 

   

on-site visits;

 

   

discussions with management, employees, customers or vendors of the potential portfolio company;

 

   

review of senior loan documents; and

 

   

background investigations.

We also expect to evaluate the private equity sponsor making the investment. Further, due to Solar Capital Partners’ considerable repeat business with sponsors, we have direct experience with the management teams of many sponsors. A private equity sponsor is typically the controlling stockholder upon completion of an investment and as such is considered critical to the success of the investment. The equity sponsor is evaluated along several key criteria, including:

 

   

investment track record;

 

   

industry experience;

 

   

capacity and willingness to provide additional financial support to the company through additional capital contributions, if necessary; and

 

   

reference checks.

Throughout the due diligence process, a deal team is in constant dialogue with the management team of the company in which we are considering to invest to ensure that any concerns are addressed as early as possible through the process and that unsuitable investments are filtered out before considerable time has been invested.

Upon the completion of due diligence and a decision to proceed with an investment in a company, the investment professionals leading the investment present the investment opportunity to Solar Capital Partners’ investment committee, which then determines whether to pursue the potential investment. Additional due diligence with respect to any investment may be conducted on our behalf by attorneys and independent accountants prior to the closing of the investment, as well as other outside advisers, as appropriate.

The Investment Committee

All new investments are required to be approved by a consensus of the investment committee of Solar Capital Partners, which is led by Messrs. Gross and Spohler. The members of Solar Capital Partners’ investment committee receive no compensation from us. Such members may be employees or partners of Solar Capital Partners and may receive compensation or profit distributions from Solar Capital Partners.

 

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Investment Structure

Once we determine that a prospective portfolio company is suitable for investment, we work with the management of that company and its other capital providers, including senior, junior and equity capital providers, to structure an investment. We negotiate among these parties to agree on how our investment is expected to perform relative to the other capital in the portfolio company’s capital structure.

Solar Capital seeks to create a diverse portfolio that includes senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities by investing approximately $5 million to $100 million of capital. With respect to our senior secured loans, we seek to obtain security interests in the assets of our portfolio companies that serve as collateral in support of the repayment of these loans. This collateral may take the form of first or second priority liens on the assets of a portfolio company.

We structure our unsecured loans primarily subordinated loans that provide for relatively high, fixed or floating interest rates that provide us with significant current interest income. These loans typically have interest-only payments in the early years, with amortization of principal, if any, deferred to the later years of the unsecured loans. In some cases, we may enter into loans that, by their terms, convert into equity or additional debt securities or defer payments of interest for the first few years after our investment. Also, in some cases our unsecured loans may be collateralized by a subordinated lien on some or all of the assets of the borrower.

Typically, our senior secured and unsecured loans have final maturities of five to ten years. However, we expect that our portfolio companies often may repay these loans early, generally within three to four years from the date of initial investment. In some cases and when available, we seek to structure these loans with prepayment premiums to capture foregone interest.

In the case of our senior secured and unsecured loan investments, we tailor the terms of the investment to the facts and circumstances of the transaction and the prospective portfolio company, negotiating a structure that protects our rights and manages our risk while creating incentives for the portfolio company to achieve its business plan and improve its profitability. For example, in addition to seeking a senior or fulcrum position in the capital structure of our portfolio companies, we will seek to limit the downside potential of our investments by:

 

   

requiring a total return on our investments (including both interest and potential capital appreciation) that compensates us for credit risk;

 

   

incorporating “put” rights and call protection into the investment structure; and

 

   

negotiating covenants in connection with our investments that afford our portfolio companies as much flexibility in managing their businesses as possible, consistent with preservation of our capital. Such restrictions may include affirmative and negative covenants, default penalties, lien protection, change of control provisions and board rights, including either observation or participation rights.

Our investments may include equity features, such as warrants or options to buy a minority interest in the portfolio company. Any warrants we receive with our debt securities generally require only a nominal cost to exercise, and thus, as a portfolio company appreciates in value, we may achieve additional investment return from this equity interest. We may structure the warrants to provide provisions protecting our rights as a minority interest holder, as well as puts, or rights to sell such securities back to the company, upon the occurrence of specified events. In many cases, we also obtain registration rights in connection with these equity securities, which may include demand and “piggyback” registration rights. In addition, we may from time to time make direct equity investments in portfolio companies.

We generally seek to hold most of our investments to maturity or repayment, but will sell our investments earlier, including if a liquidity event takes place such as the sale or recapitalization of a portfolio company.

 

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Ongoing Relationships with Portfolio Companies

Solar Capital Partners monitors our portfolio companies on an ongoing basis. Solar Capital Partners monitors the financial trends of each portfolio company to determine if it is meeting its business plan and to assess the appropriate course of action for each company.

Solar Capital Partners has several methods of evaluating and monitoring the performance and fair value of our investments, which include the following:

 

   

Assessment of success in adhering to each portfolio company’s business plan and compliance with covenants;

 

   

Periodic and regular contact with portfolio company management and, if appropriate, the financial or strategic sponsor, to discuss financial position, requirements and accomplishments;

 

   

Comparisons to other Solar Capital invested portfolio companies in the industry, if any;

 

   

Attendance at and participation in board meetings; and

 

   

Review of monthly and quarterly financial statements and financial projections for portfolio companies.

In addition to various risk management and monitoring tools, Solar Capital Partners also uses an investment rating system to characterize and monitor our expected level of returns on each investment in our portfolio.

We use an investment rating scale of 1 to 4. The following is a description of the conditions associated with each investment rating:

 

Investment

Rating

  

Summary Description

1    Involves the least amount of risk in our portfolio, the portfolio company is performing above expectations, and the trends and risk factors are generally favorable (including a potential exit)
2    Risk that is similar to the risk at the time of origination, the portfolio company is performing as expected, and the risk factors are neutral to favorable; all new investments are initially assessed a grade of 2
3    The portfolio company is performing below expectations, may be out of compliance with debt covenants, and requires procedures for closer monitoring
4    The investment is performing well below expectations and is not anticipated to be repaid in full

Solar Capital Partners monitors and, when appropriate, changes the investment ratings assigned to each investment in our portfolio. As of December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018 the weighted average investment rating on the fair market value of our portfolio was a 2. In connection with our valuation process, Solar Capital Partners reviews these investment ratings on a quarterly basis.

Valuation Procedures

We conduct the valuation of our assets, pursuant to which our net asset value is determined, at all times consistent with GAAP, and the 1940 Act. Our valuation procedures are set forth in more detail below:

Under procedures established by our board of directors (the “Board”), we value investments, including certain senior secured debt, subordinated debt and other debt securities with maturities greater than 60 days, for which market quotations are readily available, at such market quotations (unless they are deemed not to represent fair value). We attempt to obtain market quotations from at least two brokers or dealers (if available, otherwise from a principal market maker or a primary market dealer or other independent pricing service). We utilize mid-market pricing as a practical expedient for fair value unless a different point within the range is more

 

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representative. If and when market quotations are deemed not to represent fair value, we may utilize independent third-party valuation firms to assist us in determining the fair value of material assets. Accordingly, such investments go through our multi-step valuation process as described below. In each case, independent valuation firms consider observable market inputs together with significant unobservable inputs in arriving at their valuation recommendations. Debt investments with maturities of 60 days or less shall each be valued at cost plus accreted discount, or minus amortized premium, which is expected to approximate fair value, unless such valuation, in the judgment of the Investment Adviser, does not represent fair value, in which case such investments shall be valued at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our Board. Investments that are not publicly traded or whose market quotations are not readily available are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our Board. Such determination of fair values involves subjective judgments and estimates.

With respect to investments for which market quotations are not readily available or when such market quotations are deemed not to represent fair value, our Board has approved a multi-step valuation process each quarter, as described below:

 

  (1)

our quarterly valuation process begins with each portfolio company or investment being initially valued by the investment professionals of the Investment Adviser responsible for the portfolio investment;

 

  (2)

preliminary valuation conclusions are then documented and discussed with senior management of the Investment Adviser;

 

  (3)

independent valuation firms engaged by our Board conduct independent appraisals and review the Investment Adviser’s preliminary valuations and make their own independent assessment for all material assets;

 

  (4)

the audit committee of the Board reviews the preliminary valuation of the Investment Adviser and that of the independent valuation firm, if any, and responds to the valuation recommendation of the independent valuation firm to reflect any comments; and

 

  (5)

the Board discusses valuations and determines the fair value of each investment in our portfolio in good faith based on the input of the Investment Adviser, the respective independent valuation firm, if any, and the audit committee.

Investments in all asset classes are valued utilizing a market approach, an income approach, or both approaches, as appropriate. However, in accordance with ASC 820-10, certain investments that qualify as investment companies in accordance with ASC 946, may be valued using net asset value as a practical expedient for fair value. The market approach uses prices and other relevant information generated by market transactions involving identical or comparable assets or liabilities (including a business). The income approach uses valuation approaches to convert future amounts (for example, cash flows or earnings) to a single present amount (discounted). The measurement is based on the value indicated by current market expectations about those future amounts. In following these approaches, the types of factors that we may take into account in fair value pricing our investments include, as relevant: available current market data, including relevant and applicable market trading and transaction comparables, applicable market yields and multiples, security covenants, call protection provisions, the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments, its earnings and discounted cash flows, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, comparisons of financial ratios of peer companies that are public, M&A comparables, our principal market (as the reporting entity) and enterprise values, among other factors. When available, broker quotations and/or quotations provided by pricing services are considered as an input in the valuation process. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, there has been no change to the Company’s valuation approaches or techniques and the nature of the related inputs considered in the valuation process.

 

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Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 820 classifies the inputs used to measure these fair values into the following hierarchy:

Level 1: Quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities, accessible by the Company at the measurement date.

Level 2: Quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets, or quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active, or other observable inputs other than quoted prices.

Level 3: Unobservable inputs for the asset or liability.

In all cases, the level in the fair value hierarchy within which the fair value measurement in its entirety falls is determined based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. Our assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment and considers factors specific to each investment. The exercise of judgment is based in part on our knowledge of the asset class and our prior experience.

Determination of fair value involves subjective judgments and estimates. Accordingly, the notes to our consolidated financial statements express the uncertainty with respect to the possible effect of such valuations, and any change in such valuations, on our consolidated financial statements.

Competition

Our primary competitors provide financing to middle-market companies and include other business development companies, commercial and investment banks, commercial financing companies and, to the extent they provide an alternative form of financing, private equity funds. Additionally, alternative investment vehicles, such as hedge funds, frequently invest in middle-market companies. As a result, competition for investment opportunities at middle-market companies can be intense. While many middle-market companies were previously able to raise senior debt financing through traditional large financial institutions, we believe this approach to financing will become more difficult as implementation of U.S. and international financial reforms limits the capacity of large financial institutions to hold non-investment grade leveraged loans on their balance sheets. We believe that many of these financial institutions have de-emphasized their service and product offerings to middle-market companies in particular.

Many of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more relationships than us. Furthermore, many of our competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a BDC. We use the industry information available to Messrs. Gross and Spohler and the other investment professionals of Solar Capital Partners to assess investment risks and determine appropriate pricing for our investments in portfolio companies. In addition, we believe that the relationships of Messrs. Gross and Spohler and the other investment professionals of our investment adviser enable us to learn about, and compete effectively for, financing opportunities with attractive leveraged companies in the industries in which we seek to invest.

Staffing

We do not currently have any employees. Mr. Gross, our Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer and President, and Mr. Spohler, our Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer and board member, are managing members and senior investment professionals of, and have financial and controlling interests in, Solar Capital Partners. In addition, Mr. Peteka, our Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary serves as the Chief

 

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Financial Officer for Solar Capital Partners. Guy Talarico, our Chief Compliance Officer, is the Chief Executive Officer of Alaric Compliance Services, LLC, and performs his functions as our Chief Compliance Officer under the terms of an agreement between Solar Capital Management and Alaric Compliance Services, LLC. Solar Capital Management has retained Mr. Talarico and Alaric Compliance Services, LLC pursuant to its obligations under our Administration Agreement.

Our day-to-day investment operations are managed by Solar Capital Partners. Based upon its needs, Solar Capital Partners may hire additional investment professionals. In addition, we will reimburse Solar Capital Management for the allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by it in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent, and the allocable portion of the cost of the company’s chief compliance officer and chief financial officer and their respective staffs.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 imposes a wide variety of new regulatory requirements on publicly-held companies and their insiders. Many of these requirements affect us. For example:

 

   

pursuant to Rule 13a-14 of the Securites Exchange Act of 1934 (the “1934 Act”), our co-chief executive officers and chief financial officer must certify the accuracy of the financial statements contained in our periodic reports;

 

   

pursuant to Item 307 of Regulation S-K, our periodic reports must disclose our conclusions about the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures;

 

   

pursuant to Rule 13a-15 of the 1934 Act, our management is required to prepare an annual report regarding its assessment of our internal control over financial reporting and to obtain an audit of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting performed by our independent registered public accounting firm; and

 

   

pursuant to Item 308 of Regulation S-K and Rule 13a-15 of the 1934 Act, our periodic reports must disclose whether there were significant changes in our internal controls over financial reporting or in other factors that could significantly affect these controls subsequent to the date of their evaluation, including any corrective actions with regard to significant deficiencies and material weaknesses.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires us to review our current policies and procedures to determine whether we comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the regulations promulgated thereunder. We will continue to monitor our compliance with all regulations that are adopted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and will take actions necessary to ensure that we are in compliance therewith.

Business Development Company Regulations

A BDC is regulated by the 1940 Act. A BDC must be organized in the United States for the purpose of investing in or lending to primarily private companies and making significant managerial assistance available to them. A BDC may use capital provided by public stockholders and from other sources to make long-term, private investments in businesses. A BDC provides stockholders the ability to retain the liquidity of a publicly-traded stock while sharing in the possible benefits, if any, of investing in primarily privately owned companies.

We may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as, a BDC unless authorized by vote of a majority of our outstanding voting securities, as required by the 1940 Act. A majority of the outstanding voting securities of a company is defined under the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (a) 67% or more of such company’s voting securities present at a meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of such company are present or represented by proxy, or (b) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of such company. We do not anticipate any substantial change in the nature of our business.

 

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As with other companies regulated by the 1940 Act, a BDC must adhere to certain substantive regulatory requirements. A majority of our directors must be persons who are not interested persons, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act. Additionally, we are required to provide and maintain a bond issued by a reputable fidelity insurance company to protect the BDC. Furthermore, as a BDC, we are prohibited from protecting any director or officer against any liability to us or our stockholders arising from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such person’s office.

As a BDC, we are required to meet an asset coverage ratio, reflecting the value of our total assets to our total senior securities, which include all of our borrowings and any preferred stock we may issue in the future, of at least 150%. We may also be prohibited under the 1940 Act from knowingly participating in certain transactions with our affiliates without the prior approval of our directors who are not interested persons and, in some cases, prior approval by the SEC.

We are generally not able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share without annual stockholder approval. We may, however, sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the then-current net asset value of our common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders, and our stockholders approve such sale. At our Annual Meeting of Stockholders on October 8, 2019, our stockholders approved a proposal authorizing us to sell up to 25% of our common stock at a price below our then-current asset value per share, subject to the approval by our board of directors for the offering. This authorization expires on the earlier of October 8, 2020 and the date of our 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. In addition, we may generally issue new shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value in rights offerings to existing stockholders, in payment of dividends and in certain other limited circumstances.

As a BDC, we were substantially limited in our ability to co-invest in privately negotiated transactions with affiliated funds until we obtained an exemptive order from the SEC on July 28, 2014 (the “Prior Exemptive Order”). The Prior Exemptive Order permitted us to participate in negotiated co-investment transactions with certain affiliates, each of whose investment adviser was Solar Capital Partners, in a manner consistent with our investment objective, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions as well as regulatory requirements and other pertinent factors, and pursuant to the conditions to the Prior Exemptive Order. On June 13, 2017, the Company, Solar Senior Capital Ltd., and Solar Capital Partners, et al., received an exemptive order that supersedes the Prior Exemptive Order (the “New Exemptive Order”) and extends the relief granted in the Prior Exemptive Order such that it no longer applies to certain affiliates only if their respective investment adviser is Solar Capital Partners, but also applies to certain affiliates whose investment adviser is an investment adviser that controls, is controlled by or is under common control with Solar Capital Partners and is registered as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act. The terms and conditions of the New Exemptive Order are otherwise substantially similar to the Prior Exemptive Order. If we are unable to rely on the New Exemptive Order for a particular opportunity, such opportunity will be allocated first to the entity whose investment strategy is the most consistent with the opportunity being allocated, and second, if the terms of the opportunity are consistent with more than one entity’s investment strategy, on an alternating basis. Although our investment professionals will endeavor to allocate investment opportunities in a fair and equitable manner, we and our common stockholders could be adversely affected to the extent investment opportunities are allocated among us and other investment vehicles managed or sponsored by, or affiliated with, our executive officers, directors and members of our investment adviser.

We will be periodically examined by the SEC for compliance with the federal securities laws, including the 1940 Act.

 

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Qualifying Assets

Under the 1940 Act, a BDC may not acquire any asset other than assets of the type listed in Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act, which are referred to as qualifying assets, unless, at the time the acquisition is made, qualifying assets represent at least 70% of the BDC’s total assets. The principal categories of qualifying assets relevant to our business are the following:

(1) Securities purchased in transactions not involving any public offering from the issuer of such securities, which issuer (subject to certain limited exceptions) is an eligible portfolio company, or from any person who is, or has been during the preceding 13 months, an affiliated person of an eligible portfolio company, or from any other person, subject to such rules as may be prescribed by the SEC. An eligible portfolio company is defined in the 1940 Act as any issuer which:

(a) is organized under the laws of, and has its principal place of business in, the United States;

(b) is not an investment company (other than a small business investment company wholly owned by the BDC); and

(c) satisfies any of the following:

i. does not have any class of securities that is traded on a national securities exchange;

ii. has a class of securities listed on a national securities exchange, but has an aggregate market value of outstanding voting and non-voting common equity of less than $250 million;

iii. is controlled by a BDC or a group of companies including a BDC and the BDC has an affiliated person who is a director of the eligible portfolio company; or

iv. is a small and solvent company having total assets of not more than $4.0 million and capital and surplus of not less than $2.0 million.

(2) Securities of any eligible portfolio company which we control, which, as defined by the 1940 Act, is presumed to exist where a BDC beneficially owns more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of the portfolio company.

(3) Securities purchased in a private transaction from a U.S. issuer that is not an investment company or from an affiliated person of the issuer, or in transactions incident thereto, if the issuer is in bankruptcy and subject to reorganization or if the issuer, immediately prior to the purchase of its securities, was unable to meet its obligations as they came due without material assistance other than conventional lending or financing arrangements.

(4) Securities of an eligible portfolio company purchased from any person in a private transaction if there is no ready market for such securities and we already own 60% of the outstanding equity of the eligible portfolio company.

(5) Securities received in exchange for or distributed on or with respect to securities described in (1) through (4) above, or pursuant to the exercise of warrants or rights relating to such securities.

(6) Cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment.

(7) Office furniture and equipment, interests in real estate and leasehold improvements and facilities maintained to conduct the business operations of the BDC, deferred organization and operating expenses, and other noninvestment assets necessary and appropriate to its operations as a BDC, including notes of indebtedness of directors, officers, employees, and general partners held by a BDC as payment for securities of such company issued in connection with an executive compensation plan described in Section 57(j) of the 1940 Act.

 

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Under Section 55(b) of the 1940 Act, the value of a BDC’s assets shall be determined as of the date of the most recent financial statements filed by such company with the SEC pursuant to Section 13 of the 1934 Act, and shall be determined no less frequently than annually.

Significant Managerial Assistance to Portfolio Companies

As a BDC, we offer, and must provide upon request, significant managerial assistance to our portfolio companies. This assistance could involve, among other things, monitoring the operations of our portfolio companies, participating in board and management meetings, consulting with and advising officers of portfolio companies and providing other organizational and financial guidance. We may also receive fees for these services. Solar Capital Management provides such managerial assistance, if any, on our behalf to portfolio companies that request this assistance.

Temporary Investments

Pending investment in other types of “qualifying assets,” as described above, our investments may consist of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or high-quality investment grade debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment, which we refer to, collectively, as temporary investments, so that 70% of our assets are qualifying assets. Typically, we will invest in U.S. Treasury bills or in repurchase agreements, provided that such repurchase agreements are fully collateralized by cash or securities issued by the U.S. government or its agencies. A repurchase agreement involves the purchase by an investor, such as us, of a specified security and the simultaneous agreement by the seller to repurchase it at an agreed-upon future date and at a price which is greater than the purchase price by an amount that reflects an agreed-upon interest rate. There is no percentage restriction on the proportion of our assets that may be invested in such repurchase agreements. However, if more than 25% of our total assets constitute repurchase agreements from a single counterparty, we would not meet the diversification tests in order to qualify as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Thus, we do not intend to enter into repurchase agreements with a single counterparty in excess of this limit. Our investment adviser will monitor the creditworthiness of the counterparties with which we enter into repurchase agreement transactions.

Senior Securities

We are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of stock senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 150% immediately after each such issuance. In addition, while certain senior securities remain outstanding, we may be required to make provisions to prohibit any distribution to our stockholders or the repurchase of such securities or shares unless we meet the applicable asset coverage ratios at the time of the distribution or repurchase. We may also borrow amounts up to 5% of the value of our total assets for temporary or emergency purposes without regard to asset coverage. We may borrow money, which would magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing in us.

Code of Ethics

We and Solar Capital Partners have each adopted a code of ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act and Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act, respectively, that establishes procedures for personal investments and restricts certain transactions by our personnel. Our codes of ethics generally do not permit investments by our employees in securities that may be purchased or held by us. Each code of ethics is available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov. You may also obtain copies of the codes of ethics, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following Email address: publicinfo@sec.gov.

 

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Compliance Policies and Procedures

We and our investment adviser have adopted and implemented written policies and procedures reasonably designed to detect and prevent violation of the federal securities laws. We are required to review these compliance policies and procedures annually for their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation and to designate a chief compliance officer to be responsible for their administration. Guy Talarico currently serves as our Chief Compliance Officer.

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

We have delegated our proxy voting responsibility to our investment adviser. A summary of the Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures of our adviser are set forth below. The guidelines are reviewed periodically by the adviser and our non-interested directors, and, accordingly, are subject to change.

As an investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act, Solar Capital Partners has a fiduciary duty to act solely in the best interests of its clients. As part of this duty, it recognizes that it must vote securities held by its clients in a timely manner free of conflicts of interest. These policies and procedures for voting proxies for investment advisory clients are intended to comply with Section 206 of, and Rule 206(4)-6 under, the Advisers Act.

Our investment adviser votes proxies relating to our portfolio securities in the best interest of our stockholders. Solar Capital Partners reviews on a case-by-case basis each proposal submitted for a proxy vote to determine its impact on our investments. Although it generally votes against proposals that may have a negative impact on our investments, it may vote for such a proposal if there exists compelling long-term reasons to do so. The proxy voting decisions of our investment adviser are made by the senior investment professionals who are responsible for monitoring each of our investments. To ensure that our vote is not the product of a conflict of interest, it requires that: (i) anyone involved in the decision making process disclose to a managing member of Solar Capital Partners any potential conflict that he or she is aware of and any contact that he or she has had with any interested party regarding a proxy vote; and (ii) employees involved in the decision making process or vote administration are prohibited from revealing how we intend to vote on a proposal in order to reduce any attempted influence from interested parties.

You may obtain information about how we voted proxies by making a written request for proxy voting information to: Solar Capital Partners, LLC, 500 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022.

Privacy Principles

We are committed to maintaining the privacy of our stockholders and to safeguarding their non-public personal information. The following information is provided to help you understand what personal information we collect, how we protect that information and why, in certain cases, we may share information with select other parties.

Generally, we do not receive any non-public personal information relating to our stockholders, although certain non-public personal information of our stockholders may become available to us. We do not disclose any non-public personal information about our stockholders or former stockholders to anyone, except as permitted by law or as is necessary in order to service stockholder accounts (for example, to a transfer agent or third party administrator).

We restrict access to non-public personal information about our stockholders to employees of our investment adviser and its affiliates with a legitimate business need for the information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards designed to protect the non-public personal information of our stockholders.

Taxation as a Regulated Investment Company

As a BDC, we elected to be treated, and intend to qualify annually, as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. As a RIC, we generally will not have to pay corporate-level U.S. federal income taxes on any ordinary

 

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income or capital gains that we distribute to our stockholders as dividends. To continue to qualify as a RIC, we must, among other things, meet certain source-of-income and asset diversification requirements (as described below). In addition, to qualify for RIC tax treatment we must distribute to our stockholders, for each taxable year, at least 90% of our “investment company taxable income,” which generally is our ordinary income plus the excess of our realized net short-term capital gains over our realized net long-term capital losses (the “Annual Distribution Requirement”). If we qualify as a RIC and satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, then we will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of our investment company taxable income and net capital gain (i.e., realized net long-term capital gains in excess of realized net short-term capital losses) we distribute (or are deemed to distribute) to stockholders. We will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the regular corporate rates on any income or capital gain not distributed (or deemed not distributed) to our stockholders.

We will be subject to a 4% nondeductible U.S. federal excise tax on certain undistributed income unless we distribute in a timely manner an amount at least equal to the sum of (1) 98% of our ordinary income for each calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gain net income for the one-year period ending October 31 in that calendar year and (3) any income realized, but not distributed, and on which we paid no U.S. federal income tax, in preceding years (the “Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement”).

In order to qualify as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must, among other things:

 

   

at all times during each taxable year, have in effect an election to be treated as a BDC under the 1940 Act;

 

   

derive in each taxable year at least 90% of our gross income from (a) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale of stock or other securities or currencies, or other income derived with respect to our business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies and (b) net income derived from an interest in a “qualified publicly traded partnership;” and

 

   

diversify our holdings so that at the end of each quarter of the taxable year:

 

   

at least 50% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs, and other securities if such other securities of any one issuer do not represent more than 5% of the value of our assets or more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer; and

 

   

no more than 25% of the value of our assets is invested in (i) the securities, other than U.S. government securities or securities of other RICs, of one issuer, (ii) the securities of two or more issuers that are controlled, as determined under applicable tax rules, by us and that are engaged in the same or similar or related trades or businesses or (iii) the securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships.”

We may be required to recognize taxable income in circumstances in which we do not receive cash. For example, if we hold debt obligations that are treated under applicable tax rules as having original issue discount (such as debt instruments with payment-in-kind (“PIK”) interest or, in certain cases, increasing interest rates or debt instruments issued with warrants), we must include in income each year a portion of the original issue discount that accrues over the life of the obligation, regardless of whether cash representing such income is received by us in the same taxable year. Because any original issue discount accrued will be included in our investment company taxable income for the year of accrual, we may be required to make a distribution to our stockholders in order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, even though we will not have received any corresponding cash amount.

Because we may use debt financing, we will be subject to certain asset coverage ratio requirements under the 1940 Act and financial covenants under loan and credit agreements that could, under certain circumstances, restrict us from making distributions necessary to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources or are otherwise limited in our ability to make distributions, we could fail to qualify for RIC tax treatment and thus become subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax.

 

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Certain of our investment practices may be subject to special and complex U.S. federal income tax provisions that may, among other things: (i) disallow, suspend or otherwise limit the allowance of certain losses or deductions; (ii) convert lower taxed long-term capital gain into higher taxed short-term capital gain or ordinary income; (iii) convert an ordinary loss or a deduction into a capital loss (the deductibility of which is more limited); (iv) cause us to recognize income or gain without a corresponding receipt of cash; (v) adversely affect the time as to when a purchase or sale of securities is deemed to occur; (vi) adversely alter the characterization of certain complex financial transactions; and (vii) produce income that will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 90% gross income test described above. We will monitor our transactions and may make certain tax elections in order to mitigate the potential adverse effect of these provisions.

Gain or loss realized by us from the sale or exchange of warrants acquired by us as well as any loss attributable to the lapse of such warrants generally will be treated as capital gain or loss. The treatment of such gain or loss as long-term or short-term will depend on how long we held a particular warrant. Upon the exercise of a warrant acquired by us, our tax basis in the stock purchased under the warrant will equal the sum of the amount paid for the warrant plus the strike price paid on the exercise of the warrant.

Failure to Qualify as a Regulated Investment Company

If we were unable to qualify for treatment as a RIC, we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax on all of our taxable income at regular corporate rates. We would not be able to deduct distributions to stockholders, nor would they be required to be made. Such distributions would be taxable to our stockholders as dividends and, provided certain holding period and other requirements were met, could qualify for treatment as “qualified dividend income” in the hands of non-corporate stockholders (and thus eligible for the current 20% maximum rate) to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. Subject to certain limitations under the Code, corporate distributees would be eligible for the dividends received deduction. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s tax basis, and any remaining distributions would be treated as a capital gain. To requalify as a RIC in a subsequent taxable year, we would be required to satisfy the RIC qualification requirements for that year and dispose of any earnings and profits from any year in which we failed to qualify as a RIC. Subject to a limited exception applicable to RICs that qualified as such under Subchapter M of the Code for at least one year prior to disqualification and that requalify as a RIC no later than the second year following the non-qualifying year, we could be subject to tax on any unrealized net built-in gains in the assets held by us during the period in which we failed to qualify as a RIC that are recognized within the subsequent 5 years, unless we made a special election to pay corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on such built-in gain at the time of our requalification as a RIC.

Investment Advisory Fees

Pursuant to an investment advisory and management agreement (the “Advisory Agreement”), we have agreed to pay Solar Capital Partners a fee for investment advisory and management services consisting of two components — a base management fee and a performance-based incentive fee.

The base management fee is determined by taking the average value of Solar Capital’s gross assets at the end of the two most recently completed calendar quarters calculated at an annual rate of 1.75% on gross assets up to 200% of the Company’s total net assets as of the immediately preceding quarter end and 1.00% on gross assets that exceed 200% of the Company’s total net assets as of the immediately preceding quarter end. For purposes of computing the base management fee, gross assets exclude temporary assets acquired at the end of each fiscal quarter for purposes of preserving investment flexibility in the next fiscal quarter. Temporary assets include, but are not limited to, U.S. treasury bills, other short-term U.S. government or government agency securities, repurchase agreements or cash borrowings.

The performance-based incentive fee has two parts, as follows: one is calculated and payable quarterly in arrears based on our pre-incentive fee net investment income for the immediately preceding calendar quarter. For this purpose, pre-incentive fee net investment income means interest income, dividend income and any other income (including any other fees (other than fees for providing managerial assistance), such as commitment, origination, structuring, diligence

 

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and consulting fees or other fees that we receive from portfolio companies) accrued during the calendar quarter, minus our operating expenses for the quarter (including the base management fee, expenses payable under the Administration Agreement to Solar Capital Management, and any interest expense and dividend paid on any issued and outstanding preferred stock, but excluding the performance-based incentive fee). Pre-incentive fee net investment income includes, in the case of investments with a deferred interest feature (such as original issue discount, debt instruments with pay in kind interest and zero coupon securities), accrued income that we have not yet received in cash. Pre-incentive fee net investment income does not include any realized capital gains, computed net of all realized capital losses or unrealized capital appreciation or depreciation. Pre-incentive fee net investment income, expressed as a rate of return on the value of our net assets at the end of the immediately preceding calendar quarter, is compared to a hurdle of 1.75% per quarter (7.00% annualized). Our net investment income used to calculate this part of the incentive fee is also included in the amount of our gross assets used to calculate the 1.75% base management fee. We pay Solar Capital Partners an incentive fee with respect to our pre-incentive fee net investment income in each calendar quarter as follows:

 

   

no performance-based incentive fee in any calendar quarter in which our pre-incentive fee net investment income does not exceed the hurdle of 1.75%;

 

   

100% of our pre-incentive fee net investment income with respect to that portion of such pre-incentive fee net investment income, if any, that exceeds the hurdle but is less than 2.1875% in any calendar quarter (8.75% annualized). We refer to this portion of our pre-incentive fee net investment income (which exceeds the hurdle but is less than 2.1875%) as the “catch-up.” The “catch-up” is meant to provide our investment adviser with 20% of our pre-incentive fee net investment income as if a hurdle did not apply if this net investment income exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter; and

 

   

20% of the amount of our pre-incentive fee net investment income, if any, that exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter (8.75% annualized) is payable to Solar Capital Partners (once the hurdle is reached and the catch-up is achieved, 20% of all pre-incentive fee investment income thereafter is allocated to Solar Capital Partners).

The following is a graphical representation of the calculation of the income-related portion of the performance-based incentive fee:

Quarterly Incentive Fee Based on Net Investment Income

Pre-incentive fee net investment income

(expressed as a percentage of the value of net assets)

 

LOGO

Percentage of pre-incentive fee net investment income

allocated to Solar Capital Partners

These calculations are appropriately pro-rated for any period of less than three months. You should be aware that a rise in the general level of interest rates can be expected to lead to higher interest rates applicable to our debt investments. Accordingly, an increase in interest rates would make it easier for us to meet or exceed the incentive fee hurdle rate and may result in a substantial increase of the amount of incentive fees payable to our investment adviser with respect to pre-incentive fee net investment income.

The second part of the incentive fee is determined and payable in arrears as of the end of each calendar year (or upon termination of the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement, as of the termination date), and equals 20% of our realized capital gains, if any, on a cumulative basis from inception through the end of each calendar year, computed net of all realized capital losses and unrealized capital depreciation on a cumulative basis, less the aggregate amount of any previously paid capital gain incentive fees with respect to each of the investments in our portfolio.

 

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Examples of Quarterly Incentive Fee Calculation

Example 1: Income Related Portion of Incentive Fee (*):

Alternative 1:

Assumptions

Investment income (including interest, dividends, fees, etc.) = 1.25%

Hurdle rate(1) = 1.75%

Management fee(2) = 0.4375%

Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.)(3) = 0.20%

Pre-incentive fee net investment income

(investment income – (management fee + other expenses)) = 0.6125%

Pre-incentive net investment income does not exceed hurdle rate, therefore there is no incentive fee.

Alternative 2:

Assumptions

Investment income (including interest, dividends, fees, etc.) = 2.70%

Hurdle rate(1) = 1.75%

Management fee(2) = 0.4375%

Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.)(3) = 0.20%

Pre-incentive fee net investment income

(investment income – (management fee + other expenses)) = 2.0625%

Incentive fee = 100% × pre-incentive fee net investment income, subject to the “catch-up”(4)

= 100% × (2.0625% – 1.75%)

= 0.3125%

Alternative 3:

Assumptions

Investment income (including interest, dividends, fees, etc.) = 3.00%

Hurdle rate(1) = 1.75%

Management fee(2) = 0.4375%

Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.)(3) = 0.20%

Pre-incentive fee net investment income

(investment income – (management fee + other expenses)) = 2.3625%

Incentive fee = 20% × pre-incentive fee net investment income, subject to “catch-up”(4)

Incentive fee = 100% × “catch-up” + (20% × (pre-incentive fee net investment income – 2.1875%))

Catch-up = 2.1875% – 1.75%

= 0.4375%

Incentive fee = (100% × 0.4375%) + (20% × (2.3625% – 2.1875%))

= 0.4375% + (20% × 0.175%)

= 0.4375% + 0.035%

= 0.4725%

 

(*)

The hypothetical amount of pre-incentive fee net investment income shown is based on a percentage of total net assets.

(1) 

Represents 7% annualized hurdle rate.

(2)

Represents 1.75% annualized management fee.

(3) 

Excludes organizational and offering expenses.

(4) 

The “catch-up” provision is intended to provide our investment adviser with an incentive fee of 20% on all of our pre-incentive fee net investment income as if a hurdle rate did not apply when our net investment income exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter.

 

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Example 2: Capital Gains Portion of Incentive Fee:

Alternative 1:

Assumptions

 

   

Year 1: $20 million investment made in Company A (“Investment A”), and $30 million investment made in Company B (“Investment B”)

 

   

Year 2: Investment A sold for $50 million and fair market value (“FMV”) of Investment B determined to be $32 million

 

   

Year 3: FMV of Investment B determined to be $25 million

 

   

Year 4: Investment B sold for $31 million

The capital gains portion of the incentive fee would be:

 

   

Year 1: None

 

   

Year 2: Capital gains incentive fee of $6 million ($30 million realized capital gains on sale of Investment A multiplied by 20%)

 

   

Year 3: None

$5 million (20% multiplied by ($30 million cumulative capital gains less $5 million cumulative capital depreciation)) less $6 million (previous capital gains fee paid in Year 2)

 

   

Year 4: Capital gains incentive fee of $200,000

$6.2 million ($31 million cumulative realized capital gains multiplied by 20%) less $6 million (capital gains fee taken in Year 2)

Alternative 2:

Assumptions

 

   

Year 1: $20 million investment made in Company A (“Investment A”), $30 million investment made in Company B (“Investment B”) and $25 million investment made in Company C (“Investment C”)

 

   

Year 2: Investment A sold for $50 million, FMV of Investment B determined to be $25 million and FMV of Investment C determined to be $25 million

 

   

Year 3: FMV of Investment B determined to be $27 million and Investment C sold for $30 million

 

   

Year 4: FMV of Investment B determined to be $24 million

 

   

Year 5: Investment B sold for $20 million

The capital gains incentive fee, if any, would be:

 

   

Year 1: None

 

   

Year 2: $5 million capital gains incentive fee

20% multiplied by $25 million ($30 million realized capital gains on Investment A less unrealized capital depreciation on Investment B)

 

   

Year 3: $1.4 million capital gains incentive fee(1)

$6.4 million (20% multiplied by $32 million ($35 million cumulative realized capital gains less $3 million unrealized capital depreciation)) less $5 million capital gains fee received in Year 2

 

   

Year 4: None

 

   

Year 5: None

 

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$5 million (20% multiplied by $25 million (cumulative realized capital gains of $35 million less realized capital losses of $10 million)) less $6.4 million cumulative capital gains fee paid in Year 2 and Year 3

 

(1) 

As illustrated in Year 3 of Alternative 2 above, if Solar Capital were to be wound up on a date other than December 31 of any year, Solar Capital may have paid aggregate capital gain incentive fees that are more than the amount of such fees that would be payable if Solar Capital had been wound up on December 31 of such year.

Payment of Our Expenses

All investment professionals of the investment adviser and their respective staffs, when and to the extent engaged in providing investment advisory and management services, and the compensation and routine overhead expenses of such personnel allocable to such services, are provided and paid for by Solar Capital Partners. We bear all other costs and expenses of our operations and transactions, including (without limitation):

 

   

the cost of our organization and public offerings;

 

   

the cost of calculating our net asset value, including the cost of any third-party valuation services;

 

   

the cost of effecting sales and repurchases of our shares and other securities;

 

   

interest payable on debt, if any, to finance our investments;

 

   

fees payable to third parties relating to, or associated with, making investments, including fees and expenses associated with performing due diligence reviews of prospective investments and advisory fees;

 

   

transfer agent and custodial fees;

 

   

fees and expenses associated with marketing efforts;

 

   

federal and state registration fees, any stock exchange listing fees;

 

   

federal, state and local taxes;

 

   

independent directors’ fees and expenses;

 

   

brokerage commissions;

 

   

fidelity bond, directors and officers errors and omissions liability insurance and other insurance premiums;

 

   

direct costs and expenses of administration, including printing, mailing, long distance telephone and staff;

 

   

fees and expenses associated with independent audits and outside legal costs;

 

   

costs associated with our reporting and compliance obligations under the 1940 Act and applicable federal and state securities laws; and

 

   

all other expenses incurred by either Solar Capital Management or us in connection with administering our business, including payments under the Administration Agreement that will be based upon our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by Solar Capital Management in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent, the fees and expenses associated with performing compliance functions, and our allocable portion of the costs of compensation and related expenses of our chief compliance officer and our chief financial officer and their respective staffs.

 

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Available Information

The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that site is (http://www.sec.gov).

Our internet address is www.solarcapltd.com. We make available free of charge on our website our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this annual report on Form 10-K, and you should not consider information contained on our website to be part of this annual report on Form 10-K.

 

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Item 1A.

Risk Factors

Before you invest in our securities, you should be aware of various risks, including those described below. You should carefully consider these risk factors, together with all of the other information included in this annual report on Form 10-K before you decide whether to make an investment in our securities. The risks described in this document and set out below are not the only risks we face. If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, our net asset value and the trading price of our common stock could decline or the value of our preferred stock, debt securities, subscription rights or warrants may decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Investments

We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.

A number of entities compete with us to make the types of investments that we target in leveraged companies. We compete with other BDCs, public and private funds, commercial and investment banks, commercial financing companies and, to the extent they provide an alternative form of financing, private equity funds. Many of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments than we have, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more relationships and offer better pricing and a more flexible structure than we are able to do. Furthermore, many of our potential competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a BDC. If we are unable to source attractive investments, we may hold a greater percentage of our assets in cash and cash equivalents than anticipated, which could impact potential returns on our portfolio. We cannot assure you that the competitive pressures we face will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Also, as a result of this competition, we may not be able to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities from time to time, and we can offer no assurance that we will be able to identify and make investments that are consistent with our investment objective.

Participants in our industry compete on several factors, including price, flexibility in transaction structure, customer service, reputation, market knowledge and speed in decision-making. We do not seek to compete primarily based on the interest rates we will offer, and we believe that some of our competitors may make loans with interest rates that will be comparable to or lower than the rates we offer. We may lose investment opportunities if we do not match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. However, if we match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit loss.

Our investments are very risky and highly speculative.

We invest primarily in leveraged middle-market companies in the form of senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans, financing leases and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities.

Senior Secured Loans. When we make a senior secured term loan investment, including stretch-senior loan investments, in a portfolio company, we generally take a security interest in the available assets of the portfolio company, including the equity interests of its subsidiaries, which we expect to help mitigate the risk that we will not be repaid. However, there is a risk that the collateral securing our loans may decrease in value over time, may be difficult to sell in a timely manner, may be difficult to appraise and may fluctuate in value based upon the success of the business and market conditions, including as a result of the inability of the portfolio company to raise additional capital, and, in some circumstances, our lien could be subordinated to claims of other creditors. In addition, deterioration in a portfolio company’s financial condition and prospects, including its inability to raise additional capital, may be accompanied by deterioration in the value of the collateral for the loan. Consequently, the fact that a loan is secured does not guarantee that we will receive principal and interest payments according to the loan’s terms, or at all, or that we will be able to collect on the loan should we be forced to enforce our remedies.

 

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Unsecured Loans and Preferred Securities. Our unsecured and preferred investments are generally subordinated to senior loans and are generally unsecured. As such, other creditors may rank senior to us in the event of an insolvency. This may result in an above average amount of risk and loss of principal.

Equity Investments. When we invest in senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans, unitranche loans, unsecured loans or preferred securities, we may acquire common equity securities as well. In certain other unique circumstances we may also make equity investments in businesses that make senior loans and/or leases, such as our investments in Crystal Financial LLC and NEF Holdings LLC (“NEF Holdings”, or “NEF”). In addition, we may invest directly in the equity securities of portfolio companies without limitation as to market capitalization. For instance, we may invest in thinly traded companies, the prices of which may be subject to erratic market movement. Our goal is ultimately to exit such equity interests and realize gains upon our disposition of such interests. However, the equity interests we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our equity interests, and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of any equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses we experience.

In addition, investing in middle-market companies involves a number of significant risks, including:

 

   

these companies may have limited financial resources and may be unable to meet their obligations under their debt securities that we hold, which may be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of any collateral and a reduction in the likelihood of us realizing any guarantees we may have obtained in connection with our investment;

 

   

they typically have shorter operating histories, narrower product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns;

 

   

they are more likely to depend on the management talents and efforts of a small group of persons; therefore, the death, disability, resignation or termination of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on our portfolio company and, in turn, on us;

 

   

they generally have less predictable operating results, may from time to time be parties to litigation, may be engaged in rapidly changing businesses with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, and may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position. In addition, our executive officers, directors and our investment adviser may, in the ordinary course of business, be named as defendants in litigation arising from our investments in the portfolio companies; and

 

   

they may have difficulty accessing the capital markets to meet future capital needs, which may limit their ability to grow or to repay their outstanding indebtedness upon maturity.

The lack of liquidity in our investments may make it difficult for us to dispose of our investments at a favorable price, which may adversely affect our ability to meet our investment objectives.

We generally make investments in private companies. We invest and expect to continue investing in companies whose securities have no established trading market and whose securities are and will be subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or whose securities are and will be less liquid than are publicly-traded securities. Investments purchased by us that are liquid at the time of purchase may subsequently become illiquid due to events relating to the issuer of the investments, market events, economic conditions or investor perceptions. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if the need arises. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we have previously recorded our investments. As a result, we do not expect to achieve liquidity in our investments in the near-term. However, to maintain our qualification as a BDC and as a RIC, we may have to dispose of investments if we do not satisfy one or more of the applicable criteria under the respective regulatory frameworks. Domestic and foreign markets are complex and interrelated, so that

 

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events in one sector of the world markets or economy, or in one geographical region, can reverberate and have materially negative consequences for other markets, economic or regional sectors in a manner that may not be foreseen and which may negatively impact the liquidity of our investments and materially harm our business. In addition, we may face other restrictions on our ability to liquidate an investment in a portfolio company to the extent that we have material non-public information regarding such portfolio company.

Our portfolio may be concentrated in a limited number of portfolio companies and industries, which will subject us to a risk of significant loss if any of these companies performs poorly or defaults on its obligations under any of its debt instruments or if there is a downturn in a particular industry.

Our portfolio may be concentrated in a limited number of portfolio companies and industries. For example, as of December 31, 2019, our investments in Crystal Financial LLC and NEF Holdings comprised 15.2% and 7.4%, respectively, of our total assets and our investments in diversified financial services and multi-sector holdings industries comprised 15.4% and 13.3%, respectively, of our total assets. Beyond the asset diversification requirements associated with our qualification as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification, and while we are not targeting any specific industries, our investments may be concentrated in relatively few industries or portfolio companies. As a result, the aggregate returns we realize may be significantly adversely affected if a small number of investments perform poorly or if we need to write down the value of any one investment. Additionally, a downturn in any particular industry in which we are invested could also significantly impact the aggregate returns we realize.

Our investments in securities rated below investment grade are speculative in nature and are subject to additional risk factors such as increased possibility of default, illiquidity of the security, and changes in value based on changes in interest rates.

The securities that we invest in are typically rated below investment grade. Securities rated below investment grade are speculative and are often referred to as “leveraged loans,” “high yield” or “junk” securities, and may be considered “high risk” compared to debt instruments that are rated investment grade. High yield securities are regarded as having predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligations and involve major risk exposure to adverse conditions. In addition, high yield securities generally offer a higher current yield than that available from higher grade issues, but typically involve greater risk. These securities are especially sensitive to adverse changes in general economic conditions, to changes in the financial condition of their issuers and to price fluctuation in response to changes in interest rates. During periods of economic downturn or rising interest rates, issuers of below investment grade instruments may experience financial stress that could adversely affect their ability to make payments of principal and interest and increase the possibility of default. The secondary market for high yield securities may not be as liquid as the secondary market for more highly rated securities. In addition, many of our debt investments will not fully amortize during their lifetime, which means that a borrower may be unable to payoff its debt due to bankruptcy or other reasons and therefore we may write-off such debt investment prior to its scheduled maturity. Upon such an occurrence, we may realize a loss or a substantial amount of unpaid principal and interest due upon maturity.

Price declines and illiquidity in the corporate debt markets have adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, the fair value of our portfolio investments, reducing our net asset value through increased net unrealized depreciation. Any unrealized depreciation that we experience on our loan portfolio may be an indication of future realized losses, which could reduce our income available for distribution and could adversely affect our ability to service our outstanding borrowings.

As a BDC, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our board of directors. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments are recorded as unrealized depreciation. Any unrealized depreciation in our loan portfolio could be an indication of a portfolio company’s inability to meet its repayment

 

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obligations to us with respect to the affected loans. This could result in realized losses in the future and ultimately in reductions of our income available for distribution in future periods and could materially adversely affect our ability to service our outstanding borrowings. Depending on market conditions, we could incur substantial losses in future periods, which could further reduce our net asset value and have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Global economic, political and market conditions may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, including our revenue growth and profitability.

The current worldwide financial market situation, as well as various social and political tensions in the United States and around the world, may contribute to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets, and may cause economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. The U.S. and global capital markets experienced extreme volatility and disruption during the economic downturn that began in mid-2007, and the U.S. economy was in a recession for several consecutive calendar quarters during the same period. In 2010, a financial crisis emerged in Europe, triggered by high budget deficits and rising direct and contingent sovereign debt, which created concerns about the ability of certain nations to continue to service their sovereign debt obligations. Risks resulting from such debt crisis, including any austerity measures taken in exchange for bailout of certain nations, and any future debt crisis in Europe or any similar crisis elsewhere could have a detrimental impact on the global economic recovery, sovereign and non-sovereign debt in certain countries and the financial condition of financial institutions generally. In June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum in which voters approved an exit from the European Union (“Brexit”) and, subsequently, on March 29, 2017, the U.K. government began the formal process of leaving the European Union. Brexit created political and economic uncertainty and instability in the global markets (including currency and credit markets), and especially in the United Kingdom and the European Union. Because the U.K. Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal with the European Union in January 2019 and March 2019, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation which was effective June 7, 2019, there was increased uncertainty on the timing of Brexit. Under current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the House of Commons passed the Brexit deal on December 20, 2019 and the U.K. formally left the European Union on January 31, 2020. The U.K. has now entered into a transition period until December 31, 2020, where agreements surrounding trade and other aspects of the U.K.’s future relationship with the European Union will need to be finalized. Failure to come to terms on a free trade deal could result in checks and tariffs on U.K. goods traveling to the European Union and thus prolong the economic uncertainty. There is continued concern about national-level support for the Euro and the accompanying coordination of fiscal and wage policy among European Economic and Monetary Union member countries. In addition, the fiscal and monetary policies of foreign nations, such as Russia and China, may have a severe impact on the worldwide and U.S. financial markets.

The Republican Party currently controls the executive branch and the senate portion of the legislative branch of government, which increases the likelihood that legislation may be adopted that could significantly affect the regulation of U.S. financial markets. Areas subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the authority of the Federal Reserve and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. For example, in March 2018, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that eased financial regulations and reduced oversight for certain entities. The United States may also potentially withdraw from or renegotiate various trade agreements and take other actions that would change current trade policies of the United States. We cannot predict which, if any, of these actions will be taken or, if taken, their effect on the financial stability of the United States. Such actions could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets or on our investments. We monitor developments and seek to manage our investments in a manner consistent with achieving our investment objective, but there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so.

On May 24, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which increased from $50 billion to $250 billion the asset threshold for designation of

 

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“systemically important financial institutions” or “SIFIs” subject to enhanced prudential standards set by the Federal Reserve Board, staggering application of this change based on the size and risk of the covered bank holding company. On May 30, 2018, the Federal Reserve Board voted to consider changes to the Volcker Rule that would loosen compliance requirements for all banks. The effect of this change and any further rules or regulations are and could be complex and far-reaching, and the change and any future laws or regulations or changes thereto could negatively impact our operations, cash flows or financial condition, impose additional costs on us, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Volatility or a prolonged disruption in the credit markets could materially damage our business.

We are required to record our assets at fair value, as determined in good faith by our board of directors, in accordance with our valuation policy. As a result, volatility in the capital markets may have a material adverse effect on our valuations and our net asset value, even if we hold investments to maturity. Volatility or dislocation in the capital markets may depress our stock price below our net asset value per share and create a challenging environment in which to raise equity and debt capital. These conditions could continue for a prolonged period of time or worsen in the future. While these conditions persist, we and other companies in the financial services sector may have to access, if available, alternative markets for debt and equity capital. Equity capital may be difficult to raise because, subject to some limited exceptions which apply to us, as a BDC we are generally not able to issue additional shares of our common stock at a price less than net asset value without first obtaining approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. At our 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting, our stockholders approved our ability to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock, not exceeding 25% of our then outstanding common stock immediately prior to each such offering, at a price or prices below the then current net asset value per share, in each case subject to the approval of our board of directors and compliance with the conditions set forth in the proxy statement pertaining thereto, during a period beginning on October 8, 2019 and expiring on the earlier of the one-year anniversary of the date of the 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting and the date of our 2020 Annual Stockholders Meeting. However, notwithstanding such stockholder approval, since our initial public offering on February 9, 2010, we have not sold any shares of our common stock in an offering that resulted in proceeds to us of less than our then current net asset value per share. Any offering of our common stock that requires stockholder approval must occur, if at all, within one year after receiving such stockholder approval. In addition, our ability to incur indebtedness (including by issuing preferred stock) is limited by applicable regulations such that our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, must equal at least 150% immediately after each time we incur indebtedness. The debt capital that will be available, if at all, may be at a higher cost and on less favorable terms and conditions in the future. Any inability to raise capital could have a negative effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Additionally, our ability to incur indebtedness is limited by the asset coverage ratio for a BDC, as defined under the 1940 Act. Declining portfolio values negatively impact our ability to borrow additional funds because our net asset value is reduced for purposes of the asset coverage ratio. If the fair value of our assets declines substantially, we may fail to maintain the asset coverage ratio stipulated by the 1940 Act, which could, in turn, cause us to lose our status as a BDC and materially impair our business operations. A lengthy disruption in the credit markets could also materially decrease demand for our investments.

The significant disruption in the capital markets experienced in the past has had, and may in the future have, a negative effect on the valuations of our investments and on the potential for liquidity events involving our investments. The debt capital that may be available to us in the future may be at a higher cost and have less favorable terms and conditions than those currently in effect. If our financing costs increase and we have no increase in interest income, then our net investment income will decrease. A prolonged inability to raise capital may require us to reduce the volume of investments we originate and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. This may also increase the probability that other structural risks negatively impact us. These situations may arise due to circumstances that we may be unable to

 

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control, such as a lengthy disruption in the credit markets, a severe decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, a sharp economic downturn or recession or an operational problem that affects third parties or us, and could materially damage our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Economic sanction laws in the United States and other jurisdictions may prohibit us and our affiliates from transacting with certain countries, individuals and companies.

Economic sanction laws in the United States and other jurisdictions may prohibit us or our affiliates from transacting with certain countries, individuals and companies. In the United States, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control administers and enforces laws, executive orders and regulations establishing U.S. economic and trade sanctions, which prohibit, among other things, transactions with, and the provision of services to, certain non-U.S. countries, territories, entities and individuals. These types of sanctions may significantly restrict or completely prohibit investment activities in certain jurisdictions, and if we, our portfolio companies or other issuers in which we invest were to violate any such laws or regulations, we may face significant legal and monetary penalties.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and other anti-corruption laws and regulations, as well as anti-boycott regulations, may also apply to and restrict our activities, our portfolio companies and other issuers of our investments. If an issuer or we were to violate any such laws or regulations, such issuer or we may face significant legal and monetary penalties. The U.S. government has indicated that it is particularly focused on FCPA enforcement, which may increase the risk that an issuer or us becomes the subject of such actual or threatened enforcement. In addition, certain commentators have suggested that private investment firms and the funds that they manage may face increased scrutiny and/or liability with respect to the activities of their underlying portfolio companies. As such, a violation of the FCPA or other applicable regulations by us or an issuer of our portfolio investments could have a material adverse effect on us. We are committed to complying with the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws and regulations, as well as anti-boycott regulations, to which it is subject. As a result, we may be adversely affected because of our unwillingness to enter into transactions that violate any such laws or regulations.

If we cannot obtain additional capital because of either regulatory or market price constraints, we could be forced to curtail or cease our new lending and investment activities, our net asset value could decrease and our level of distributions and liquidity could be affected adversely.

Our ability to secure additional financing and satisfy our financial obligations under indebtedness outstanding from time to time will depend upon our future operating performance, which is subject to the prevailing general economic and credit market conditions, including interest rate levels and the availability of credit generally, and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. The worsening of current economic and capital market conditions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to secure financing on favorable terms, if at all.

If we are unable to obtain debt capital, then our equity investors will not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage to the extent that our investment strategy is successful and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or fundings to our portfolio companies.

The interest rates of our floating-rate loans to our portfolio companies that extend beyond 2021 might be subject to change based on recent regulatory changes.

LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate, is the basic rate of interest used in lending transactions between banks on the London interbank market and is widely used as a reference for setting the interest rate on loans globally. We typically use LIBOR as a reference rate in floating-rate loans we extend to portfolio companies such that the interest due to us pursuant to a term loan extended to a portfolio company is calculated using LIBOR. The terms of our debt investments may include minimum interest rate floors which are calculated based on LIBOR.

 

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On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. It is expected that a transition away from the widespread use of LIBOR to alternative rates will occur over the course of the next several years. As a result of this transition, interest rates on financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates, as well as the revenue and expenses associated with those financial instruments, may be adversely affected. Further, any uncertainty regarding the continued use and reliability of LIBOR as a benchmark interest rate could adversely affect the value of our financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates. The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with a new index calculated by short term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities, called the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”). The first publication of SOFR was released in April 2018. Whether or not SOFR attains market traction as a LIBOR replacement remains a questions and the future of LIBOR at this time is uncertain.

Additionally, on June 12, 2019 the Staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance, Division of Investment Management, Division of Trading and Markets, and Office of the Chief Accountant issued a statement about the potentially significant effects on financial markets and market participants when LIBOR is discontinued in 2021 and no longer available as a reference benchmark rate. The Staff encouraged all market participants to identify contracts that reference LIBOR and begin transitions to alternative rates. On December 30, 2019, the SEC’s Chairman, Division of Corporate Finance and Office of the Chief Accountant issued a statement to encourage audit committees in particular to understand management’s plans to identify and address the risks associated with the elimination of LIBOR, and, specifically, the impact on accounting and financial reporting and any related issues associated with financial products and contracts that reference LIBOR, as the risks associated with the discontinuation of LIBOR and transition to an alternative reference rate will be exacerbated if the work is not completed in a timely manner.

The elimination of LIBOR or any other changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of LIBOR could have an adverse impact on the market for or value of any LIBOR-linked securities, loans, and other financial obligations or extensions of credit held by or due to us, or on our overall financial condition or results of operations. If LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate the credit agreements extending beyond 2021 with our portfolio companies that utilize LIBOR as a factor in determining the interest rate to replace LIBOR with the new standard that is established. In addition, the cessation of LIBOR could:

 

   

Adversely impact the pricing, liquidity, value of, return on and trading for a broad array of financial products, including any LIBOR-linked securities, loans and derivatives that are included in our assets and liabilities;

 

   

Require extensive changes to documentation that governs or references LIBOR or LIBOR-based products, including, for example, pursuant to time-consuming renegotiations of existing documentation to modify the terms of outstanding investments;

 

   

Result in inquiries or other actions from regulators in respect of our preparation and readiness for the replacement of LIBOR with one or more alternative reference rates;

 

   

Result in disputes, litigation or other actions with portfolio companies, or other counterparties, regarding the interpretation and enforceability of provisions in our LIBOR-based investments, such as fallback language or other related provisions, including, in the case of fallbacks to the alternative reference rates, any economic, legal, operational or other impact resulting from the fundamental differences between LIBOR and the various alternative reference rates;

 

   

Require the transition and/or development of appropriate systems and analytics to effectively transition our risk management processes from LIBOR-based products to those based on one or more alternative reference rates, which may prove challenging given the limited history of the proposed alternative reference rates; and

 

   

Cause us to incur additional costs in relation to any of the above factors.

 

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There is no guarantee that a transition from LIBOR to an alternative will not result in financial market disruptions, significant increases in benchmark rates, or borrowing costs to borrowers, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, result of operations, financial condition, and unit price.

Economic recessions or downturns could impair the ability of our portfolio companies to repay loans and harm our operating results.

Many of our portfolio companies may be susceptible to economic slowdowns or recessions and may be unable to repay our loans during these periods. Therefore, our non-performing assets may increase and the value of our portfolio may decrease during these periods as we are required to record the values of our investments. Adverse economic conditions also may decrease the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments at fair value. Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us. These events could prevent us from increasing investments and result in our receipt of a reduced level of interest income from our portfolio companies and/or losses or charge offs related to our investments, and, in turn, may adversely affect distributable income and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

A portfolio company’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, acceleration of the time when the loans are due and foreclosure on its secured assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize the portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt that we hold. We may incur additional expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company. In addition, if one of our portfolio companies were to go bankrupt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we actually provided significant managerial assistance to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might re-characterize our debt holdings and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors.

These portfolio companies may face intense competition, including competition from companies with greater financial resources, more extensive research and development, manufacturing, marketing and service capabilities and greater number of qualified and experienced managerial and technical personnel. They may need additional financing that they are unable to secure and that we are unable or unwilling to provide, or they may be subject to adverse developments unrelated to the technologies they acquire.

The continued uncertainty related to the sustainability and pace of economic recovery in the U.S. and globally could have a negative impact on our business.

Our business is directly influenced by the economic cycle, and could be negatively impacted by a downturn in economic activity in the U.S. as well as globally. Fiscal and monetary actions taken by U.S. and non-U.S. government and regulatory authorities could have a material adverse impact on our business. To the extent uncertainty regarding the U.S. or global economy negatively impacts consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Moreover, Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates and the decision to end its quantitative easing policy, along with the general policies of the current Presidential administration, may also adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities. Market volatility, rising interest rates and/or a return to unfavorable economic conditions could adversely affect our business.

We may suffer a loss if a portfolio company defaults on a loan and the underlying collateral is not sufficient.

In the event of a default by a portfolio company on a secured loan, we will only have recourse to the assets collateralizing the loan. If the underlying collateral value is less than the loan amount, we will suffer a loss. In addition, we sometimes make loans that are unsecured, which are subject to the risk that other lenders may be

 

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directly secured by the assets of the portfolio company. In the event of a default, those collateralized lenders would have priority over us with respect to the proceeds of a sale of the underlying assets. In cases described above, we may lack control over the underlying asset collateralizing our loan or the underlying assets of the portfolio company prior to a default, and as a result the value of the collateral may be reduced by acts or omissions by owners or managers of the assets.

In the event of bankruptcy of a portfolio company, we may not have full recourse to its assets in order to satisfy our loan, or our loan may be subject to equitable subordination. In addition, certain of our loans are subordinate to other debt of the portfolio company. If a portfolio company defaults on our loan or on debt senior to our loan, or in the event of a portfolio company bankruptcy, our loan will be satisfied only after the senior debt receives payment. Where debt senior to our loan exists, the presence of inter-creditor arrangements may limit our ability to amend our loan documents, assign our loans, accept prepayments, exercise our remedies (through “standstill” periods) and control decisions made in bankruptcy proceedings relating to the portfolio company. Bankruptcy and portfolio company litigation can significantly increase collection losses and the time needed for us to acquire the underlying collateral in the event of a default, during which time the collateral may decline in value, causing us to suffer further losses.

If the value of collateral underlying our loan declines or interest rates increase during the term of our loan, a portfolio company may not be able to obtain the necessary funds to repay our loan at maturity through refinancing. Decreasing collateral value and/or increasing interest rates may hinder a portfolio company’s ability to refinance our loan because the underlying collateral cannot satisfy the debt service coverage requirements necessary to obtain new financing. If a borrower is unable to repay our loan at maturity, we could suffer a loss which may adversely impact our financial performance.

The business, financial condition and results of operations of our portfolio companies could be adversely affected by worldwide economic conditions, as well as political and economic conditions in the countries in which they conduct business.

The business and operating results of our portfolio companies may be impacted by worldwide economic conditions. Although the U.S. economy has in recent years shown signs of recovery from the 2008–2009 global recession, the strength and duration of any economic recovery will be impacted by worldwide economic growth. For instance, concerns of economic slowdown in China and other emerging markets and signs of deteriorating sovereign debt conditions in Europe could lead to disruption and instability in the global financial markets. The significant debt in the United States and European countries is expected to hinder growth in those countries for the foreseeable future. In the future, the U.S. government may not be able to meet its debt payments unless the federal debt ceiling is raised. If legislation increasing the debt ceiling is not enacted, as needed, and the debt ceiling is reached, the U.S. federal government may stop or delay making payments on its obligations. Any default by the U.S. government on its obligations or any prolonged U.S. government shutdown could negatively impact the U.S. economy and our portfolio companies. Multiple factors relating to the international operations of some of our portfolio companies and to particular countries in which they operate could negatively impact their business, financial condition and results of operations.

Some of the products of our portfolio companies are developed, manufactured, assembled, tested or marketed outside the United States. Any conflict or uncertainty in these countries, including due to natural disasters, public health concerns, political unrest or safety concerns, could harm their business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if the government of any country in which their products are developed, manufactured or sold sets technical or regulatory standards for products developed or manufactured in or imported into their country that are not widely shared, it may lead some of their customers to suspend imports of their products into that country, require manufacturers or developers in that country to manufacture or develop products with different technical or regulatory standards and disrupt cross-border manufacturing, marketing or business relationships which, in each case, could harm their businesses.

 

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Our failure to make follow-on investments in our portfolio companies could impair the value of our portfolio.

Following an initial investment in a portfolio company, we may make additional investments in that portfolio company as “follow-on” investments, in order to: (i) increase or maintain in whole or in part our ownership percentage; (ii) exercise warrants, options or convertible securities that were acquired in the original or subsequent financing; or (iii) attempt to preserve or enhance the value of our investment. We may elect not to make follow-on investments or otherwise lack sufficient funds to make those investments. We will have the discretion to make any follow-on investments, subject to the availability of capital resources. The failure to make follow-on investments may, in some circumstances, jeopardize the continued viability of a portfolio company and our initial investment, or may result in a missed opportunity for us to increase our participation in a successful operation. Even if we have sufficient capital to make a desired follow-on investment, we may elect not to make a follow-on investment because we may not want to increase our concentration of risk, either because we prefer other opportunities or because we are subject to BDC requirements that would prevent such follow-on investments or the desire to maintain our RIC tax treatment.

Where we do not hold controlling equity interests in our portfolio companies, we may not be in a position to exercise control over our portfolio companies or to prevent decisions by management of our portfolio companies that could decrease the value of our investments.

Although we hold controlling equity positions in some of our portfolio companies, we do not currently hold controlling equity positions in the majority of our portfolio companies. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company in which we do not have a controlling interest may make business decisions with which we disagree, and that the management and/or stockholders of such portfolio company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that are adverse to our interests. Due to the lack of liquidity of the debt and equity investments that we typically hold in our portfolio companies, we may not be able to dispose of our investments in the event we disagree with the actions of a portfolio company and may therefore suffer a decrease in the value of our investments.

Prepayments of our debt investments by our portfolio companies could adversely impact our results of operations and reduce our return on equity.

We are subject to the risk that the investments we make in our portfolio companies may be prepaid prior to maturity. When this occurs, we may reduce our borrowings outstanding or reinvest these proceeds in temporary investments, pending their future investment in new portfolio companies. These temporary investments, if any, will typically have substantially lower yields than the debt investment being prepaid and we could experience significant delays in reinvesting these amounts. Any future investment in a new portfolio company may also be at lower yields than the debt investment that was prepaid. As a result, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected if one or more of our portfolio companies elect to prepay amounts owed to us. Additionally, prepayments could negatively impact our return on equity, which could result in a decline in the market price of our common stock.

We may choose to waive or defer enforcement of covenants in the debt securities held in our portfolio, which may cause us to lose all or part of our investment in these companies.

We structure the debt investments in our portfolio companies to include business and financial covenants placing affirmative and negative obligations on the operation of the company’s business and its financial condition. However, from time to time we may elect to waive breaches of these covenants, including our right to payment, or waive or defer enforcement of remedies, such as acceleration of obligations or foreclosure on collateral, depending upon the financial condition and prospects of the particular portfolio company. These actions may reduce the likelihood of our receiving the full amount of future payments of interest or principal and be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of the underlying collateral as many of these companies may have limited financial resources, may be unable to meet future obligations and may go bankrupt. This could negatively impact our ability to pay distributions, could adversely affect our results of operation and financial condition and cause the loss of all or part of your investment.

 

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In addition, some of the loans in which we may invest may be “covenant-lite” loans. We use the term “covenant-lite” loans to refer generally to loans that do not have a complete set of financial maintenance covenants. Generally, “covenant-lite” loans provide borrower companies more freedom to negatively impact lenders because their covenants are incurrence-based, which means they are only tested and can only be breached following an affirmative action of the borrower, rather than by a deterioration in the borrower’s financial condition. Accordingly, to the extent we invest in “covenant-lite” loans, we may have fewer rights against a borrower and may have a greater risk of loss on such investments as compared to investments in or exposure to loans with financial maintenance covenants.

Our loans could be subject to equitable subordination by a court which would increase our risk of loss with respect to such loans.

Courts may apply the doctrine of equitable subordination to subordinate the claim or lien of a lender against a borrower to claims or liens of other creditors of the borrower, when the lender or its affiliates is found to have engaged in unfair, inequitable or fraudulent conduct. The courts have also applied the doctrine of equitable subordination when a lender or its affiliates is found to have exerted inappropriate control over a client, including control resulting from the ownership of equity interests in a client. We have made direct equity investments or received warrants in connection with loans. Payments on one or more of our loans, particularly a loan to a client in which we may also hold an equity interest, may be subject to claims of equitable subordination. If we were deemed to have the ability to control or otherwise exercise influence over the business and affairs of one or more of our portfolio companies resulting in economic hardship to other creditors of that company, this control or influence may constitute grounds for equitable subordination and a court may treat one or more of our loans as if it were unsecured or common equity in the portfolio company. In that case, if the portfolio company were to liquidate, we would be entitled to repayment of our loan on a pro-rata basis with other unsecured debt or, if the effect of subordination was to place us at the level of common equity, then on an equal basis with other holders of the portfolio company’s common equity only after all of its obligations relating to its debt and preferred securities had been satisfied.

An investment strategy focused primarily on privately held companies presents certain challenges, including the lack of available information about these companies, a dependence on the talents and efforts of only a few key portfolio company personnel and a greater vulnerability to economic downturns.

We invest primarily in privately held companies. Generally, little public information exists about these companies, and we are required to rely on the ability of Solar Capital Partners’ investment professionals to obtain adequate information to evaluate the potential returns from investing in these companies. If we are unable to uncover all material information about these companies, we may not make a fully informed investment decision, and we may lose money on our investments. Also, smaller privately held companies frequently have less diverse product lines and smaller market presence than larger competitors. These factors could adversely affect our investment returns as compared to companies investing primarily in the securities of public companies.

Our portfolio companies may incur debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies.

We invest primarily in leveraged middle-market companies in the form of senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans, financing leases and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities. Our portfolio companies typically have, or may be permitted to incur, other debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, the debt securities in which we invest. By their terms, such debt instruments may provide that the holders are entitled to receive payment of interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of the debt securities in which we invest. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of debt instruments ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company would typically be entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any distribution in respect of our investment. After repaying such senior creditors, such portfolio company may not

 

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have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. In the case of debt ranking equally with debt securities in which we invest, we would have to share on an equal basis any distributions with other creditors holding such debt in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of the relevant portfolio company. Any such limitations on the ability of our portfolio companies to make principal or interest payments to us, if at all, may reduce our net asset value and have a negative material adverse impact to our business, financial condition and results of operation.

Our investments in foreign securities may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.

Our investment strategy contemplates potential investments in debt securities of foreign companies, including emerging market companies. Investing in foreign companies may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in U.S. companies. These risks include changes in exchange control regulations, political and social instability, expropriation, imposition of foreign taxes, less liquid markets and less available information than is generally the case in the United States, higher transaction costs, less government supervision of exchanges, brokers and issuers, less developed bankruptcy laws, difficulty in enforcing contractual obligations, lack of uniform accounting and auditing standards and greater price volatility. These risks may be more pronounced for portfolio companies located or operating primarily in emerging markets, whose economies, markets and legal systems may be less developed.

Although most of our investments will be U.S. dollar-denominated, any investments denominated in a foreign currency will be subject to the risk that the value of a particular currency will change in relation to one or more other currencies. Among the factors that may affect currency values are trade balances, the level of short-term interest rates, differences in relative values of similar assets in different currencies, long-term opportunities for investment and capital appreciation, and political developments. We may employ hedging techniques to minimize these risks, but we can offer no assurance that we will, in fact, hedge currency risk, or that if we do, such strategies will be effective.

We may expose ourselves to risks if we engage in hedging transactions.

If we engage in hedging transactions, we may expose ourselves to risks associated with such transactions. We may utilize instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of our portfolio positions from changes in currency exchange rates and market interest rates. Hedging against a decline in the values of our portfolio positions does not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such portfolio positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the values of the underlying portfolio positions should increase. It may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price.

The success of our hedging transactions will depend on our ability to correctly predict movements in currencies and interest rates. Therefore, while we may enter into such transactions to seek to reduce currency exchange rate and interest rate risks, unanticipated changes in currency exchange rates or interest rates may result in poorer overall investment performance than if we had not engaged in any such hedging transactions. In addition, the degree of correlation between price movements of the instruments used in a hedging strategy and price movements in the portfolio positions being hedged may vary. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek to establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and the portfolio holdings being hedged. Any such imperfect correlation may prevent us from achieving the intended hedge and expose us to risk of loss. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge fully or perfectly against currency fluctuations affecting the value of securities denominated in non-U.S. currencies because the value of those securities is likely to fluctuate as a result of factors not related to currency fluctuations. To the extent we engage in hedging transactions, we

 

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also face the risk that counterparties to the derivative instruments we hold may default, which may expose us to unexpected losses from positions where we believed that our risk had been appropriately hedged.

Our investment adviser may not be able to achieve the same or similar returns as those achieved for other funds it currently manages or by our senior investment professionals while they were employed at prior positions.

Our investment adviser manages other funds, including other BDCs, and may manage other entities in the future. The track record and achievements of these other entities are not necessarily indicative of future results that will be achieved by our investment adviser because these other entities may have investment objectives and strategies that differ from ours. Additionally, although in the past our senior investment professionals held senior positions at a number of investment firms, their track record and achievements are not necessarily indicative of future results that will be achieved by our investment adviser. In their roles at such other firms, our senior investment professionals were part of investment teams, and they were not solely responsible for generating investment ideas. In addition, such investment teams arrived at investment decisions by consensus.

Risks Relating to an Investment in Our Securities

Our shares may trade at a substantial discount from net asset value and may continue to do so over the long term.

Shares of BDCs may trade at a market price that is less than the net asset value that is attributable to those shares. The possibility that our shares of common stock will trade at a substantial discount from net asset value over the long term is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value will decrease. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our net asset value in the future. If our common stock trades below its net asset value, we will generally not be able to issue additional shares or sell our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. At our 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting, our stockholders approved our ability to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock, not exceeding 25% of our then outstanding common stock immediately prior to each such offering, at a price or prices below the then current net asset value per share, in each case subject to the approval of our board of directors and compliance with the conditions set forth in the proxy statement pertaining thereto, during a period beginning on October 8, 2019 and expiring on the earlier of the one-year anniversary of the date of the 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting and the date of our 2020 Annual Stockholders Meeting. However, notwithstanding such stockholder approval, since our initial public offering on February 9, 2010, we have not sold any shares of our common stock in an offering that resulted in proceeds to us of less than our then current net asset value per share. Any offering of our common stock that requires stockholder approval must occur, if at all, within one year after receiving such stockholder approval. If additional funds are not available to us, we could be forced to curtail or cease our new lending and investment activities, and our net asset value could decrease and our level of distributions could be impacted.

Our common stock price may be volatile and may decrease substantially.

The trading price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially. The price of our common stock that will prevail in the market may be higher or lower than the price you pay, depending on many factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

 

   

investor demand for our shares;

 

   

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of BDCs or other companies in our sector, which are not necessarily related to the operating performance of these companies;

 

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exclusion of our common stock from certain market indices, such as the Russell 2000 Financial Services Index, which could reduce the ability of certain investment funds to own our common stock and put short-term selling pressure on our common stock;

 

   

changes in regulatory policies or tax guidelines with respect to RICs or BDCs;

 

   

failure to qualify as a RIC, or the loss of RIC tax treatment;

 

   

any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by investors or securities analysts;

 

   

changes, or perceived changes, in the value of our portfolio investments;

 

   

departures of Solar Capital Partners’ key personnel;

 

   

operating performance of companies comparable to us;

 

   

changes in the prevailing interest rates;

 

   

loss of a major funding source; or

 

   

general economic conditions and trends and other external factors.

Our business and operation could be negatively affected if we become subject to any securities litigation or shareholder activism, which could cause us to incur significant expense, hinder execution of investment strategy and impact our stock price.

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Shareholder activism, which could take many forms or arise in a variety of situations, has been increasing in the BDC space recently. While we are currently not subject to any securities litigation or shareholder activism, due to the potential volatility of our stock price and for a variety of other reasons, we may in the future become the target of securities litigation or shareholder activism. Securities litigation and shareholder activism, including potential proxy contests, could result in substantial costs and divert management’s and our board of directors’ attention and resources from our business. Additionally, such securities litigation and shareholder activism could give rise to perceived uncertainties as to our future, adversely affect our relationships with service providers and make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified personnel. Also, we may be required to incur significant legal fees and other expenses related to any securities litigation and activist shareholder matters. Further, our stock price could be subject to significant fluctuation or otherwise be adversely affected by the events, risks and uncertainties of any securities litigation and shareholder activism.

There is a risk that our stockholders may not receive distributions or that our distributions may not grow over time.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results that will allow us to make a specified level of cash distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a BDC, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. To the extent we make distributions to stockholders which include a return of capital, that portion of the distribution essentially constitutes a return of the stockholders’ investment. Although such return of capital may not be taxable, such distributions may increase an investor’s tax liability for capital gains upon the future sale of our common stock.

As a RIC, if we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income annually, we may suffer adverse tax consequences, including possibly losing the U.S. federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs. We cannot assure you that you will receive distributions at a particular level or at all.

 

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We may choose to pay distributions in our own common stock, in which case our stockholders may be required to pay U.S. federal income taxes in excess of the cash distributions they receive.

We may distribute taxable distributions that are payable in cash or shares of our common stock at the election of each stockholder. Under certain applicable provisions of the Code and the published guidance, distributions payable of a publicly offered RIC that are in cash or in shares of stock at the election of stockholders may be treated as taxable distributions. The Internal Revenue Service has issued a revenue procedure indicating that this rule will apply if the total amount of cash to be distributed is not less than 20% of the total distribution. Under this revenue procedure, if too many stockholders elect to receive their distributions in cash, the cash available for distribution must be allocated among the stockholders electing to receive cash (with the balance of distributions paid in stock). If we decide to make any distributions consistent with this revenue procedure that are payable in part in our stock, taxable stockholders receiving such distributions will be required to include the full amount of the distribution (whether received in cash, our stock, or a combination thereof) as ordinary income (or as long-term capital gain to the extent such distribution is properly reported as a capital gain distribution) to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, a U.S. stockholder may be required to pay tax with respect to such distributions in excess of any cash received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock it receives as a distribution in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the distribution, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold U.S. tax with respect to such distributions, including in respect of all or a portion of such distribution that is payable in stock. If a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our stock in order to pay taxes owed on distributions, it may put downward pressure on the trading price of our stock.

Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market may have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.

The shares of our common stock beneficially owned by each of Messrs. Gross and Spohler immediately prior to completion of our initial public offering, including any shares that are attributable to such shares issued pursuant to our dividend reinvestment plan, are no longer subject to lock-up restrictions that each of Messrs. Gross and Spohler agreed to in connection with our initial public offering, and are generally available for resale without restriction, subject to the provisions of Rule 144 promulgated under the Securities Act. In addition, on November 30, 2010, Messrs. Gross and Spohler jointly acquired 115,000 shares of our common stock in a private placement transaction conducted in accordance with Regulation D under the Securities Act. Such shares are generally available for resale without restriction, subject to the provisions of Rule 144 promulgated under the Securities Act. Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or the availability of such common stock for sale, could adversely affect the prevailing market prices for our common stock. If this occurs and continues, it could impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of securities should we desire to do so.

Delays in the government budget process or a government shutdown may adversely affect our operations and may prevent us from conducting a securities offering.

Each year, the U.S. Congress must pass all spending bills in the federal budget. If any such spending bill is not timely passed, a government shutdown will close many federally run operations, which may include those of the SEC, and halt work for federal employees unless they are considered essential or such work is separately funded by industry. If a government shutdown were to occur, and the SEC were to remain closed for a prolonged period of time, we may not be able to conduct a securities offering. Our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of securities could be materially affected by any prolonged government shutdown.

 

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We may be unable to invest the net proceeds raised from any offerings on acceptable terms or allocate net proceeds from any offering of our securities in ways with which you may not agree.

We cannot assure you that we will be able to find enough appropriate investments that meet our investment criteria or that any investment we complete using the proceeds from any securities offering will produce a sufficient return. Until we identify new investment opportunities, we intend to either invest the net proceeds of future offerings in cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and other high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less or use the net proceeds from such offerings to reduce then-outstanding obligations.

We have significant flexibility in investing the net proceeds of any offering of our securities and may use the net proceeds from an offering in ways with which you may not agree or for purposes other than those contemplated at the time of the offering.

The net asset value per share of our common stock may be diluted if we issue or sell shares of our common stock at prices below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock.

At our 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting, our stockholders approved our ability to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock, not exceeding 25% of our then outstanding common stock immediately prior to each such offering, at a price or prices below the then current net asset value per share, in each case subject to the approval of our board of directors and compliance with the conditions set forth in the proxy statement pertaining thereto, during a period beginning on October 8, 2019 and expiring on the earlier of the one-year anniversary of the date of the 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting and the date of our 2020 Annual Stockholders Meeting. However, notwithstanding such stockholder approval, since our initial public offering on February 9, 2010, we have not sold any shares of our common stock in an offering that resulted in proceeds to us of less than our then current net asset value per share. Any offering of our common stock that requires stockholder approval must occur, if at all, within one year after receiving such stockholder approval.

In addition, at our 2011 Annual Stockholders Meeting, our stockholders authorized us to sell or otherwise issue warrants or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock subject to certain limitations (including, without limitation, that the number of shares issuable does not exceed 25% of our then outstanding common stock and that the exercise or conversion price thereof is not, at the date of issuance, less than the market value per share of our common stock). Such authorization has no expiration.

We may also use newly issued shares to implement our dividend reinvestment plan, whether our shares are trading at a premium or at a discount to our then current net asset value per share. Any decision to issue or sell shares of our common stock below our then current net asset value per share or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock would be subject to the determination by our board of directors that such issuance or sale is in our and our stockholders’ best interests.

If we were to issue or sell shares of our common stock below our then current net asset value per share, such issuances or sales would result in an immediate dilution to the net asset value per share of our common stock.

This dilution would occur as a result of the issuance or sale of shares at a price below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock and a proportionately greater decrease in the stockholders’ interest in our earnings and assets and their voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance or sale. Because the number of shares of common stock that could be so issued and the timing of any issuance is not currently known, the actual dilutive effect cannot be predicted.

In addition, if we issue warrants or securities to subscribe for or convertible into shares of our common stock, subject to certain limitations, the exercise or conversion price per share could be less than net asset value per share at the time of exercise or conversion (including through the operation of anti-dilution protections).

 

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Because we would incur expenses in connection with any issuance of such securities, such issuance could result in a dilution of the net asset value per share at the time of exercise or conversion. This dilution would include reduction in net asset value per share as a result of the proportionately greater decrease in the stockholders’ interest in our earnings and assets and their voting interest than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance.

Further, if our current stockholders do not purchase any shares to maintain their percentage interest, regardless of whether such offering is above or below the then current net asset value per share, their voting power will be diluted. For example, if we sell an additional 10% of our common stock at a 5% discount from net asset value, a stockholder who does not participate in that offering for its proportionate interest will suffer net asset value dilution of up to 0.5% or $5 per $1,000 of net asset value.

Similarly, all distributions declared in cash payable to stockholders that are participants in our dividend reinvestment plan are generally automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. As a result, stockholders that do not participate in the dividend reinvestment plan may experience dilution over time. Stockholders who do not elect to receive distributions in shares of common stock may experience accretion to the net asset value of their shares if our shares are trading at a premium and dilution if our shares are trading at a discount. The level of accretion or discount would depend on various factors, including the proportion of our stockholders who participate in the plan, the level of premium or discount at which our shares are trading and the amount of the distribution payable to a stockholder.

If we issue preferred stock, the net asset value and market value of our common stock may become more volatile.

We cannot assure you that the issuance of preferred stock would result in a higher yield or return to the holders of the common stock. The issuance of preferred stock would likely cause the net asset value and market value of the common stock to become more volatile. If the distribution rate on the preferred stock were to approach the net rate of return on our investment portfolio, the benefit of leverage to the holders of the common stock would be reduced. If the distribution rate on the preferred stock were to exceed the net rate of return on our portfolio, the leverage would result in a lower rate of return to the holders of common stock than if we had not issued preferred stock. Any decline in the net asset value of our investments would be borne entirely by the holders of common stock. Therefore, if the market value of our portfolio were to decline, the leverage would result in a greater decrease in net asset value to the holders of common stock than if we were not leveraged through the issuance of preferred stock. This greater net asset value decrease would also tend to cause a greater decline in the market price for the common stock. We might be in danger of failing to maintain the required asset coverage of the preferred stock or of losing our ratings on the preferred stock or, in an extreme case, our current investment income might not be sufficient to meet the distribution requirements on the preferred stock. In order to counteract such an event, we might need to liquidate investments in order to fund a redemption of some or all of the preferred stock. In addition, we would pay (and the holders of common stock would bear) all costs and expenses relating to the issuance and ongoing maintenance of the preferred stock, including higher advisory fees if our total return exceeds the distribution rate on the preferred stock. Holders of preferred stock may have different interests than holders of common stock and may at times have disproportionate influence over our affairs.

Our board of directors is authorized to reclassify any unissued shares of common stock into one or more classes of preferred stock, which could convey special rights and privileges to its owners.

Under Maryland General Corporation Law and our charter, our board of directors is authorized to classify and reclassify any authorized but unissued shares of stock into one or more classes of stock, including preferred stock. Prior to issuance of shares of each class or series, the board of directors is required by Maryland law and our charter to set the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to other distributions, qualifications and terms or conditions of redemption for each class or series. Thus, the board of

 

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directors could authorize the issuance of shares of preferred stock with terms and conditions which could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in their best interest. The cost of any such reclassification would be borne by our existing common stockholders. The issuance of shares of preferred stock convertible into shares of common stock might also reduce the net income and net asset value per share of our common stock upon conversion, provided, that we will only be permitted to issue such convertible preferred stock to the extent we comply with the requirements of Section 61 of the 1940 Act, including obtaining common stockholder approval. These effects, among others, could have an adverse effect on your investment in our common stock.

Certain matters under the 1940 Act require the separate vote of the holders of any issued and outstanding preferred stock. For example, holders of preferred stock would vote separately from the holders of common stock on a proposal to cease operations as a BDC. In addition, the 1940 Act provides that holders of preferred stock are entitled to vote separately from holders of common stock to elect two preferred stock directors. In the event distributions become two full years in arrears, holders of any preferred stock would have the right to elect a majority of the directors until such arrearage is completely eliminated. Preferred stockholders also have class voting rights on certain matters, including changes in fundamental investment restrictions and conversion to open-end status, and accordingly can veto any such changes. Restrictions imposed on the declarations and payment of distributions to the holders of our common stock and preferred stock, both by the 1940 Act and by requirements imposed by rating agencies or the terms of our credit facilities, might impair our ability to maintain our qualification for tax treatment as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. While we would intend to redeem our preferred stock to the extent necessary to enable us to distribute our income as required to maintain our qualification as a RIC, there can be no assurance that such actions could be effected in time to meet the tax requirements.

To the extent we use debt or preferred stock to finance our investments, changes in interest rates will affect our cost of capital and net investment income.

To the extent we borrow money, or issue preferred stock, to make investments, our net investment income will depend, in part, upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds or pay distributions on preferred stock and the rate at which we invest those funds. As a result, we can offer no assurance that a significant change in market interest rates will not have a material adverse effect on our net investment income in the event we use debt to finance our investments. In periods of rising interest rates, our cost of funds would increase, except to the extent we issue fixed rate debt or preferred stock, which could reduce our net investment income. We expect that our long-term fixed-rate investments will be financed primarily with equity and long-term debt. We may use interest rate risk management techniques in an effort to limit our exposure to interest rate fluctuations. Such techniques may include various interest rate hedging activities to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act.

You should also be aware that a rise in the general level of interest rates can be expected to lead to higher interest rates applicable to our debt investments. Accordingly, an increase in interest rates would make it easier for us to meet or exceed the incentive fee hurdle rate and may result in a substantial increase of the amount of incentive fees payable to our investment adviser with respect to our pre-incentive fee net investment income.

Further, rising interest rates could also adversely affect our performance if we hold investments with floating interest rates, subject to specified minimum interest rates (such as a LIBOR floor), while at the same time engaging in borrowings subject to floating interest rates not subject to such minimums. In such a scenario, rising interest rates may increase our interest expense, even though our interest income from Investments is not increasing in a corresponding manner as a result of such minimum interest rates.

 

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We may in the future determine to fund a portion of our investments with preferred stock, which would magnify the potential for loss and the risks of investing in us in a similar way as our borrowings.

Preferred stock, which is another form of leverage, has the same risks to our common stockholders as borrowings because the distributions on any preferred stock we issue must be cumulative. Payment of such distributions and repayment of the liquidation preference of such preferred stock must take preference over any distributions or other payments to our common stockholders, and preferred stockholders are not subject to any of our expenses or losses and are not entitled to participate in any income or appreciation in excess of their stated preference.

Risks Relating to Our Business and Structure

We are dependent upon Solar Capital Partners’ key personnel for our future success.

We depend on the diligence, skill and network of business contacts of Messrs. Gross and Spohler, who serve as the managing partners of Solar Capital Partners and who lead Solar Capital Partners’ investment team. Messrs. Gross and Spohler, together with the other dedicated investment professionals available to Solar Capital Partners, evaluate, negotiate, structure, close and monitor our investments. Our future success will depend on the diligence, skill, network of business contacts and continued service of Messrs. Gross and Spohler and the other investment professionals available to Solar Capital Partners. We cannot assure you that unforeseen business, medical, personal or other circumstances would not lead any such individual to terminate his relationship with us. The loss of Mr. Gross or Mr. Spohler, or any of the other senior investment professionals who serve on Solar Capital Partners’ investment team, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to achieve our investment objective as well as on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we can offer no assurance that Solar Capital Partners will remain our investment adviser.

The senior investment professionals of Solar Capital Partners are and may in the future become affiliated with entities engaged in business activities similar to those intended to be conducted by us, and may have conflicts of interest in allocating their time. We expect that Messrs. Gross and Spohler will dedicate a significant portion of their time to the activities of Solar Capital; however, they may be engaged in other business activities which could divert their time and attention in the future. Specifically, Mr. Gross serves as Co-Chief Executive Officer and President of Solar Senior Capital Ltd. and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC. In addition, Mr. Spohler serves as Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Solar Senior Capital Ltd. and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC.

Our business model depends to a significant extent upon strong referral relationships with financial sponsors, and the inability of the senior investment professionals of our investment adviser to maintain or develop these relationships, or the failure of these relationships to generate investment opportunities, could adversely affect our business.

We expect that the principals of our investment adviser will maintain and develop their relationships with financial sponsors, and we will rely to a significant extent upon these relationships to provide us with potential investment opportunities. If the senior investment professionals of our investment adviser fail to maintain their existing relationships or develop new relationships with other sponsors or sources of investment opportunities, we will not be able to grow our investment portfolio. In addition, individuals with whom the senior investment professionals of our investment adviser have relationships are not obligated to provide us with investment opportunities, and, therefore, there is no assurance that such relationships will generate investment opportunities for us. If our investment adviser is unable to source investment opportunities, we may hold a greater percentage of our assets in cash and cash equivalents than anticipated, which could impact potential returns on our portfolio.

 

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A disruption in the capital markets and the credit markets could negatively affect our business.

As a BDC, we must maintain our ability to raise additional capital for investment purposes. Without sufficient access to the capital markets or credit markets, we may be forced to curtail our business operations or we may not be able to pursue new business opportunities. Disruptive conditions in the financial industry and the impact of new legislation in response to those conditions could restrict our business operations and could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

If the fair value of our assets declines substantially, we may fail to maintain the asset coverage ratios imposed upon us by the 1940 Act and our existing credit facilities. Any such failure could result in an event of default and all of our debt being declared immediately due and payable and would affect our ability to issue senior securities, including borrowings, and pay distributions, which could materially impair our business operations. Our liquidity could be impaired further by an inability to access the capital markets or to draw on our credit facilities. For example, we cannot be certain that we will be able to renew our existing credit facilities as they mature or to consummate new borrowing facilities to provide capital for normal operations, including new originations. Reflecting concern about the stability of the financial markets, many lenders and institutional investors have reduced or ceased providing funding to borrowers. This market turmoil and tightening of credit have led to increased market volatility and widespread reduction of business activity generally.

If we are unable to renew or replace our existing credit facilities and consummate new facilities on commercially reasonable terms, our liquidity will be reduced significantly. If we consummate new facilities but are then unable to repay amounts outstanding under such facilities and are declared in default or are unable to renew or refinance these facilities, we would not be able to initiate significant originations or to operate our business in the normal course. These situations may arise due to circumstances that we may be unable to control, such as inaccessibility to the credit markets, a severe decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, a further economic downturn or an operational problem that affects third parties or us, and could materially damage our business. Moreover, we are unable to predict when economic and market conditions may become more favorable. Even if such conditions improve broadly and significantly over the long term, adverse conditions in particular sectors of the financial markets could adversely impact our business.

Our financial condition and results of operations will depend on Solar Capital Partners’ ability to manage our future growth effectively by identifying, investing in and monitoring companies that meet our investment criteria.

Our ability to achieve our investment objective and to grow depends on Solar Capital Partners’ ability to identify, invest in and monitor companies that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of Solar Capital Partners’ structuring of the investment process, its ability to provide competent, attentive and efficient services to us and its ability to access financing for us on acceptable terms. The investment team of Solar Capital Partners has substantial responsibilities under the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement, and they may also be called upon to provide managerial assistance to our portfolio companies as the principals of our administrator. In addition, the members of Solar Capital Partners’ investment team have similar responsibilities with respect to the management of other investment portfolios, including Solar Senior Capital Ltd.’s investment portfolio and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC’s investment portfolio. Such demands on their time may distract them or slow our rate of investment. In order to grow, we and Solar Capital Partners will need to retain, train, supervise and manage new investment professionals. However, we can offer no assurance that any such investment professionals will contribute effectively to the work of the investment adviser. Any failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may need to raise additional capital to grow because we must distribute most of our income.

We may need additional capital to fund growth in our investments. We expect to issue equity securities and expect to borrow from financial institutions in the future. A reduction in the availability of new capital could limit our ability to grow. We must distribute at least 90% of our investment company taxable income to our stockholders to maintain our tax treatment as a RIC. As a result, any such cash earnings may not be available to fund investment originations. We expect to borrow from financial institutions and issue additional debt and equity securities. If we fail to obtain funds from such sources or from other sources to fund our investments, it could limit our ability to grow, which may have an adverse effect on the value of our securities. In addition, as a BDC, our ability to borrow or issue additional preferred stock may be restricted if our total assets are less than 150% of our total borrowings and preferred stock.

Any failure on our part to maintain our status as a BDC would reduce our operating flexibility and we may be limited in our investment choices as a BDC.

The 1940 Act imposes numerous constraints on the operations of BDCs. For example, BDCs are required to invest at least 70% of their total assets in specified types of securities, primarily in private companies or thinly-traded U.S. public companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and other high quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. Furthermore, any failure to comply with the requirements imposed on BDCs by the 1940 Act could cause the SEC to bring an enforcement action against us and/or expose us to claims of private litigants. In addition, upon approval of a majority of our stockholders, we may elect to withdraw our status as a BDC. If we decide to withdraw our election, or if we otherwise fail to qualify, or maintain our qualification, as a BDC, we may be subject to the substantially greater regulation under the 1940 Act as a closed-end investment company. Compliance with such regulations would significantly decrease our operating flexibility, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Regulations governing our operation as a BDC affect our ability to, and the way in which we will, raise additional capital. As a BDC, the necessity of raising additional capital may expose us to risks, including the typical risks associated with leverage.

In order to satisfy the tax requirements applicable to a RIC, to avoid payment of excise taxes and to minimize or avoid payment of income taxes, we intend to distribute to our stockholders substantially all of our ordinary income and realized net capital gains except for certain realized net long-term capital gains, which we may retain, pay applicable income taxes with respect thereto and elect to treat as deemed distributions to our stockholders. We may issue debt securities or preferred stock and/or borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, which we refer to collectively as “senior securities,” up to the maximum amount permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the provisions of the 1940 Act, we had been permitted, as a BDC, to issue senior securities in amounts such that our asset coverage ratio, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% of gross assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities, after each issuance of senior securities. However, our stockholders have approved a resolution permitting us to be subject to a 150% asset coverage ratio effective as of October 12, 2018. If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy the asset coverage test. If that happens, we may be required to sell a portion of our investments and, depending on the nature of our leverage, repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when such sales may be disadvantageous. Also, any amounts that we use to service our indebtedness would not be available for distributions to our common stockholders. Furthermore, as a result of issuing senior securities, we would also be exposed to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss. In addition, because our management fee is calculated as a percentage of our gross assets, which includes any borrowings for investment purposes, the management fee expenses will increase if we incur additional indebtedness.

As of December 31, 2019, we had $117.9 million outstanding under our senior secured revolving credit facility (the “Credit Facility”), composed of $42.9 million of revolving credit and $75.0 million outstanding of

 

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term loans, and $30.0 million outstanding under our NEFPASS Facility. We also had $75.0 million outstanding of the 2026 Unsecured Notes, $125.0 million outstanding of the 2024 Unsecured Notes, $75.0 million outstanding of the 2023 Unsecured Notes, $150.0 million outstanding of the 2022 Unsecured Notes, and $21.0 million outstanding of the 2022 Tranche C Notes. If we issue preferred stock, the preferred stock would rank “senior” to common stock in our capital structure, preferred stockholders would generally vote together with common stockholders but would have separate voting rights on certain matters and might have other rights, preferences, or privileges more favorable than those of our common stockholders, and the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in your best interest.

We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the then-current net asset value per share of our common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of Solar Capital and its stockholders, and our stockholders approve such sale. In any such case, the price at which our securities are to be issued and sold may not be less than a price that, in the determination of our board of directors, closely approximates the market value of such securities (less any distributing commission or discount). If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, then the percentage ownership of our stockholders at that time will decrease, and you might experience dilution. This dilution would occur as a result of a proportionately greater decrease in a stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. Because the number of future shares of common stock that may be issued below our net asset value per share and the price and timing of such issuances are not currently known, we cannot predict the actual dilutive effect of any such issuance. We cannot determine the resulting reduction in our net asset value per share of any such issuance. We also cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our net asset value.

At our 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting, our stockholders approved our ability to sell or otherwise issue shares of our common stock, not exceeding 25% of our then outstanding common stock immediately prior to each such offering, at a price or prices below the then current net asset value per share, in each case subject to the approval of our board of directors and compliance with the conditions set forth in the proxy statement pertaining thereto, during a period beginning on October 8, 2019 and expiring on the earlier of the one-year anniversary of the date of the 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting and the date of our 2020 Annual Stockholders Meeting. However, notwithstanding such stockholder approval, since our initial public offering on February 9, 2010, we have not sold any shares of our common stock in an offering that resulted in proceeds to us of less than our then current net asset value per share. Any offering of our common stock that requires stockholder approval must occur, if at all, within one year after receiving such stockholder approval.

Our credit ratings may not reflect all risks of an investment in our debt securities.

Our credit ratings are an assessment by third parties of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of our publicly issued debt securities. Our credit ratings, however, may not reflect the potential impact of risks related to market conditions generally or other factors discussed above on the market value of, or trading market for, any publicly issued debt securities.

Our stockholders may experience dilution in their ownership percentage if they opt out of our dividend reinvestment plan.

All distributions declared in cash payable to stockholders that are participants in our dividend reinvestment plan are automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. In the event we issue new shares in connection with our dividend reinvestment plan, our stockholders that do not elect to receive distributions in shares of common stock may experience dilution in their ownership percentage over time as a result of such issuance.

 

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We have and will continue to borrow money, which would magnify the potential for loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing in us.

We borrow money as part of our business plan. Borrowings, also known as leverage magnify the potential for loss on amounts invested and, therefore, increase the risks associated with investing in our securities. As of December 31, 2019, we had $117.9 million outstanding under our Credit Facility, composed of $42.9 million of revolving credit and $75.0 million outstanding of term loans, and $30.0 million outstanding under our NEFPASS Facility. We also had $75.0 million outstanding of the 2026 Unsecured Notes, $125.0 million outstanding of the 2024 Unsecured Notes, $75.0 million outstanding of the 2023 Unsecured Notes, $150.0 million outstanding of the 2022 Unsecured Notes, and $21.0 million outstanding of the 2022 Tranche C Notes. We may borrow from and issue senior debt securities to banks, insurance companies and other lenders in the future. Lenders of these senior securities, including the Credit Facility, the 2026 Unsecured Notes, the 2024 Unsecured Notes, the 2022 Unsecured Notes, the 2023 Unsecured Notes, and the 2022 Tranche C Notes, will have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of our common stockholders, and we would expect such lenders to seek recovery against our assets in the event of a default. If the value of our assets increases, then leveraging would cause the net asset value attributable to our common stock to increase more sharply than it would have had we not leveraged. Conversely, if the value of our assets decreases, leveraging would cause net asset value to decline more sharply than it otherwise would have had we not leveraged. Similarly, any decrease in our income would cause net income to decline more sharply than it would have had we not borrowed. Also, any increase in our income in excess of interest payable on the borrowed funds would cause our net investment income to increase more than it would without the leverage, while any decrease in our income would cause net investment income to decline more sharply than it would have had we not borrowed. Such a decline could also negatively affect our ability to make distribution payments on our common stock, scheduled debt payments or other payments related to our securities. Leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique. Our ability to service any debt that we incur will depend largely on our financial performance and will be subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. Moreover, as the management fee payable to our investment adviser, Solar Capital Partners, will be payable based on our gross assets, including those assets acquired through the use of leverage, Solar Capital Partners will have a financial incentive to incur leverage which may not be consistent with our stockholders’ interests. In addition, our common stockholders will bear the burden of any increase in our expenses as a result of leverage, including any increase in the management fee payable to Solar Capital Partners.

As a BDC, we had generally been required to meet a coverage ratio of total assets to total borrowings and other senior securities, which include all of our borrowings and any preferred stock that we may issue in the future, of at least 200%. However, our stockholders have approved a resolution permitting us to be subject to a 150% asset coverage ratio effective as of October 12, 2018. Even though we are subject to a 150% asset coverage ratio effective as of October 12, 2018, contractual leverage limitations under our existing credit facilities or future borrowings may limit our ability to incur additional indebtedness. On November 21, 2018, we entered into Amendment No. 3 to the Credit Facility which, among other things, reduced the asset coverage covenant in the Credit Facility from 200% to 150% and made certain related changes to the borrowing base calculations. On August 28, 2019, we entered into a new Senior Secured Credit Agreement to replace and refinance the Credit Facility, which permits 150% asset coverage. Some of our wholly and/or substantially owned portfolio companies, including Crystal Financial LLC and NEF Holdings, may incur significantly more leverage than we can but we do not consolidate Crystal Financial LLC and NEF Holdings and their leverage is non-recourse to us. Additionally, the Credit Facility requires us to comply with certain financial and other restrictive covenants including maintaining an asset coverage ratio of not less than 150% at any time. Failure to maintain compliance with these covenants could result in an event of default and all of our debt being declared immediately due and payable. If this ratio declines below 150%, we may not be able to incur additional debt and could be required by law to sell a portion of our investments to repay some debt when it is disadvantageous to do so, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations, and we may not be able to make distributions. The amount of leverage that we employ will depend on our investment adviser’s and our board of directors’ assessment of market and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain credit at all or on terms acceptable to us.

 

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In addition, our credit facilities impose, and any other debt facility into which we may enter would likely impose, financial and operating covenants that restrict our business activities, including limitations that could hinder our ability to finance additional loans and investments or to make the distributions required to maintain RIC tax treatment under Subchapter M of the Code.

Illustration. The following table illustrates the effect of leverage on returns from an investment in our common stock assuming various annual returns on our portfolio, net of interest expense. The calculations in the table below are hypothetical and actual returns may be higher or lower than those appearing in the table below.

 

     Assumed total return
(net of interest expense)
 
     (10)%     (5)%     0%     5%     10%  

Corresponding return to stockholder(1)

     (24.5 )%      (13.7 )%      (3.0 )%      7.8     18.6

 

(1)

Assumes $1.95 billion in total assets and $593.9 million in total debt outstanding, which reflects our total assets and total debt outstanding as of December 31, 2019, and a cost of funds of 4.52%. Excludes non-leverage related expenses.

In order for us to cover our annual interest payments on our outstanding indebtedness at December 31, 2019, we must achieve annual returns on our December 31, 2019 total assets of at least 1.4%.

It is likely that the terms of any current or future long-term or revolving credit or warehouse facility we may enter into in the future could constrain our ability to grow our business.

Our current lenders have, and any future lender or lenders may have, fixed dollar claims on our assets that are senior to the claims of our stockholders and, thus, will have a preference over our stockholders with respect to our assets in the collateral pool. Our current credit facilities and borrowings also subject us to various financial and operating covenants, including, but not limited to, maintaining certain financial ratios and minimum tangible net worth amounts. Future credit facilities and borrowings will likely subject us to similar or additional covenants. In addition, we may grant a security interest in our assets in connection with any such credit facilities and borrowings.

Our credit facilities generally contain customary default provisions such as a minimum net worth amount, a profitability test, and a restriction on changing our business and loan quality standards. In addition, our credit facilities require or are expected to require the repayment of all outstanding debt on the maturity which may disrupt our business and potentially the business of our portfolio companies that are financed through our credit facilities. An event of default under our credit facilities would likely result, among other things, in termination of the availability of further funds under our credit facilities and accelerated maturity dates for all amounts outstanding under our credit facilities, which would likely disrupt our business and, potentially, the business of the portfolio companies whose loans we finance through our credit facilities. This could reduce our revenues and, by delaying any cash payment allowed to us under our credit facilities until the lender has been paid in full, reduce our liquidity and cash flow and impair our ability to grow our business and maintain RIC tax treatment.

The terms of future available financing may place limits on our financial and operation flexibility. If we are unable to obtain sufficient capital in the future, we may be forced to reduce or discontinue our operations, not be able to make new investments, or otherwise respond to changing business conditions or competitive pressures.

Our quarterly and annual operating results are subject to fluctuation as a result of the nature of our business, and if we fail to achieve our investment objective, the net asset value of our common stock may decline.

We could experience fluctuations in our quarterly and annual operating results due to a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control, including, but not limited to, the interest rate payable on the debt

 

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securities that we acquire, the default rate on such securities, the level of our expenses, variations in and the timing of the recognition of realized and unrealized gains or losses, changes in our portfolio composition, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets, market volatility in our publicly traded securities and the securities of our portfolio companies, and general economic conditions. As a result of these factors, results for any period should not be relied upon as being indicative of performance in future periods. In addition, any of these factors could negatively impact our ability to achieve our investment objectives, which may cause our net asset value of our common stock to decline.

Our investments may be in portfolio companies that may have limited operating histories and financial resources.

We expect that our portfolio will continue to consist of investments that may have relatively limited operating histories. These companies may be particularly vulnerable to U.S. and foreign economic downturns such as the U.S. recession that began in mid-2007 and the European financial crisis, may have more limited access to capital and higher funding costs, may have a weaker financial position and may need more capital to expand or compete. These businesses also may experience substantial variations in operating results. They may face intense competition, including from companies with greater financial, technical and marketing resources. Furthermore, some of these companies do business in regulated industries and could be affected by changes in government regulation. Accordingly, these factors could impair their cash flow or result in other events, such as bankruptcy, which could limit their ability to repay their obligations to us, and may adversely affect the return on, or the recovery of, our investment in these companies. We cannot assure you that any of our investments in our portfolio companies will be successful. Our portfolio companies compete with larger, more established companies with greater access to, and resources for, further development in these new technologies. Therefore, we may lose our entire investment in any or all of our portfolio companies.

There will be uncertainty as to the value of our portfolio investments, which may impact our net asset value.

A large percentage of our portfolio investments are in the form of securities that are not publicly traded. The fair value of securities and other investments that are not publicly traded may not be readily determinable. We value these securities and the 2022 Unsecured Notes on a quarterly basis in accordance with our valuation policy, which is at all times consistent with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Our board of directors utilizes the services of third-party valuation firms to aid it in determining the fair value of material assets. The board of directors discusses valuations and determines the fair value in good faith based on the input of our investment adviser and, when utilized, the respective third-party valuation firms. The factors that may be considered in fair value pricing our investments include the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, comparisons to publicly traded companies, discounted cash flow and other relevant factors. Because such valuations, and particularly valuations of private securities and private companies, are inherently uncertain, may fluctuate over short periods of time and may be based on estimates, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would have been used if a ready market for these securities existed. Our net asset value could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair value of our investments were materially higher than the values that we ultimately realize upon the disposal of such securities.

Our equity ownership in a portfolio company may represent a control investment. Our ability to exit an investment in a timely manner because we are in a control position or have access to inside information in the portfolio company could result in a realized loss on the investment.

If we obtain a control investment in a portfolio company our ability to divest ourselves from a debt or equity investment could be restricted due to illiquidity in a private stock, limited trading volume on a public company’s stock, inside information on a company’s performance, insider blackout periods, or other factors that could prohibit us from disposing of the investment as we would if it were not a control investment. Additionally, we may choose not to take certain actions to protect a debt investment in a control investment portfolio company. As a result, we could experience a decrease in the value of our portfolio company holdings and potentially incur a realized loss on the investment.

 

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There are significant potential conflicts of interest, including Solar Capital Partners’ management of other investment funds such as Solar Senior Capital Ltd. and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC, which could impact our investment returns, and an investment in Solar Capital Ltd. is not an investment in Solar Senior Capital Ltd. or SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC.

Our executive officers and directors, as well as the current and future partners of our investment adviser, Solar Capital Partners, may serve as officers, directors or principals of entities that operate in the same or a related line of business as we do. For example, Solar Capital Partners presently serves as the investment adviser to Solar Senior Capital Ltd., a publicly-traded BDC that focuses on investing primarily in senior secured loans, including first lien and stretch-senior debt instruments, and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC, an unlisted BDC that focuses on investing primarily in senior secured loans, including non-traditional asset-based loans and first lien loans. In addition, Michael S. Gross, our Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer and President, Bruce Spohler, our Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer and board member, and Richard L. Peteka, our Chief Financial Officer, serve in similar capacities for Solar Senior Capital Ltd. and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC. Accordingly, they may have obligations to investors in those entities, the fulfillment of which obligations might not be in the best interests of us or our stockholders. In addition, we note that any affiliated investment vehicle formed in the future and managed by our investment adviser or its affiliates may, notwithstanding different stated investment objectives, have overlapping investment objectives with our own and, accordingly, may invest in asset classes similar to those targeted by us. As a result, Solar Capital Partners may face conflicts in allocating investment opportunities between us and such other entities. Although Solar Capital Partners will endeavor to allocate investment opportunities in a fair and equitable manner, it is possible that, in the future, we may not be given the opportunity to participate in investments made by investment funds managed by our investment adviser or an investment manager affiliated with our investment adviser. In any such case, when Solar Capital Partners identifies an investment, it will be forced to choose which investment fund should make the investment.

As a BDC, we were substantially limited in our ability to co-invest in privately negotiated transactions with affiliated funds until we obtained an exemptive order from the SEC on July 28, 2014 (the “Prior Exemptive Order”). The Prior Exemptive Order permitted us to participate in negotiated co-investment transactions with certain affiliates, each of whose investment adviser is Solar Capital Partners, in a manner consistent with our investment objective, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions as well as regulatory requirements and other pertinent factors, and pursuant to the conditions to the Prior Exemptive Order. On June 13, 2017, the Company, Solar Senior Capital Ltd., and Solar Capital Partners received an exemptive order (the “Exemptive Order”) that would supersedes the Prior Exemptive Order and extends the relief granted in the Prior Exemptive Order such that it no longer applies to certain affiliates only if their respective investment adviser is Solar Capital Partners, but also applies to certain affiliates whose investment adviser is an investment adviser that controls, is controlled by or is under common control with Solar Capital Partners and is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. The terms and conditions of the Exemptive Order are otherwise substantially similar to the Prior Exemptive Order. If we are unable to rely on the Exemptive Order for a particular opportunity, such opportunity will be allocated first to the entity whose investment strategy is the most consistent with the opportunity being allocated, and second, if the terms of the opportunity are consistent with more than one entity’s investment strategy, on an alternating basis. Although our investment professionals will endeavor to allocate investment opportunities in a fair and equitable manner, we and our common stockholders could be adversely affected to the extent investment opportunities are allocated among us and other investment vehicles managed or sponsored by, or affiliated with, our executive officers, directors and members of our investment adviser.

Solar Capital Partners and certain investment advisory affiliates may determine that an investment is appropriate for us and for one or more of those other funds. In such event, depending on the availability of such investment and other appropriate factors, Solar Capital Partners or its affiliates may determine that we should invest side-by-side with one or more other funds. Any such investments will be made only to the extent permitted by applicable law and interpretive positions of the SEC and its staff, and consistent with Solar Capital Partners’

 

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allocation procedures. Related party transactions may occur among Solar Capital Ltd., Crystal Financial LLC, Equipment Operating Leases LLC and NEF Holdings. These transactions may occur in the normal course of business. No administrative fees are paid to Solar Capital Partners by Crystal Financial LLC, Equipment Operating Leases LLC or NEF Holdings.

In the ordinary course of our investing activities, we pay management and incentive fees to Solar Capital Partners and reimburse Solar Capital Partners for certain expenses it incurs. As a result, investors in our common stock will invest on a “gross” basis and receive distributions on a “net” basis after expenses, resulting in a lower rate of return than an investor might achieve through direct investments. Accordingly, there may be times when the management team of Solar Capital Partners has interests that differ from those of our stockholders, giving rise to a conflict.

We have entered into a royalty-free license agreement with our investment adviser, pursuant to which our investment adviser has granted us a non-exclusive license to use the name “Solar Capital.” Under the license agreement, we have the right to use the “Solar Capital” name for so long as Solar Capital Partners or one of its affiliates remains our investment adviser. In addition, we pay Solar Capital Management, an affiliate of Solar Capital Partners, our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by Solar Capital Management in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent, the fees and expenses associated with performing compliance functions, and our allocable portion of the compensation of our chief compliance officer and our chief financial officer and their respective staffs. These arrangements create conflicts of interest that our board of directors must monitor.

Our ability to enter into transactions involving derivatives and financial commitment transactions may be limited.

In November 2019, the SEC proposed a rule regarding the ability of a BDC (or a registered investment company) to use derivatives and other transactions that create future payment or delivery obligations (except reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions). If adopted as proposed, BDCs that use derivatives would be subject to a value-at-risk (“VaR”) leverage limit, certain other derivatives risk management program and testing requirements and requirements related to board reporting. These new requirements would apply unless the BDC qualified as a “limited derivatives user,” as defined in the SEC’s proposal. A BDC that enters into reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions would need to aggregate the amount of indebtedness associated with the reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions with the aggregate amount of any other senior securities representing indebtedness when calculating the BDC’s asset coverage ratio. Under the proposed rule, a BDC may enter into an unfunded commitment agreement that is not a derivatives transaction, such as an agreement to provide financing to a portfolio company, if the BDC has a reasonable belief, at the time it enters into such an agreement, that it will have sufficient cash and cash equivalents to meet its obligations with respect to all of its unfunded commitment agreements, in each case as it becomes due. If the BDC cannot meet this test, it is required to treat unfunded commitments as a derivatives transaction subject to the requirements of the rule. Collectively, these proposed requirements, if adopted, may limit our ability to use derivatives and/or enter into certain other financial contracts.

We may be obligated to pay our investment adviser incentive compensation even if we incur a loss.

Our investment adviser will be entitled to incentive compensation for each fiscal quarter in an amount equal to a percentage of the excess of our pre-incentive fee net investment income for that quarter (before deducting incentive compensation) above a performance threshold for that quarter. Accordingly, since the performance threshold is based on a percentage of our net asset value, decreases in our net asset value make it easier to achieve the performance threshold. Our pre-incentive fee net investment income for incentive compensation purposes excludes realized and unrealized capital losses or depreciation that we may incur in the fiscal quarter, even if such capital losses or depreciation result in a net loss on our statement of operations for that quarter. Thus, we may be required to pay Solar Capital Partners incentive compensation for a fiscal quarter even if there is a decline in the value of our portfolio or we incur a net loss for that quarter.

 

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Our incentive fee may induce Solar Capital Partners to pursue speculative investments.

The incentive fee payable by us to Solar Capital Partners may create an incentive for Solar Capital Partners to pursue investments on our behalf that are riskier or more speculative than would be the case in the absence of such compensation arrangement. The incentive fee payable to our investment adviser is calculated based on a percentage of our return on invested capital. This may encourage our investment adviser to use leverage to increase the return on our investments. Under certain circumstances, the use of leverage may increase the likelihood of default, which would impair the value of our common stock. In addition, our investment adviser receives the incentive fee based, in part, upon net capital gains realized on our investments. Unlike that portion of the incentive fee based on income, there is no hurdle rate applicable to the portion of the incentive fee based on net capital gains. As a result, our investment adviser may have a tendency to invest more capital in investments that are likely to result in capital gains as compared to income producing securities. Such a practice could result in our investing in more speculative securities than would otherwise be the case, which could result in higher investment losses, particularly during economic downturns.

The incentive fee payable by us to our investment adviser also may induce Solar Capital Partners to invest on our behalf in instruments that have a deferred interest feature, even if such deferred payments would not provide cash necessary to enable us to pay current distributions to our stockholders. Under these investments, we would accrue interest over the life of the investment but would not receive the cash income from the investment until the end of the term. Our net investment income used to calculate the income portion of our investment fee, however, includes accrued interest. Thus, a portion of this incentive fee would be based on income that we have not received in cash. In addition, the “catch-up” portion of the incentive fee may encourage Solar Capital Partners to accelerate or defer interest payable by portfolio companies from one calendar quarter to another, potentially resulting in fluctuations in timing and distribution amounts.

We may invest, to the extent permitted by law, in the securities and instruments of other investment companies, including private funds, and, to the extent we so invest, will bear our ratable share of any such investment company’s expenses, including management and performance fees. We will also remain obligated to pay management and incentive fees to Solar Capital Partners with respect to the assets invested in the securities and instruments of other investment companies. With respect to each of these investments, each of our stockholders will bear his or her share of the management and incentive fee of Solar Capital Partners as well as indirectly bearing the management and performance fees and other expenses of any investment companies in which we invest.

We may become subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax if we are unable to qualify and maintain our qualification for tax treatment as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code.

Although we have elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, no assurance can be given that we will continue to be able to qualify for and maintain RIC tax treatment. To maintain RIC tax treatment under the Code, we must meet the following annual distribution, income source and asset diversification requirements.

 

   

The Annual Distribution Requirement for a RIC will be satisfied if we distribute to our stockholders on an annual basis at least 90% of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any. Because we may use debt financing, we are subject to certain asset coverage ratio requirements under the 1940 Act and financial covenants under loan and credit agreements that could, under certain circumstances, restrict us from making distributions necessary to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources, we could fail to qualify for RIC tax treatment and thus become subject to corporate-level U.S federal income tax.

 

   

The income source requirement will be satisfied if we obtain at least 90% of our income for each year from certain passive investments, including interest, dividends, gains from the sale of stock or securities or similar sources.

 

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The asset diversification requirement will be satisfied if we meet certain asset diversification requirements at the end of each quarter of our taxable year. Failure to meet those requirements may result in our having to dispose of certain investments quickly in order to prevent the loss of RIC tax treatment. Because most of our investments will be in private companies, and therefore will be relatively illiquid, any such dispositions could be made at disadvantageous prices and could result in substantial losses.

If we fail to qualify for RIC tax treatment for any reason and become subject to corporate income tax, the resulting corporate taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution and the amount of our distributions. Such a failure could have a material adverse effect on us, the net asset value of our common stock and the total return, if any, obtainable from your investment in our common stock. Any net operating losses that we incur in periods during which we qualify as a RIC will not offset net capital gains (i.e., net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses) that we are otherwise required to distribute, and we cannot pass such net operating losses through to our stockholders. In addition, net operating losses that we carry over to a taxable year in which we qualify as a RIC normally cannot offset ordinary income or capital gains.

We may have difficulty satisfying the Annual Distribution Requirement in order to qualify and maintain RIC tax treatment if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.

In accordance with GAAP and tax requirements, we include in income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as contractual PIK interest, which represents contractual interest added to a loan balance and due at the end of such loan’s term. In addition to the cash yields received on our loans, in some instances, certain loans may also include any of the following: end-of-term payments, exit fees, balloon payment fees or prepayment fees. The increases in loan balances as a result of contractual PIK arrangements are included in income for the period in which such PIK interest was accrued, which is often in advance of receiving cash payment, and are separately identified on our statements of cash flows. We also may be required to include in income certain other amounts prior to receiving the related cash.

Any warrants that we receive in connection with our debt investments will generally be valued as part of the negotiation process with the particular portfolio company. As a result, a portion of the aggregate purchase price for the debt investments and warrants will be allocated to the warrants that we receive. This will generally result in “original issue discount” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which we must recognize as ordinary income, increasing the amount that we are required to distribute to qualify for the U.S. federal income tax benefits applicable to RICs. Because these warrants generally will not produce distributable cash for us at the same time as we are required to make distributions in respect of the related original issue discount, we would need to obtain cash from other sources or to pay a portion of our distributions using shares of newly issued common stock, consistent with Internal Revenue Service requirements, to satisfy the Annual Distribution and Excise Tax Avoidance requirements.

Other features of the debt instruments that we hold may also cause such instruments to generate an original issue discount, resulting in a distribution requirement in excess of current cash interest received. Since in certain cases we may recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty meeting the RIC tax requirement to distribute at least 90% of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any. Under such circumstances, we may have to sell some of our investments at times we would not consider advantageous, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investment originations to meet these distribution requirements. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources and are otherwise unable to satisfy such distribution requirements, we may fail to qualify for the U.S. federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs and, thus, become subject to a corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on all our income.

The higher yields and interest rates on PIK securities reflects the payment deferral and increased credit risk associated with such instruments and that such investments may represent a significantly higher credit risk than

 

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coupon loans. PIK securities may have unreliable valuations because their continuing accruals require continuing judgments about the collectability of the deferred payments and the value of any associated collateral. PIK interest has the effect of generating investment income and increasing the incentive fees payable at a compounding rate. In addition, the deferral of PIK interest also increases the loan-to-value ratio at a compounding rate. PIK securities create the risk that incentive fees will be paid to our investment adviser based on non-cash accruals that ultimately may not be realized, but our investment adviser will be under no obligation to reimburse the Company for these fees.

Provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law and of our charter and bylaws could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.

The Maryland General Corporation Law and our charter and bylaws contain provisions that may discourage, delay or make more difficult a change in control of Solar Capital or the removal of our directors. We are subject to the Maryland Business Combination Act, subject to any applicable requirements of the 1940 Act. Our board of directors has adopted a resolution exempting from the Maryland Business Combination Act any business combination between us and any other person, subject to prior approval of such business combination by our board of directors, including approval by a majority of our disinterested directors. If the resolution exempting business combinations is repealed or our board of directors does not approve a business combination, the Maryland Business Combination Act may discourage third parties from trying to acquire control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating such an offer. Our bylaws exempt from the Maryland Control Share Acquisition Act (the “Control Share Act”) acquisitions of our stock by any person. If we amend our bylaws to repeal the exemption from the Control Share Act, the Control Share Act also may make it more difficult for a third party to obtain control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating such a transaction. However, we will amend our bylaws to be subject to the Control Share Act only if our board of directors determines that it would be in our best interests and if the SEC staff does not object to our determination that our being subject to the Control Share Act does not conflict with the 1940 Act. The SEC staff has issued informal guidance setting forth its position that certain provisions of the Control Share Act would, if implemented, violate Section 18(i) of the 1940 Act.

We have also adopted measures that may make it difficult for a third party to obtain control of us, including provisions of our charter classifying our board of directors in three classes serving staggered three-year terms, and authorizing our board of directors to classify or reclassify shares of our stock in one or more classes or series, to cause the issuance of additional shares of our stock and to amend our charter without stockholder approval to increase or decrease the number of shares of stock that we have authority to issue. These provisions, as well as other provisions of our charter and bylaws, may delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders.

The foregoing provisions are expected to discourage certain coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids and to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to negotiate first with our board of directors. However, these provisions may deprive a stockholder of the opportunity to sell such stockholder’s shares at a premium to a potential acquirer. We believe that the benefits of these provisions outweigh the potential disadvantages of discouraging any such acquisition proposals because, among other things, the negotiation of such proposals may improve their terms. Our board of directors has considered both the positive and negative effects of the foregoing provisions and determined that they are in the best interest of our stockholders.

The failure in cyber security systems, as well as the occurrence of events unanticipated in our disaster recovery systems and management continuity planning could impair our ability to conduct business effectively.

The occurrence of a disaster, such as a cyber-attack against us or against a third-party that has access to our data or networks, a natural catastrophe, an industrial accident, failure of our disaster recovery systems, or

 

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consequential employee error, could have an adverse effect on our ability to communicate or conduct business, negatively impacting our operations and financial condition. This adverse effect can become particularly acute if those events affect our electronic data processing, transmission, storage, and retrieval systems, or impact the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of our data.

We depend heavily upon computer systems to perform necessary business functions. Despite our implementation of a variety of security measures, our computer systems, networks, and data, like those of other companies, could be subject to cyber-attacks and unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction, such as from physical and electronic break-ins or unauthorized tampering. If one or more of these events occurs, it could potentially jeopardize the confidential, proprietary, and other information processed, stored in, and transmitted through our computer systems and networks. Such an attack could cause interruptions or malfunctions in our operations, which could result in financial losses, litigation, regulatory penalties, client dissatisfaction or loss, reputational damage, and increased costs associated with mitigation of damages and remediation. If unauthorized parties gain access to such information and technology systems, they may be able to steal, publish, delete or modify private and sensitive information, including nonpublic personal information related to stockholders (and their beneficial owners) and material nonpublic information. The systems we have implemented to manage risks relating to these types of events could prove to be inadequate and, if compromised, could become inoperable for extended periods of time, cease to function properly or fail to adequately secure private information. Breaches such as those involving covertly introduced malware, impersonation of authorized users and industrial or other espionage may not be identified even with sophisticated prevention and detection systems, potentially resulting in further harm and preventing them from being addressed appropriately. The failure of these systems or of disaster recovery plans for any reason could cause significant interruptions in our and our Adviser’s operations and result in a failure to maintain the security, confidentiality or privacy of sensitive data, including personal information relating to stockholders, material nonpublic information and other sensitive information in our possession.

A disaster or a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our business, including a disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, or directly affecting our headquarters, could have a material adverse impact on our ability to continue to operate our business without interruption. Our disaster recovery programs may not be sufficient to mitigate the harm that may result from such a disaster or disruption. In addition, insurance and other safeguards might only partially reimburse us for our losses, if at all.

Third parties with which we do business may also be sources of cybersecurity or other technological risk. We outsource certain functions and these relationships allow for the storage and processing of our information, as well as client, counterparty, employee, and borrower information. While we engage in actions to reduce our exposure resulting from outsourcing, ongoing threats may result in unauthorized access, loss, exposure, destruction, or other cybersecurity incident that affects our data, resulting in increased costs and other consequences as described above.

In addition, cybersecurity has become a top priority for regulators around the world, and some jurisdictions have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals of data security breaches involving certain types of personal data. If we fail to comply with the relevant laws and regulations, we could suffer financial losses, a disruption of our businesses, liability to investors, regulatory intervention or reputational damage.

We can be highly dependent on information systems and systems failures could significantly disrupt our business, which may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay distributions.

Our business is highly dependent on our and third parties’ communications and information systems. Any failure or interruption of those systems, including as a result of the termination of an agreement with any third-party service providers, could cause delays or other problems in our activities. Our financial, accounting, data

 

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processing, backup or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control and adversely affect our business. There could be:

 

   

sudden electrical or telecommunications outages;

 

   

natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes;

 

   

events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts; and

 

   

cyber-attacks.

These events, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

Our board of directors may change our investment objective, operating policies and strategies without prior notice or stockholder approval.

Our board of directors has the authority to modify or waive certain of our operating policies and strategies without prior notice (except as required by the 1940 Act) and without stockholder approval. However, absent stockholder approval, we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as a BDC. We cannot predict the effect any changes to our current operating policies and strategies would have on our business, operating results and value of our stock. Nevertheless, the effects may adversely affect our business and impact our ability to make distributions.

Our business is subject to increasingly complex corporate governance, public disclosure and accounting requirements that could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We are subject to changing rules and regulations of federal and state government as well as the stock exchange on which our common stock is listed. These entities, including the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the SEC and the NASDAQ Stock Market, have issued a significant number of new and increasingly complex requirements and regulations over the course of the last several years and continue to develop additional regulations and requirements in response to laws enacted by Congress. Our efforts to comply with these existing requirements, or any revised or amended requirements, have resulted in, and are likely to continue to result in, an increase in expenses and a diversion of management’s time from other business activities.

Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations may adversely affect our business.

Changes in the laws or regulations, or the interpretations of the laws and regulations, which govern BDCs, RICs or non-depository commercial lenders could significantly affect our operations and our cost of doing business. We are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations and are subject to judicial and administrative decisions that affect our operations, including our loan originations, maximum interest rates, fees and other charges, disclosures to portfolio companies, the terms of secured transactions, collection and foreclosure procedures, and other trade practices. If these laws, regulations or decisions change, or if we expand our business into jurisdictions that have adopted more stringent requirements than those in which we currently conduct business, then we may have to incur significant expenses in order to comply or we may have to restrict our operations. In addition, if we do not comply with applicable laws, regulations and decisions, then we may lose licenses needed for the conduct of our business and be subject to civil fines and criminal penalties, any of which could have a material adverse effect upon our business results of operations or financial condition.

Uncertainty about presidential administration initiatives could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The current administration has called for significant changes to U.S. trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign and government regulatory policy. In this regard, there is significant uncertainty with respect to legislation,

 

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regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Recent events have created a climate of heightened uncertainty and introduced new and difficult-to-quantify macroeconomic and political risks with potentially far-reaching implications. There has been a corresponding meaningful increase in the uncertainty surrounding interest rates, inflation, foreign exchange rates, trade volumes and fiscal and monetary policy. To the extent the U.S. Congress or the current administration implements changes to U.S. policy, those changes may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy, international trade and relations, unemployment, immigration, corporate taxes, healthcare, the U.S. regulatory environment, inflation and other areas.

A particular area identified as subject to potential change, amendment or repeal includes the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the “Dodd-Frank Act,” including the Volcker Rule and various swaps and derivatives regulations, credit risk retention requirements and the authorities of the Federal Reserve, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the SEC. Given the uncertainty associated with the manner in which and whether the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act will be implemented, repealed, amended, or replaced, the full impact such requirements will have on our business, results of operations or financial condition is unclear. The changes resulting from the Dodd-Frank Act or any changes to the regulations already implemented thereunder may require us to invest significant management attention and resources to evaluate and make necessary changes in order to comply with new statutory and regulatory requirements. Failure to comply with any such laws, regulations or principles, or changes thereto, may negatively impact our business, results of operations or financial condition. While we cannot predict what effect any changes in the laws or regulations or their interpretations would have on us as a result of recent financial reform legislation, these changes could be materially adverse to us and our stockholders.

We cannot predict how tax reform legislation will affect us, our investments, or our stockholders, and any such legislation could adversely affect our business.

Legislative or other actions relating to taxes could have a negative effect on us. The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department. In December 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed tax reform legislation, which the President signed into law. Such legislation has made many changes to the Code, including significant changes to the taxation of business entities, the deductibility of interest expense, and the tax treatment of capital investment. We cannot predict with certainty how any changes in the tax laws might affect us, our stockholders, or our portfolio investments. New legislation and any U.S. Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions interpreting such legislation could significantly and negatively affect our ability to qualify for tax treatment as a RIC or the U.S. federal income tax consequences to us and our stockholders of such qualification, or could have other adverse consequences. Stockholders are urged to consult with their tax advisor regarding tax legislative, regulatory, or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in our securities.

Changes to United States tariff and import/export regulations may have a negative effect on our portfolio companies and, in turn, harm us.

There has been ongoing discussion and commentary regarding potential significant changes to United States trade policies, treaties and tariffs. The current administration, along with Congress, has created significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and other countries with respect to the trade policies, treaties and tariffs. These developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets, and may significantly reduce global trade and, in particular, trade between the impacted nations and the United States. Any of these factors could depress economic activity and restrict our portfolio companies’ access to suppliers or customers and have a material adverse effect on their business, financial condition and results of operations, which in turn would negatively impact us.

 

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Our investment adviser can resign on 60 days’ notice, and we may not be able to find a suitable replacement within that time, resulting in a disruption in our operations that could adversely affect our financial condition, business and results of operations.

Our investment adviser has the right, under the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement, to resign at any time upon 60 days’ written notice, whether we have found a replacement or not. If our investment adviser resigns, we may not be able to find a new investment adviser or hire internal management with similar expertise and ability to provide the same or equivalent services on acceptable terms within 60 days, or at all. If we are unable to do so quickly, our operations are likely to experience a disruption, our financial condition, business and results of operations as well as our ability to pay distributions are likely to be adversely affected and the market price of our shares may decline. In addition, the coordination of our internal management and investment activities is likely to suffer if we are unable to identify and reach an agreement with a single institution or group of executives having the expertise possessed by our investment adviser and its affiliates. Even if we are able to retain comparable management, whether internal or external, the integration of such management and their lack of familiarity with our investment objective may result in additional costs and time delays that may adversely affect our financial condition, business and results of operations.

 

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Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

None

 

Item 2.

Properties

Our executive offices are located at 500 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10022, and are provided by Solar Capital Management in accordance with the terms of the Administration Agreement. We believe that our office facilities are suitable and adequate for our business as it is presently conducted.

 

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

We and our consolidated subsidiaries are not currently subject to any material legal proceedings, nor, to our knowledge, is any material legal proceeding threatened against us or our consolidated subsidiaries. From time to time, we and our consolidated subsidiaries may be a party to certain legal proceedings in the ordinary course of business, including proceedings relating to the enforcement of our rights under contracts with our portfolio companies. While the outcome of these legal proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty, we do not expect that these proceedings will have a material effect upon our financial condition or results of operations.

 

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Common Stock

Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “SLRC”. The following table sets forth, for each fiscal quarter during the last two fiscal years, the net asset value (“NAV”) per share of our common stock, the high and low closing sales prices for our common stock, such sales prices as a percentage of NAV per share and quarterly distributions per share.

 

     NAV(1)      Price Range      Premium or
(Discount)
of High Closing
Price
to NAV  (2)
    Premium or
(Discount)
of
Low Closing
Price to
NAV (2)
    Declared
Distributions (3)
 
            High      Low                     

Fiscal 2019

               

Fourth Quarter

   $ 21.44      $ 21.18      $ 19.98        (1.2 )%      (6.8 )%    $ 0.41  

Third Quarter

     21.90        21.07        20.15        (3.8     (8.0     0.41  

Second Quarter

     21.98        21.54        20.18        (2.0     (8.2     0.41  

First Quarter

     21.93        21.75        19.41        (0.8     (11.5     0.41  

Fiscal 2018

               

Fourth Quarter

   $ 21.75      $ 21.51      $ 18.62        (1.1 )%      (14.4 )%    $ 0.41  

Third Quarter

     21.95        21.97        20.56        0.0       (6.3     0.41  

Second Quarter

     21.93        21.68        20.20        (1.1     (7.9     0.41  

First Quarter

     21.87        21.28        19.97        (2.7     (8.7     0.41  

 

(1) 

NAV per share is determined as of the last day in the relevant quarter and therefore may not reflect the NAV per share on the date of the high and low sales prices. The net asset values shown are based on outstanding shares at the end of each period.

(2) 

Calculated as of the respective high or low closing price divided by NAV and subtracting 1.

(3) 

Represents the cash distribution for the specified quarter.

On February 14, 2020 the last reported sales price of our common stock was $20.96 per share. As of February 14, 2020, we had 18 shareholders of record.

Shares of BDCs may trade at a market price that is less than the value of the net assets attributable to those shares. The possibility that our shares of common stock will trade at a discount from net asset value or at premiums that are unsustainable over the long term are separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value will decrease. Since our IPO on February 9, 2010, our shares of common stock have traded at both a discount and a premium to the net assets attributable to those shares. As of February 14, 2020, our shares of common stock traded at a discount equal to approximately 2.2% of the net assets attributable to those shares based upon our net asset value as of December 31, 2019. It is not possible to predict whether the shares offered hereby will trade at, above, or below net asset value.

DISTRIBUTIONS

Tax characteristics of all distributions will be reported to stockholders on Form 1099 after the end of the calendar year. Future quarterly distributions, if any, will be determined by our Board. We expect that our distributions to stockholders will generally be from accumulated net investment income, from net realized capital gains or non-taxable return of capital, if any, as applicable.

 

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We have elected to be taxed as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. To maintain our RIC tax treatment, we must distribute at least 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any, out of the assets legally available for distribution. In addition, although we currently intend to distribute realized net capital gains (i.e., net long-term capital gains in excess of short-term capital losses), if any, at least annually, out of the assets legally available for such distributions, we may in the future decide to retain such capital gains for investment.

We maintain an “opt out” dividend reinvestment plan for our common stockholders. As a result, if we declare a distribution, then stockholders’ cash distributions will be automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock, unless they specifically “opt out” of the dividend reinvestment plan so as to receive cash distributions.

We may not be able to achieve operating results that will allow us to make distributions at a specific level or to increase the amount of these distributions from time to time. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may in the future be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, our revolving credit facility may limit our ability to declare distributions if we default under certain provisions. If we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income annually, we will suffer adverse tax consequences, including possible loss of the tax benefits available to us as a regulated investment company. In addition, in accordance with GAAP and tax regulations, we include in income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as contractual payment-in-kind interest, which represents contractual interest added to the loan balance that becomes due at the end of the loan term, or the accrual of original issue or market discount. Since we may recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty meeting the requirement to distribute at least 90% of our investment company taxable income to obtain tax benefits as a regulated investment company.

With respect to the distributions to stockholders, income from origination, structuring, closing and certain other upfront fees associated with investments in portfolio companies are treated as taxable income and accordingly, distributed to stockholders.

We cannot assure stockholders that they will receive any distributions at a particular level.

All distributions declared in cash payable to stockholders that are participants in our dividend reinvestment plan are generally automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. As a result, stockholders that do not participate in the dividend reinvestment plan may experience dilution over time. Stockholders who do not elect to receive distributions in shares of common stock may experience accretion to the net asset value of their shares if our shares are trading at a premium and dilution if our shares are trading at a discount. The level of accretion or discount would depend on various factors, including the proportion of our stockholders who participate in the plan, the level of premium or discount at which our shares are trading and the amount of the distribution payable to a stockholder.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

STOCK PERFORMANCE GRAPH

This graph compares the cumulative total return on our common stock with that of the Standard & Poor’s BDC Index, Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index and the Russell 2000 Financial Services Index, for the period

 

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from December 31, 2014 through December 31, 2019. The graph assumes that a person invested $10,000 in each of the following: our common stock (SLRC), the S&P BDC Index, the S&P 500 Index, and the Russell 2000 Financial Services Index. The graph measures total stockholder return, which takes into account both changes in stock price and dividends. It assumes that dividends paid are invested in additional shares of the same class of equity securities at the frequency with which dividends are paid of such securities during the applicable fiscal year.

 

LOGO

The graph and other information furnished under this Part II Item 5 of this Form 10-K shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the 1934 Act. The stock price performance included in the above graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

 

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FEES AND EXPENSES

The following table is intended to assist an investor in understanding the costs and expenses that you will bear directly or indirectly. We caution you that some of the percentages indicated in the table below are estimates and may vary. Except where the context suggests otherwise, whenever this report contains a reference to fees or expenses paid by “us” or “Solar Capital,” or that “we” will pay fees or expenses, you will indirectly bear such fees or expenses as an investor in Solar Capital Ltd.

 

Stockholder transaction expenses:

  

Sales load (as a percentage of offering price)

     —   %(1) 

Offering expenses (as a percentage of offering price)

     —   %(2) 

Dividend reinvestment plan expenses

     —   %(3) 

Total stockholder transaction expenses (as a percentage of offering price)

     —   %(2) 

Annual expenses (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common stock)(4):

  

Base management fee

     2.95 %(5) 

Incentive fees payable under our Investment Advisory and Management Agreement (up to 20%)

     2.00 %(6) 

Interest payments on borrowed funds

     3.19 %(7) 

Acquired fund fees and expenses

     —  

Other expenses (estimated)

     0.94 %(8) 

Total annual expenses

     9.08

 

(1)

In the event that the shares of common stock are sold to or through underwriters, a corresponding prospectus supplement will disclose the applicable sales load and the “Example” will be updated accordingly.

(2)

The prospectus supplement corresponding to each offering will disclose the applicable offering expenses and total stockholder transaction expenses.

(3)

The expenses of the dividend reinvestment plan are included in “other expenses.”

(4) 

Annual Expenses are presented in this manner because common shareholders will bear all costs of running the Company.

(5)

Our 1.75% base management fee under the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement is based on our gross assets, which is defined as all the assets of Solar Capital, excluding temporary assets, including those acquired using borrowings for investment purposes, and assumes our gross assets remain consistent with gross assets for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

(6)

Assumes that annual incentive fees earned by our investment adviser, Solar Capital Partners, remain consistent with the incentive fees earned by Solar Capital Partners for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. The incentive fee consists of two parts:

The first part, which is payable quarterly in arrears, equals 20% of the excess, if any, of our “Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income” that exceeds a 1.75% quarterly (7.00% annualized) hurdle rate, which we refer to as the Hurdle, subject to a “catch-up” provision measured at the end of each calendar quarter. The first part of the incentive fee is computed and paid on income that may include interest that is accrued but not yet received in cash. The operation of the first part of the incentive fee for each quarter is as follows:

 

   

no incentive fee is payable to our investment adviser in any calendar quarter in which our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income does not exceed the Hurdle of 1.75%;

 

   

100% of our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income with respect to that portion of such Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income, if any, that exceeds the Hurdle but is less than 2.1875% in any calendar quarter (8.75% annualized) is payable to our investment adviser. We refer to this portion of our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income (which exceeds the Hurdle but is less than 2.1875%) as the “catch-up.” The “catch-up” is meant to provide our investment adviser with 20% of our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income, as if a Hurdle did not apply when our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter; and

 

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20% of the amount of our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income, if any, that exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter (8.75% annualized) is payable to our investment adviser (once the Hurdle is reached and the catch-up is achieved, 20% of all Pre-Incentive Fee Investment Income thereafter is allocated to our investment adviser).

The second part of the incentive fee equals 20% of our “Incentive Fee Capital Gains,” if any, which equals our realized capital gains on a cumulative basis from inception through the end of each calendar year, computed net of all realized capital losses and unrealized capital depreciation on a cumulative basis, less the aggregate amount of any previously paid capital gain incentive fees. The second part of the incentive fee is payable, in arrears, at the end of each calendar year (or upon termination of the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement, as of the termination date).

 

(7) 

We have historically and will in the future borrow funds from time to time to make investments to the extent we determine that the economic situation is conducive to doing so. The costs associated with our outstanding borrowings are indirectly born by our investors. For purposes of this section, we have computed interest expense using the average consolidated balance outstanding for borrowings during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. We used the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) rate or similar base rate on December 31, 2019 and the interest rate on the Credit Facility, the NEFPASS Facility, the 2026 Unsecured Notes, the 2024 Unsecured Notes, the 2023 Unsecured Notes, the 2022 Unsecured Notes and the 2022 Tranche C Notes on December 31, 2019. We have also included, as applicable, the estimated amortization of fees incurred in establishing the Credit Facility, the NEFPASS Facility, the 2026 Unsecured Notes, the 2024 Unsecured Notes, the 2023 Unsecured Notes, the 2022 Unsecured Notes and the 2022 Tranche C Notes as of December 31, 2019. Additionally, we included the estimated cost of commitment fees for unused balances on the Credit Facility and the NEFPASS Facility. As of December 31, 2019, we had $117.9 million outstanding under the Credit Facility, $30 million outstanding under our NEFPASS Facility, and $75 million, $125 million, $75 million, $150 million and $21 million outstanding under the 2026 Unsecured Notes, the 2024 Unsecured Notes, the 2023 Unsecured Notes, the 2022 Unsecured Notes and the 2022 Tranche C Notes, respectively. We may also issue preferred stock, subject to our compliance with applicable requirements under the 1940 Act, although we have no immediate intention to do so.

 

(8) 

“Other expenses” are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year, which considers the amounts incurred for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 and include our overhead expenses, including payments under our Administration Agreement based on our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by Solar Capital Management in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement.

Example

The following example demonstrates the projected dollar amount of total cumulative expenses that would be incurred over various periods with respect to a hypothetical investment in our common stock. In calculating the following expense amounts, we have assumed that our annual operating expenses would remain at the levels set forth in the table above and have excluded performance-based incentive fees. As such, the below example is based on an annual expense ratio of 7.08%. See Note 7 below for additional information regarding certain assumptions regarding our level of leverage. In the event that shares are sold to or through underwriters, a corresponding prospectus supplement will restate this example to reflect the applicable sales load.

 

     1 Year      3 Years      5 Years      10 Years  

You would pay the following expenses on a $1,000 investment, assuming a 5% annual return

   $ 71      $ 208      $ 340      $ 645  

The example and the expenses in the tables above should not be considered a representation of our future expenses, and actual expenses may be greater or less than those shown. While the example assumes, as required by the SEC, a 5% annual return, our performance will vary and may result in a return greater or less

 

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than 5%. The incentive fee under the Investment Advisory and Management Agreement, which, assuming a 5% annual return, would either not be payable or would have an insignificant impact on the expense amounts shown above, is not included in the example. This illustration assumes that we will not realize any capital gains (computed net of all realized capital losses and unrealized capital depreciation) in any of the indicated time periods. If we achieve sufficient returns on our investments, including through the realization of capital gains, to trigger an incentive fee of a material amount, our expenses and returns to our investors would be higher. For example, if we assumed that we received our 5% annual return completely in the form of net realized capital gains on our investments, computed net of all cumulative unrealized depreciation on our investments, the projected dollar amount of total cumulative expenses set forth in the above illustration would be as follows:

 

     1 Year      3 Years      5 Years      10 Years  

You would pay the following expenses on a $1,000 investment, assuming a 5% annual return

   $ 81      $ 235      $ 380      $ 705  

In addition, the example assumes no sales load. Also, while the example assumes reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value, participants in our dividend reinvestment plan will receive a number of shares of our common stock, determined by dividing the total dollar amount of the distribution payable to a participant by the market price per share of our common stock at the close of trading on the distribution payment date, which may be at, above or below net asset value unless the company makes open market purchases and the shares received will be determined based on the average price paid by our agent, plus commissions.

 

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Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

The selected financial and other data below should be read in conjunction with our “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto. Financial information is presented for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. Financial information for the periods ending December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 has been derived from our consolidated financial statements that were audited by KPMG LLP (“KPMG”), an independent registered public accounting firm.

 

($ in thousands, except per share data)

   Year ended
December 31,
2019
    Year ended
December 31,
2018
    Year ended
December 31,
2017
    Year ended
December 31,
2016
    Year ended
December 31,
2015
 

Income statement data:

          

Total investment income

   $ 154,711     $ 153,526     $ 143,338     $ 151,839     $ 115,560  

Total expenses

   $ 82,266     $ 78,637     $ 74,975     $ 80,738     $ 51,204  

Net investment income

   $ 72,445     $ 74,889     $ 68,363     $ 71,101     $ 64,356  

Net realized gain (loss)

   $ (1,760   $ 2,078     $ (12,015   $ 776     $ (4,874

Net change in unrealized gain (loss)

   $ (14,669   $ (10,093   $ 14,082     $ 34,938     $ (45,402

Net increase in net assets resulting from operations

   $ 56,016     $ 66,874     $ 70,430     $ 106,815     $ 14,080  

Per share data:

          

Net investment income (1)

   $ 1.71     $ 1.77     $ 1.62     $ 1.68     $ 1.52  

Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)(1)

   $ (0.38   $ (0.19   $ 0.05     $ 0.84     $ (1.18

Dividends and distributions declared

   $ 1.64     $ 1.64     $ 1.60     $ 1.60     $ 1.60  
     As of
December 31,
2019
    As of
December 31,
2018
    As of
December 31,
2017
    As of
December 31,
2016
    As of
December 31,
2015
 

Balance sheet data:

          

Total investment portfolio

   $ 1,494,824     $ 1,456,080     $ 1,461,170     $ 1,304,778     $ 1,312,591  

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 436,354     $ 207,216     $ 150,789     $ 312,046     $ 277,570  

Total assets

   $ 1,949,889     $ 1,683,429     $ 1,641,565     $ 1,650,547     $ 1,620,300  

Debt

   $ 593,900     $ 476,185     $ 541,600     $ 390,200     $ 432,900  

Net assets

   $ 905,880     $ 919,171     $ 921,605     $ 918,507     $ 882,698  

Per share data:

          

Net asset value per share

   $ 21.44     $ 21.75     $ 21.81     $ 21.74     $ 20.79  

Other data (unaudited):

          

Total return(2)

     16.2     2.8     4.5     37.5     (0.3 %) 

Number of portfolio companies at period end

     108       117       93       63       54  

 

(1)

The per-share calculations are based on weighted average shares of 42,260,826, 42,260,826, 42,257,692, 42,258,143 and 42,465,158 for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.

(2)

Total return is based on the change in market price per share during the year and takes into account dividends, if any, reinvested in accordance with the dividend reinvestment plan. Total return does not include a sales load.

 

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Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The information contained in this section should be read in conjunction with the Selected Financial and Other Data and our Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this report.

Some of the statements in this report constitute forward-looking statements, which relate to future events or our future performance or financial condition. The forward-looking statements contained herein involve risks and uncertainties, including statements as to:

 

   

our future operating results;

 

   

our business prospects and the prospects of our portfolio companies;

 

   

the impact of investments that we expect to make;

 

   

our contractual arrangements and relationships with third parties;

 

   

the dependence of our future success on the general economy and its impact on the industries in which we invest;

 

   

the ability of our portfolio companies to achieve their objectives;

 

   

our expected financings and investments;

 

   

the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital; and

 

   

the timing of cash flows, if any, from the operations of our portfolio companies.

We generally use words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “intends” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Our actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements for any reason, including any factors set forth in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report.

We have based the forward-looking statements included in this report on information available to us on the date of this report, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Although we undertake no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, you are advised to consult any additional disclosures that we may make directly to you or through reports that we in the future may file with the SEC, including any annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K.

Overview

Solar Capital LLC, a Maryland limited liability company, was formed in February 2007 and commenced operations on March 13, 2007 with initial capital of $1.2 billion of which 47.04% was funded by affiliated parties.

Solar Capital Ltd. (“Solar Capital”, the “Company”, “we” or “our”), a Maryland corporation formed in November 2007, is a closed-end, externally managed, non-diversified management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company (“BDC”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Furthermore, as the Company is an investment company, it continues to apply the guidance in the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 946. In addition, for tax purposes, the Company has elected to be treated as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).

On February 9, 2010, we priced our initial public offering, selling 5.68 million shares of our common stock. Concurrent with our initial public offering, Michael S. Gross, our Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer and

 

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President, and Bruce Spohler, our Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, collectively purchased an additional 0.6 million shares of our common stock through a private placement transaction exempt from registration under the Securities Act.

We invest primarily in privately held U.S. middle-market companies, where we believe the supply of primary capital is limited and the investment opportunities are most attractive. Our investment objective is to generate both current income and capital appreciation through debt and equity investments. We invest primarily in leveraged middle-market companies in the form of senior secured loans, stretch-senior loans, financing leases and to a lesser extent, unsecured loans and equity securities. From time to time, we may also invest in public companies that are thinly traded. Our business is focused primarily on the direct origination of investments through portfolio companies or their financial sponsors. Our investments generally range between $5 million and $100 million each, although we expect that this investment size will vary proportionately with the size of our capital base and/or with strategic initiatives. Our investment activities are managed by Solar Capital Partners, LLC (the “Investment Adviser”) and supervised by our board of directors, a majority of whom are non-interested, as such term is defined in the 1940 Act. Solar Capital Management, LLC (the “Administrator”) provides the administrative services necessary for us to operate.

In addition, we may invest a portion of our portfolio in other types of investments, which we refer to as opportunistic investments, which are not our primary focus but are intended to enhance our overall returns. These investments may include, but are not limited to, direct investments in public companies that are not thinly traded and securities of leveraged companies located in select countries outside of the United States.

As of December 31, 2019, the Investment Adviser has directly invested approximately $9.0 billion in more than 390 different portfolio companies since 2006. Over the same period, the Investment Adviser completed transactions with approximately 200 different financial sponsors.

Recent Developments

On February 12, 2020, a new lender to the Company executed a commitment increase to our Credit Facility providing for an additional $75.0 million of revolving credit, bringing our Credit Facility’s total revolving credit capacity to $545.0 million.

On February 20, 2020, our Board declared a quarterly distribution of $0.41 per share payable on April 3, 2020 to holders of record as of March 19, 2020.

Investments

Our level of investment activity can and does vary substantially from period to period depending on many factors, including the amount of debt and equity capital available to middle market companies, the level of merger and acquisition activity for such companies, the general economic environment and the competitive environment for the types of investments we make. As a BDC, we must not acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” specified in the 1940 Act unless, at the time the acquisition is made, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets (with certain limited exceptions). Qualifying assets include investments in “eligible portfolio companies.” The definition of “eligible portfolio company” includes certain public companies that do not have any securities listed on a national securities exchange and companies whose securities are listed on a national securities exchange but whose market capitalization is less than $250 million.

Revenue

We generate revenue primarily in the form of interest and dividend income from the securities we hold and capital gains, if any, on investment securities that we may sell. Our debt investments generally have a stated term of three to seven years and typically bear interest at a floating rate usually determined on the basis of a benchmark London interbank offered rate (“LIBOR”), commercial paper rate, or the prime rate. Interest on our debt investments is generally payable monthly or quarterly but may be bi-monthly or semi-annually. In addition, our investments may provide payment-in-kind (“PIK”) interest. Such amounts of accrued PIK interest are added to the cost of the investment on the respective capitalization dates and generally become due at maturity of the

 

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investment or upon the investment being called by the issuer. We may also generate revenue in the form of commitment, origination, structuring fees, fees for providing managerial assistance and, if applicable, consulting fees, etc.

Expenses

All investment professionals of the investment adviser and their respective staffs, when and to the extent engaged in providing investment advisory and management services, and the compensation and routine overhead expenses of such personnel allocable to such services, are provided and paid for by Solar Capital Partners. We bear all other costs and expenses of our operations and transactions, including (without limitation):

 

   

the cost of our organization and public offerings;

 

   

the cost of calculating our net asset value, including the cost of any third-party valuation services;

 

   

the cost of effecting sales and repurchases of our shares and other securities;

 

   

interest payable on debt, if any, to finance our investments;

 

   

fees payable to third parties relating to, or associated with, making investments, including fees and expenses associated with performing due diligence reviews of prospective investments and advisory fees;

 

   

transfer agent and custodial fees;

 

   

fees and expenses associated with marketing efforts;

 

   

federal and state registration fees, any stock exchange listing fees;

 

   

federal, state and local taxes;

 

   

independent directors’ fees and expenses;

 

   

brokerage commissions;

 

   

fidelity bond, directors and officers errors and omissions liability insurance and other insurance premiums;

 

   

direct costs and expenses of administration, including printing, mailing, long distance telephone and staff;

 

   

fees and expenses associated with independent audits and outside legal costs;

 

   

costs associated with our reporting and compliance obligations under the 1940 Act and applicable federal and state securities laws; and

 

   

all other expenses incurred by either Solar Capital Management or us in connection with administering our business, including payments under the Administration Agreement that will be based upon our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by Solar Capital Management in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent, the fees and expenses associated with performing compliance functions, and our allocable portion of the costs of compensation and related expenses of our chief compliance officer and our chief financial officer and their respective staffs.

We expect our general and administrative operating expenses related to our ongoing operations to increase moderately in dollar terms. During periods of asset growth, we generally expect our general and administrative operating expenses to decline as a percentage of our total assets and increase during periods of asset declines. Incentive fees, interest expense and costs relating to future offerings of securities, among others, may also increase or reduce overall operating expenses based on portfolio performance, interest rate benchmarks, and offerings of our securities relative to comparative periods, among other factors.

 

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Portfolio and Investment Activity

During the year ended December 31, 2019, we invested approximately $404 million across over 50 portfolio companies. This compares to investing approximately $586 million in 65 portfolio companies for the year ended December 31, 2018. Investments sold, prepaid or repaid during the year ended December 31, 2019 totaled approximately $362 million versus approximately $624 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

At December 31, 2019, our portfolio consisted of 108 portfolio companies and was invested 31.0% in cash flow senior secured loans, 28.2% in asset-based senior secured loans / Crystal, 21.5% in equipment senior secured financings / NEF, and 19.3% in life science senior secured loans, in each case, measured at fair value, versus 117 portfolio companies invested 33.1% in cash flow senior secured loans, 27.8% in asset-based senior secured loans / Crystal, 21.6% in equipment senior secure financings / NEF, and 17.5% in life science senior secured loans, in each case, measured at fair value, at December 31, 2018.

At December 31, 2019, 77.5% or $1.14 billion of our income producing investment portfolio* is floating rate and 22.5% or $331.9 million is fixed rate, measured at fair value. At December 31, 2018, 74.6% or $1.08 billion of our income producing investment portfolio* is floating rate and 25.4% or $366.1 million is fixed rate, measured at fair value. As of December 31, 2019 and 2018, we had one and zero issuers on non-accrual status, respectively.

Since inception through December 31, 2019, Solar Capital and its predecessor companies have invested approximately $6.3 billion in more than 280 portfolio companies. Over the same period, Solar Capital has completed transactions with more than 150 different financial sponsors.

 

*

We have included Crystal Financial LLC and NEF Holdings LLC within our income producing investment portfolio.

Crystal Financial LLC

On December 28, 2012, we completed the acquisition of Crystal Capital Financial Holdings LLC (“Crystal Financial”), a commercial finance company focused on providing asset-based and other secured financing solutions (the “Crystal Acquisition”). We invested $275 million in cash to effect the Crystal Acquisition. Crystal Financial owned approximately 98% of the outstanding ownership interest in Crystal Financial LLC. The remaining financial interest was held by various employees of Crystal Financial LLC, through their investment in Crystal Management LP. Crystal Financial LLC had a diversified portfolio of 23 loans having a total par value of approximately $400 million at November 30, 2012 and a $275 million committed revolving credit facility. On July 28, 2016, the Company purchased Crystal Management LP’s approximately 2% equity interest in Crystal Financial LLC for approximately $5.7 million. Upon the closing of this transaction, the Company holds 100% of the equity interest in Crystal Financial LLC. On September 30, 2016, Crystal Capital Financial Holdings LLC was dissolved. On December 20, 2018, the revolving credit facility was expanded to $330 million.

As of December 31, 2019, Crystal Financial LLC had 35 funded commitments to 28 different issuers with total funded loans of approximately $496.8 million on total assets of $518.0 million. As of December 31, 2018, Crystal Financial LLC had 31 funded commitments to 26 different issuers with total funded loans of approximately $413.9 million on total assets of $483.8 million. As of December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the largest loan outstanding totaled $45.0 million and $37.5 million, respectively. For the same periods, the average exposure per issuer was $17.7 million and $15.9 million, respectively. Crystal Financial LLC’s credit facility, which is non-recourse to Solar Capital, had approximately $276.0 million and $206.0 million of borrowings outstanding at December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, Crystal Financial LLC had net income of $8.0 million and $33.0 million, respectively, on gross income of $61.2 million and $58.8 million, respectively. Due to timing and non-cash items, there may be material differences between GAAP net income and cash available for distributions. As such, and subject to fluctuations in Crystal Financial LLC’s funded commitments, the timing of originations, and the

 

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repayments of financings, the Company cannot guarantee that Crystal Financial LLC will be able to maintain consistent dividend payments to us. Crystal Financial LLC’s consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018 are attached as an exhibit to this annual report on Form 10-K.

NEF Holdings, LLC

On July 31, 2017, we completed the acquisition of NEF Holdings, LLC (“NEF”), which conducts its business through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nations Equipment Finance, LLC. NEF is an independent equipment finance company that provides senior secured loans and leases primarily to U.S. based companies. We invested $209.9 million in cash to effect the transaction, of which $145.0 million was invested in the equity of NEF through our wholly-owned consolidated taxable subsidiary NEFCORP LLC and our wholly-owned consolidated subsidiary NEFPASS LLC and $64.9 million was used to purchase certain leases and loans held by NEF through NEFPASS LLC. Concurrent with the transaction, NEF refinanced its existing senior secured credit facility into a $150.0 million non-recourse facility with an accordion feature to expand up to $250.0 million. In September 2019, NEF amended the facility, increasing commitments to $214.0 million with an accordion feature to expand up to $314.0 million and extended the maturity date of the facility to July 31, 2023. At July 31, 2017, NEF also had two securitizations outstanding, with an issued note balance of $94.6 million, which were later redeemed in 2018.

As of December 31, 2019, NEF had 168 funded equipment-backed leases and loans to 78 different customers with a total net investment in leases and loans of approximately $245.0 million on total assets of $304.2 million. As of December 31, 2018, NEF had 207 funded equipment-backed leases and loans to 82 different customers with a total net investment in leases and loans of approximately $237.2 million on total assets of $293.2 million. As of December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the largest position outstanding totaled $26.9 million and $28.5 million, respectively. For the same periods, the average exposure per customer was $3.1 million and $2.9 million, respectively. NEF’s credit facility, which is non-recourse to Solar Capital, had approximately $128.2 million and $119.3 million of borrowings outstanding at December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, NEF had net income (loss) of ($6.0) million and $3.4 million, respectively, on gross income of $31.9 million and $30.0 million, respectively. Due to timing and non-cash items, there may be material differences between GAAP net income and cash available for distributions. As such, and subject to fluctuations in NEF’s funded commitments, the timing of originations, and the repayments of financings, the Company cannot guarantee that NEF will be able to maintain consistent dividend payments to us. NEF’s consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018 are attached as an exhibit to this annual report on Form 10-K.

Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of consolidated financial statements and related disclosures in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, and revenues and expenses during the periods reported. Actual results could materially differ from those estimates. We have identified the following items as critical accounting policies. Within the context of these critical accounting policies and disclosed subsequent events herein, we are not currently aware of any other reasonably likely events or circumstances that would result in materially different amounts being reported.

Valuation of Portfolio Investments

We conduct the valuation of our assets, pursuant to which our net asset value is determined, at all times consistent with GAAP, and the 1940 Act. Our valuation procedures are set forth in more detail below:

Under procedures established by our board of directors (the “Board”), we value investments, including certain senior secured debt, subordinated debt and other debt securities with maturities greater than 60 days, for

 

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which market quotations are readily available, at such market quotations (unless they are deemed not to represent fair value). We attempt to obtain market quotations from at least two brokers or dealers (if available, otherwise from a principal market maker or a primary market dealer or other independent pricing service). We utilize mid-market pricing as a practical expedient for fair value unless a different point within the range is more representative. If and when market quotations are deemed not to represent fair value, we may utilize independent third-party valuation firms to assist us in determining the fair value of material assets. Accordingly, such investments go through our multi-step valuation process as described below. In each case, independent valuation firms consider observable market inputs together with significant unobservable inputs in arriving at their valuation recommendations. Debt investments with maturities of 60 days or less shall each be valued at cost plus accreted discount, or minus amortized premium, which is expected to approximate fair value, unless such valuation, in the judgment of the Investment Adviser, does not represent fair value, in which case such investments shall be valued at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our Board. Investments that are not publicly traded or whose market quotations are not readily available are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our Board. Such determination of fair values involves subjective judgments and estimates.

With respect to investments for which market quotations are not readily available or when such market quotations are deemed not to represent fair value, our Board has approved a multi-step valuation process each quarter, as described below:

 

  (1)

our quarterly valuation process begins with each portfolio company or investment being initially valued by the investment professionals of the Investment Adviser responsible for the portfolio investment;

 

  (2)

preliminary valuation conclusions are then documented and discussed with senior management of the Investment Adviser;

 

  (3)

independent valuation firms engaged by our Board conduct independent appraisals and review the Investment Adviser’s preliminary valuations and make their own independent assessment for all material assets;

 

  (4)

the audit committee of the Board reviews the preliminary valuation of the Investment Adviser and that of the independent valuation firm, if any, and responds to the valuation recommendation of the independent valuation firm to reflect any comments; and

 

  (5)

the Board discusses valuations and determines the fair value of each investment in our portfolio in good faith based on the input of the Investment Adviser, the respective independent valuation firm, if any, and the audit committee.

Investments in all asset classes are valued utilizing a market approach, an income approach, or both approaches, as appropriate. However, in accordance with ASC 820-10, certain investments that qualify as investment companies in accordance with ASC 946, may be valued using net asset value as a practical expedient for fair value. The market approach uses prices and other relevant information generated by market transactions involving identical or comparable assets or liabilities (including a business). The income approach uses valuation approaches to convert future amounts (for example, cash flows or earnings) to a single present amount (discounted). The measurement is based on the value indicated by current market expectations about those future amounts. In following these approaches, the types of factors that we may take into account in fair value pricing our investments include, as relevant: available current market data, including relevant and applicable market trading and transaction comparables, applicable market yields and multiples, security covenants, call protection provisions, the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments, its earnings and discounted cash flows, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, comparisons of financial ratios of peer companies that are public, M&A comparables, our principal market (as the reporting entity) and enterprise values, among other factors. When available, broker quotations and/or quotations provided by pricing services are considered as an input in the valuation process. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, there has been no change to the Company’s valuation approaches or techniques and the nature of the related inputs considered in the valuation process.

 

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Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 820 classifies the inputs used to measure these fair values into the following hierarchy:

Level 1: Quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities, accessible by the Company at the measurement date.

Level 2: Quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets, or quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active, or other observable inputs other than quoted prices.

Level 3: Unobservable inputs for the asset or liability.

In all cases, the level in the fair value hierarchy within which the fair value measurement in its entirety falls is determined based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. Our assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment and considers factors specific to each investment. The exercise of judgment is based in part on our knowledge of the asset class and our prior experience.

Determination of fair value involves subjective judgments and estimates. Accordingly, the notes to our consolidated financial statements express the uncertainty with respect to the possible effect of such valuations, and any change in such valuations, on our consolidated financial statements.

Valuation of 2022 Unsecured Notes

The Company has made an election to apply the fair value option of accounting to the 2022 Unsecured Notes, in accordance with ASC 825-10. We believe accounting for the 2022 Unsecured Notes at fair value better aligns the measurement methodologies of assets and liabilities, which may mitigate certain earnings volatility.

Revenue Recognition

The Company records dividend income and interest, adjusted for amortization of premium and accretion of discount, on an accrual basis. Investments that are expected to pay regularly scheduled interest and/or dividends in cash are generally placed on non-accrual status when principal or interest/dividend cash payments are past due 30 days or more (90 days or more for equipment financing) and/or when it is no longer probable that principal or interest/dividend cash payments will be collected. Such non-accrual investments are restored to accrual status if past due principal and interest or dividends are paid in cash, and in management’s judgment, are likely to continue timely payment of their remaining interest or dividend obligations. Interest or dividend cash payments received on investments may be recognized as income or applied to principal depending upon management’s judgment. Some of our investments may have contractual PIK interest or dividends. PIK interest and dividends computed at the contractual rate are accrued into income and reflected as receivable up to the capitalization date. PIK investments offer issuers the option at each payment date of making payments in cash or in additional securities. When additional securities are received, they typically have the same terms, including maturity dates and interest rates as the original securities issued. On these payment dates, the Company capitalizes the accrued interest or dividends receivable (reflecting such amounts as the basis in the additional securities received). PIK generally becomes due at the maturity of the investment or upon the investment being called by the issuer. At the point the Company believes PIK is not expected to be realized, the PIK investment will be placed on non-accrual status. When a PIK investment is placed on non-accrual status, the accrued, uncapitalized interest or dividends is reversed from the related receivable through interest or dividend income, respectively. The Company does not reverse previously capitalized PIK interest or dividends. Upon capitalization, PIK is subject to the fair value estimates associated with their related investments. PIK investments on non-accrual status are restored to accrual status if the Company again believes that PIK is expected to be realized. Loan origination fees, original issue discount, and market discounts are capitalized and amortized into income using the effective interest method. Upon the prepayment of a loan, any unamortized loan origination fees are recorded as interest income. We record prepayment premiums on loans and other investments as interest income when we receive such amounts. Capital structuring fees are recorded as other income when earned.

 

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The typically higher yields and interest rates on PIK securities, to the extent we invested, reflects the payment deferral and increased credit risk associated with such instruments and that such investments may represent a significantly higher credit risk than coupon loans. PIK securities may have unreliable valuations because their continuing accruals require continuing judgments about the collectability of the deferred payments and the value of any associated collateral. PIK interest has the effect of generating investment income and increasing the incentive fees payable at a compounding rate. In addition, the deferral of PIK interest also increases the loan-to-value ratio at a compounding rate. PIK securities create the risk that incentive fees will be paid to the Investment Adviser based on non-cash accruals that ultimately may not be realized, but the Investment Adviser will be under no obligation to reimburse the Company for these fees. For the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, capitalized PIK income totaled $1.1 million, $0.9 million and $0.2 million, respectively.

Net Realized Gain or Loss and Net Change in Unrealized Gain or Loss

We generally measure realized gain or loss by the difference between the net proceeds from the repayment or sale and the amortized cost basis of the investment, without regard to unrealized appreciation or depreciation previously recognized, but considering unamortized origination or commitment fees and prepayment penalties. The net change in unrealized gain or loss reflects the change in portfolio investment values during the reporting period, including the reversal of previously recorded unrealized gain or loss, when gains or losses are realized. Gains or losses on investments are calculated by using the specific identification method.

Income Taxes

Solar Capital, a U.S. corporation, has elected to be treated, and intends to qualify annually, as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. In order to qualify for taxation as a RIC, the Company is required, among other things, to timely distribute to its stockholders at least 90% of investment company taxable income, as defined by the Code, for each year. Depending on the level of taxable income earned in a given tax year, we may choose to carry forward taxable income in excess of current year distributions into the next tax year and pay a 4% excise tax on such income, as required. To the extent that the Company determines that its estimated current year annual taxable income will be in excess of estimated current year distributions, the Company accrues an estimated excise tax, if any, on estimated excess taxable income.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In August 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-13, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820), Disclosure Framework – Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement. The amendments in this Update modify and eliminate certain disclosure requirements on fair value measurements in Topic 820, Fair Value Measurement. ASU 2018-13 is effective for all entities for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2019. Early adoption is permitted. The Company will adopt ASU 2018-13 effective in fiscal year 2020.

In March 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-08, Premium Amortization on Purchased Callable Debt Securities, which will amend FASB ASC 310-20. The amendments in this Update shorten the amortization period for certain callable debt securities held at a premium, generally requiring the premium to be amortized to the earliest call date. For public business entities, the amendments are effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2018. Early adoption is permitted, including adoption in an interim period. The Company has adopted ASU 2017-08 and determined that the adoption has not had a material impact on its consolidated financial statements and disclosures.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Results comparisons are for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018. Results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017 can be found in Item 7 of the Company’s report on Form 10-K filed on February 21, 2019, which is incorporated by reference herein.

Investment Income

For the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, gross investment income totaled $154.7 million and $153.5 million, respectively. The increase in gross investment income from 2018 to 2019 was primarily due to growth of the average income producing investment portfolio.

Expenses

Expenses totaled $82.3 million and $78.6 million, respectively, for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, of which $44.9 million and $44.5 million, respectively, were base management fees and performance-based incentive fees and $28.9 million and $24.7 million, respectively, were interest and other credit facility expenses. Administrative services and other general and administrative expenses totaled $8.5 million and $9.4 million, respectively, for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018. Expenses generally consist of management and performance-based incentive fees, interest and other credit facility expenses, administrative services fees, insurance expenses, legal fees, directors’ fees, transfer agency fees, printing and proxy expenses, audit and tax services expenses, and other general and administrative expenses. Interest and other credit facility expenses generally consist of interest, unused fees, agency fees and loan origination fees, if any, among others. The increase in expenses from 2018 to 2019 was primarily due to higher interest expense resulting from generally higher average LIBOR and an increase in average borrowings to support a larger average income producing investment portfolio.

Net Investment Income

The Company’s net investment income totaled $72.4 million and $74.9 million, or $1.71 and $1.77, per average share, respectively, for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.

Net Realized Gain (Loss)

The Company had investment sales and prepayments totaling approximately $362 million and $624 million, respectively, for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018. Net realized gains (losses) over the same periods were ($1.8) million and $2.1 million, respectively. Net realized loss for fiscal year 2019 was primarily related to the extinguishment of debt. Net realized gains for fiscal year 2018 were related to the sale of select assets and the redemption of warrants.

Net Change in Unrealized Gain (Loss)

For the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, net change in unrealized gain (loss) on the Company’s assets and liabilities totaled ($14.7) million and ($10.1) million, respectively. Net unrealized loss for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 is primarily due to unrealized depreciation in the value of our investments in IHS Intermediate, Inc., SOAGG LLC and American Teleconferencing Services, Ltd., among others, partially offset by unrealized appreciation in the value of our investments in Crystal Financial LLC, PPT Management Holdings, LLC and Alteon Health, LLC, among others. Net unrealized loss for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 is primarily due to unrealized depreciation in the value of our investments in Crystal Financial LLC, Rug Doctor, LLC and IHS Intermediate, Inc. among others, partially offset by unrealized appreciation in the value of our investments in SOAGG LLC and Phymed Management LLC, among others.

 

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Net Increase in Net Assets From Operations

For the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, the Company had a net increase in net assets resulting from operations of $56.0 million and $66.9 million, respectively. For the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, earnings per average share were $1.33 and $1.58, respectively.

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

The Company’s liquidity and capital resources are generated and generally available through its Credit Facility, the 2022 Unsecured Notes, the 2022 Tranche C Notes, the NEFPASS Facility, the 2023 Unsecured Notes, the 2024 Unsecured Notes and the 2026 Unsecured Notes (collectively the “Credit Facilities”), through cash flows from operations, investment sales, prepayments of senior and subordinated loans, income earned on investments and cash equivalents, and periodic follow-on equity and/or debt offerings. As of December 31, 2019, we had a total of $447.1 million of unused borrowing capacity under the Credit Facilities, subject to borrowing base limits.

We may from time to time issue equity and/or debt securities in either public or private offerings. The issuance of such securities will depend on future market conditions, funding needs and other factors and there can be no assurance that any such issuance will occur or be successful. The primary uses of existing funds and any funds raised in the future is expected to be for investments in portfolio companies, repayment of indebtedness, cash distributions to our stockholders, or for other general corporate purposes.

On February 12, 2020, a new lender to the Company executed a commitment increase to our Credit Facility providing for an additional $75.0 million of revolving credit, bringing our Credit Facility’s total revolving credit capacity to $545.0 million.

On December 18, 2019, the Company closed a private offering of $125 million of the 2024 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.20% and a maturity date of December 15, 2024. Interest on the 2024 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on June 15 and December 15. The 2024 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

On December 18, 2019, the Company closed a private offering of $75 million of the 2026 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.375% and a maturity date of December 15, 2026. Interest on the 2026 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on June 15 and December 15. The 2026 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

On August 28, 2019, the Company repaid its existing senior secured credit agreement due September 2021 and entered into the new senior secured credit agreement (the “Credit Facility”). The Credit Facility is composed of $470 million of revolving credit and $75 million of term loans. Borrowings generally bear interest at a rate per annum equal to the base rate plus a range of 2.00-2.25% or the alternate base rate plus 1.00%-1.25%. The Credit Facility has no LIBOR floor requirement. The Credit Facility matures in August 2024 and includes ratable amortization in the final year.

On December 28, 2017, the Company closed a private offering of $21 million of the 2022 Tranche C Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.50% and a maturity date of December 28, 2022. Interest on the 2022 Tranche C Notes is due semi-annually on June 28 and December 28. The 2022 Tranche C Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

On November 22, 2017, we issued $75 million in aggregate principal amount of publicly registered 2023 Unsecured Notes for net proceeds of $73.8 million. Interest on the 2023 Unsecured Notes is paid semi-annually on January 20 and July 20, at a fixed rate of 4.50% per year, commencing on January 20, 2018. The 2023 Unsecured Notes mature on January 20, 2023.

On February 15, 2017, the Company closed a private offering of $100 million of the 2022 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.60% and a maturity date of May 8, 2022. Interest on the 2022 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on May 8 and November 8. The 2022 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

 

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On November 8, 2016, the Company closed a private offering of $50 million of the 2022 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.40% and a maturity date of May 8, 2022. Interest on the 2022 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on May 8 and November 8. The 2022 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

On January 11, 2013, the Company closed its most recent follow-on public equity offering of 6.3 million shares of common stock raising approximately $146.9 million in net proceeds. The primary uses of the funds raised were for investments in portfolio companies, reductions in revolving debt outstanding and for other general corporate purposes.

The primary uses of existing funds and any funds raised in the future is expected to be for repayment of indebtedness, investments in portfolio companies, cash distributions to our stockholders or for other general corporate purposes.

Cash Equivalents

We deem certain U.S. Treasury bills, repurchase agreements and other high-quality, short-term debt securities as cash equivalents. The Company makes purchases that are consistent with its purpose of making investments in securities described in paragraphs 1 through 3 of Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act. From time to time, including at or near the end of each fiscal quarter, we consider using various temporary investment strategies for our business. One strategy includes taking proactive steps by utilizing cash equivalents as temporary assets with the objective of enhancing our investment flexibility pursuant to Section 55 of the 1940 Act. More specifically, from time-to-time we may purchase U.S. Treasury bills or other high-quality, short-term debt securities at or near the end of the quarter and typically close out the position on a net cash basis subsequent to quarter end. We may also utilize repurchase agreements or other balance sheet transactions, including drawing down on our credit facilities, as deemed appropriate. The amount of these transactions or such drawn cash for this purpose is excluded from total assets for purposes of computing the asset base upon which the management fee is determined. We held approximately $420 million in cash equivalents as of December 31, 2019.

Debt

Unsecured Notes

On December 18, 2019, the Company closed a private offering of $125 million of the 2024 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.20% and a maturity date of December 15, 2024. Interest on the 2024 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on June 15 and December 15. The 2024 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

On December 18, 2019, the Company closed a private offering of $75 million of the 2026 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.375% and a maturity date of December 15, 2026. Interest on the 2026 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on June 15 and December 15. The 2026 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

On December 28, 2017, the Company closed a private offering of $21 million of the 2022 Tranche C Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.50% and a maturity date of December 28, 2022. Interest on the 2022 Tranche C Notes is due semi-annually on June 28 and December 28. The 2022 Tranche C Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

On November 22, 2017, we issued $75 million in aggregate principal amount of publicly registered 2023 Unsecured Notes for net proceeds of $73.8 million. Interest on the 2023 Unsecured Notes is paid semi-annually on January 20 and July 20, at a fixed rate of 4.50% per year, commencing on January 20, 2018. The 2023 Unsecured Notes mature on January 20, 2023.

On February 15, 2017, the Company closed a private offering of $100 million of the 2022 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.60% and a maturity date of May 8, 2022. Interest on the 2022 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on May 8 and November 8. The 2022 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

 

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On November 8, 2016, the Company closed a private offering of $50 million of the 2022 Unsecured Notes with a fixed interest rate of 4.40% and a maturity date of May 8, 2022. Interest on the 2022 Unsecured Notes is due semi-annually on May 8 and November 8. The 2022 Unsecured Notes were issued in a private placement only to qualified institutional buyers.

Revolving & Term Loan Facilities

On August 28, 2019, the Company repaid its existing senior secured credit agreement due September 2021 and entered into the new Credit Facility. The Credit Facility is composed of $470 million of revolving credit and $75 million of term loans. Borrowings generally bear interest at a rate per annum equal to the base rate plus a range of 2.00-2.25% or the alternate base rate plus 1.00%-1.25%. The Credit Facility has no LIBOR floor requirement. The Credit Facility matures in August 2024 and includes ratable amortization in the final year. The Credit Facility may be increased up to $800 million with additional new lenders or an increase in commitments from current lenders. The Credit Facility contains certain customary affirmative and negative covenants and events of default. In addition, the Credit Facility contains certain financial covenants that among other things, requires the Company to maintain a minimum shareholder’s equity and a minimum asset coverage ratio. At December 31, 2019, outstanding USD equivalent borrowings under the Credit Facility totaled $117.9 million, composed of $42.9 million of revolving credit and $75.0 million of term loans. On February 12, 2020, a new lender to the Company executed a commitment increase to our Credit Facility providing for an additional $75.0 million of revolving credit, bringing our Credit Facility’s total revolving credit capacity to $545.0 million.

On May 31, 2019, the Company as transferor and SSLP 2016-1, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, as borrower entered into amendment number two to the $200 million SSLP Facility with Wells Fargo Bank, NA acting as administrative agent. The Company acted as servicer under the SSLP Facility. The SSLP Facility was scheduled to mature on May 31, 2024. The SSLP Facility generally bore interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 2.25%. The Company and SSLP 2016-1, LLC, as applicable, had made certain customary representations and warranties, and were required to comply with various covenants, including leverage restrictions, reporting requirements and other customary requirements for similar credit facilities. The SSLP Facility included usual and customary events of default for credit facilities of this nature. On October 31, 2019, the SSLP Facility was extinguished.

On September 26, 2018, NEFPASS SPV LLC, a newly formed wholly-owned subsidiary of NEFPASS LLC, as borrower entered into the NEFPASS Facility with Keybank acting as administrative agent. The Company acts as servicer under the NEFPASS Facility. The NEFPASS Facility is scheduled to mature on September 26, 2023. The NEFPASS Facility generally bears interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 2.15%. NEFPASS and NEFPASS SPV LLC, as applicable, have made certain customary representations and warranties, and are required to comply with various covenants, including leverage restrictions, reporting requirements and other customary requirements for similar credit facilities. The NEFPASS Facility also includes usual and customary events of default for credit facilities of this nature. There were $30.0 million of borrowings outstanding as of December 31, 2019.

Certain covenants on our issued debt may restrict our business activities, including limitations that could hinder our ability to finance additional loans and investments or to make the distributions required to maintain our status as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. At December 31, 2019, the Company was in compliance with all financial and operational covenants required by our Credit Facilities.

 

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Contractual Obligations

A summary of our significant contractual payment obligations is as follows as of December 31, 2019:

Payments Due by Period (in millions)

 

     Total      Less than
1 Year
     1-3 Years      3-5 Years      More Than
5 Years
 

Revolving credit facilities(1)

   $ 72.9      $ —        $ —        $ 72.9      $ —    

Unsecured senior notes

     446.0        —          —          371.0      75.0  

Term Loans

     75.0        —          —          75.0        —    

 

(1)

As of December 31, 2019, we had a total of $447.1 million of unused borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facilities, subject to borrowing base limits.

Under the provisions of the 1940 Act, we are permitted, as a BDC, to issue senior securities in amounts such that our asset coverage ratio, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 150% of gross assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities, after each issuance of senior securities. If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy the asset coverage test. If that happens, we may be required to sell a portion of our investments and, depending on the nature of our leverage, repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when such sales may be disadvantageous. Also, any amounts that we use to service our indebtedness would not be available for distributions to our common stockholders. Furthermore, as a result of issuing senior securities, we would also be exposed to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss. Our stockholders approved being subject to a 150% asset coverage ratio effective October 12, 2018.

Senior Securities

Information about our senior securities is shown in the following table (in thousands) as of each year ended December 31 for the past ten years, unless otherwise noted. The “—” indicates information which the SEC expressly does not require to be disclosed for certain types of senior securities.

 

Class and Year

   Total Amount
Outstanding(1)
     Asset
Coverage
Per Unit(2)
     Involuntary
Liquidating
Preference
Per Unit(3)
     Average
Market Value
Per Unit(4)
 

Revolving Credit Facility

           

Fiscal 2019

   $ 42,900      $ 182        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     96,400        593        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2017

     245,600        1,225        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2016

     115,200        990        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2015

     207,900        1,459        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2014

     —          —          —          N/A  

Fiscal 2013

     —          —          —          N/A  

Fiscal 2012

     264,452        1,510        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2011

     201,355        3,757        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2010

     400,000        2,668        —          N/A  

2022 Unsecured Notes

           

Fiscal 2019

     150,000        638        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     150,000        923        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2017

     150,000        748        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2016

     50,000        430        —          N/A  

2022 Tranche C Notes

           

Fiscal 2019

     21,000        89        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     21,000        129        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2017

     21,000        105        —          N/A  

 

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Class and Year

   Total Amount
Outstanding(1)
     Asset
Coverage
Per Unit(2)
     Involuntary
Liquidating
Preference
Per Unit(3)
     Average
Market Value
Per Unit(4)
 

2023 Unsecured Notes

           

Fiscal 2019

     75,000        319        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     75,000        461        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2017

     75,000        374        —          N/A  

2024 Unsecured Notes

           

Fiscal 2019

     125,000        531        —          N/A  

2026 Unsecured Notes

           

Fiscal 2019

     75,000        319        —          N/A  

2042 Unsecured Notes

           

Fiscal 2017

     —          —          —          N/A  

Fiscal 2016

     100,000        859        —        $ 1,002  

Fiscal 2015

     100,000        702        —          982  

Fiscal 2014

     100,000        2,294        —          943  

Fiscal 2013

     100,000        2,411        —          934  

Fiscal 2012

     100,000        571        —          923  

Senior Secured Notes

           

Fiscal 2017

     —          —          —          N/A  

Fiscal 2016

     75,000        645        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2015

     75,000        527        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2014

     75,000        1,721        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2013

     75,000        1,808        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2012

     75,000        428        —          N/A  

Term Loans

           

Fiscal 2019

   $ 75,000        319        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     50,000        308        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2017

     50,000        250        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2016

     50,000        430        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2015

     50,000        351        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2014

     50,000        1,147        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2013

     50,000        1,206        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2012

     50,000        285        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2011

     35,000        653        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2010

     35,000        233        —          N/A  

NEFPASS Facility

           

Fiscal 2019

     30,000        128        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     30,000        185        —          N/A  

SSLP Facility

           

Fiscal 2019

     —          —          —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     53,785        331        —          N/A  

Total Senior Securities

           

Fiscal 2019

   $ 593,900      $ 2,525        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2018

     476,185        2,930        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2017

     541,600        2,702        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2016

     390,200        3,354        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2015

     432,900        3,039        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2014

     225,000        5,162        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2013

     225,000        5,425        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2012

     489,452        2,794        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2011

     236,355        4,410        —          N/A  

Fiscal 2010

     435,000        2,901        —          N/A  

 

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(1)

Total amount of each class of senior securities outstanding (in thousands) at the end of the period presented.

(2)

The asset coverage ratio for a class of senior securities representing indebtedness is calculated as our consolidated total assets, less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities, divided by all senior securities representing indebtedness. This asset coverage ratio is multiplied by one thousand to determine the Asset Coverage Per Unit. In order to determine the specific Asset Coverage Per Unit for each class of debt, the total Asset Coverage Per Unit is allocated based on the amount outstanding in each class of debt at the end of the period. As of December 31, 2019, asset coverage was 252.5%.

(3)

The amount to which such class of senior security would be entitled upon the involuntary liquidation of the issuer in preference to any security junior to it.

(4)

Not applicable except for the 2042 Unsecured Notes which were publicly traded. The Average Market Value Per Unit is calculated by taking the daily average closing price during the period and dividing it by twenty-five dollars per share and multiplying the result by one thousand to determine a unit price per thousand consistent with Asset Coverage Per Unit. The average market value for the fiscal 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 periods was $100,175, $98,196, $94,301, $93,392, and $92,302, respectively.

We have also entered into two contracts under which we have future commitments: the Advisory Agreement, pursuant to which Solar Capital Partners, LLC has agreed to serve as our investment adviser, and the Administration Agreement, pursuant to which the Administrator has agreed to furnish us with the facilities and administrative services necessary to conduct our day-to-day operations and provide on our behalf managerial assistance to those portfolio companies to which we are required to provide such assistance. Payments under the Advisory Agreement are equal to (1) a percentage of the value of our average gross assets and (2) a two-part incentive fee. Payments under the Administration Agreement are equal to an amount based upon our allocable portion of the Administrator’s overhead in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent, technology systems, insurance and our allocable portion of the costs of our chief financial officer and chief compliance officer and their respective staffs. Either party may terminate each of the Advisory Agreement and administration agreement without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to the other. See note 3 to our Consolidated Financial Statements.

On July 31, 2017, the Company, NEFPASS LLC and NEFCORP LLC entered into a servicing agreement. NEFCORP LLC was engaged to provide NEFPASS LLC with administrative services related to the loans and capital leases held by NEFPASS LLC. NEFPASS LLC may terminate this agreement upon 30 days’ written notice to NEFCORP LLC.

 

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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

From time-to-time and in the normal course of business, the Company may make unfunded capital commitments to current or prospective portfolio companies. Typically, the Company may agree to provide delayed-draw term loans or, to a lesser extent, revolving loan or equity commitments. These unfunded capital commitments always take into account the Company’s liquidity and cash available for investment, portfolio and issuer diversification, and other considerations. Accordingly, the Company had the following unfunded capital commitments at December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively:

 

     December 31,
2019
     December 31,
2018
 

(in millions)

     

Crystal Financial LLC*

   $ 44.3      $ 44.3  

Kindred Biosciences, Inc.

     13.8        —    

Rubius Therapeutics, Inc.

     13.4        26.8  

Cardiva Medical, Inc.

     11.0        9.0  

Centrexion Therapeutics, Inc.

     7.6        —    

Cerapedics, Inc.

     5.4        —    

PQ Bypass, Inc.

     5.0        4.8  

Phynet Dermatology LLC

     4.7        12.4  

Altern Marketing, LLC

     4.2        —    

Varilease Finance, Inc.

     3.4        —    

MRI Software LLC

     3.3        —    

Enhanced Capital Group, LLC

     2.5        —    

Solara Medical Supplies, Inc.

     1.9        1.2  

RS Energy Group U.S., Inc.

     1.7        1.7  

Alimera Sciences, Inc.

     1.1        —    

iCIMS, Inc.

     0.8        0.8  

Atria Wealth Solutions, Inc.

     0.4        1.5  

BioElectron Technology Corporation

     —          17.5  

BAM Capital, LLC

     —          15.0  

Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

     —          13.8  

Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc.

     —          6.2  

Kingsbridge Holdings, LLC

     —          4.1  

Breathe Technologies, Inc.

     —          4.0  

GenMark Diagnostics, Inc.

     —          3.0  

Delphinus Medical Technologies, Inc.

     —          1.9  

Datto, Inc.

     —          1.7  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Commitments

   $ 124.5      $ 169.7  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

*

The Company controls the funding of the Crystal Financial LLC commitment and may cancel it at its discretion.

The credit agreements of the above loan commitments contain customary lending provisions and/or are subject to the portfolio company’s achievement of certain milestones that allow relief to the Company from funding obligations for previously made commitments in instances where the underlying company experiences materially adverse events that affect the financial condition or business outlook for the company. Since these commitments may expire without being drawn upon, unfunded commitments do not necessarily represent future cash requirements or future earning assets for the Company. As of December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the Company had sufficient cash available and/or liquid securities available to fund its commitments.

In the normal course of its business, we invest or trade in various financial instruments and may enter into various investment activities with off-balance sheet risk, which may include forward foreign currency contracts. Generally, these financial instruments represent future commitments to purchase or sell other financial instruments at specific terms at future dates. These financial instruments contain varying degrees of off-balance sheet risk whereby changes in the market value or our satisfaction of the obligations may exceed the amount recognized in our Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities.

 

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Distributions

The following table reflects the cash distributions per share on our common stock for the two most recent fiscal years and the current fiscal year to date:

 

Date Declared

   Record Date      Payment Date      Amount  

Fiscal 2020

        

February 20, 2020

     March 19, 2020        April 3, 2020      $ 0.41  
        

 

 

 

Fiscal 2019

        

November 4, 2019

     December 19, 2019        January 3, 2020      $ 0.41  

August 5, 2019

     September 19, 2019        October 2, 2019        0.41  

May 6, 2019

     June 20, 2019        July 2, 2019        0.41  

February 21, 2019

     March 21, 2019        April 3, 2019        0.41  
        

 

 

 

Total 2019

         $ 1.64  
        

 

 

 

Fiscal 2018

        

November 5, 2018

     December 20, 2018        January 4, 2019      $ 0.41  

August 2, 2018

     September 20, 2018        October 2, 2018        0.41  

May 7, 2018

     June 21, 2018        July 3, 2018        0.41  

February 22, 2018

     March 22, 2018        April 3, 2018        0.41  
        

 

 

 

Total 2018

         $ 1.60  
        

 

 

 

Tax characteristics of all distributions will be reported to stockholders on Form 1099 after the end of the calendar year. Future quarterly distributions, if any, will be determined by our Board. We expect that our distributions to stockholders will generally be from accumulated net investment income, from net realized capital gains or non-taxable return of capital, if any, as applicable.

We have elected to be taxed as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. To maintain our RIC tax treatment, we must distribute at least 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any, out of the assets legally available for distribution. In addition, although we currently intend to distribute realized net capital gains (i.e., net long-term capital gains in excess of short-term capital losses), if any, at least annually, out of the assets legally available for such distributions, we may in the future decide to retain such capital gains for investment.

We maintain an “opt out” dividend reinvestment plan for our common stockholders. As a result, if we declare a distribution, then stockholders’ cash distributions will be automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock, unless they specifically “opt out” of the dividend reinvestment plan so as to receive cash distributions.

We may not be able to achieve operating results that will allow us to make distributions at a specific level or to increase the amount of these distributions from time to time. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may in the future be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, our revolving credit facility may limit our ability to declare distributions if we default under certain provisions. If we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income annually, we will suffer adverse tax consequences, including possible loss of the tax benefits available to us as a regulated investment company. In addition, in accordance with GAAP and tax regulations, we include in income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as contractual payment-in-kind interest, which represents contractual interest added to the loan balance that becomes due at the end of the loan term, or the accrual of original issue or market discount. Since we may recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty meeting the requirement to distribute at least 90% of our investment company taxable income to obtain tax benefits as a regulated investment company.

 

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With respect to the distributions to stockholders, income from origination, structuring, closing and certain other upfront fees associated with investments in portfolio companies are treated as taxable income and accordingly, distributed to stockholders.

Related Parties

We have entered into a number of business relationships with affiliated or related parties, including the following:

 

   

We have entered into the Advisory Agreement with Solar Capital Partners. Mr. Gross, our Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer and President and Mr. Spohler, our Co-Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and board member, are managing members and senior investment professionals of, and have financial and controlling interests in, the Investment Adviser. In addition, Mr. Peteka, our Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Solar Capital Partners.

 

   

The Administrator provides us with the office facilities and administrative services necessary to conduct day-to-day operations pursuant to our Administration Agreement. We reimburse the Administrator for the allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by it in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent, the fees and expenses associated with performing compliance functions, and the compensation of our chief compliance officer, our chief financial officer and their respective staffs.

 

   

We have entered into a license agreement with the Investment Adviser, pursuant to which the Investment Adviser has granted us a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use the name “Solar Capital.”

The Investment Adviser may also manage other funds in the future that may have investment mandates that are similar, in whole and in part, with ours. For example, the Investment Adviser presently serves as investment adviser to Solar Senior Capital Ltd., a publicly traded BDC, which focuses on investing in senior secured loans, including first lien and second lien debt instruments. In addition, Michael S. Gross, our Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer and President, Bruce Spohler, our Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, and Richard L. Peteka, our Chief Financial Officer, serve in similar capacities for Solar Senior Capital Ltd. and SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC. The Investment Adviser and certain investment advisory affiliates may determine that an investment is appropriate for us and for one or more of those other funds. In such event, depending on the availability of such investment and other appropriate factors, the Investment Adviser or its affiliates may determine that we should invest side-by-side with one or more other funds. Any such investments will be made only to the extent permitted by applicable law and interpretive positions of the SEC and its staff, and consistent with the Investment Adviser’s allocation procedures. On June 13, 2017, the Adviser received an exemptive order that permits the Company to participate in negotiated co-investment transactions with certain affiliates, in a manner consistent with the Company’s investment objective, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions as well as regulatory requirements and other pertinent factors, and pursuant to various conditions (the “Order”). If the Company is unable to rely on the Order for a particular opportunity, such opportunity will be allocated first to the entity whose investment strategy is the most consistent with the opportunity being allocated, and second, if the terms of the opportunity are consistent with more than one entity’s investment strategy, on an alternating basis. Although the Adviser’s investment professionals will endeavor to allocate investment opportunities in a fair and equitable manner, the Company and its stockholders could be adversely affected to the extent investment opportunities are allocated among us and other investment vehicles managed or sponsored by, or affiliated with, our executive officers, directors and members of the Adviser.

Related party transactions may occur among Solar Capital Ltd., Crystal Financial LLC, Equipment Operating Leases LLC, Loyer Capital LLC and NEF Holdings LLC. These transactions may occur in the normal course of business. No administrative fees are paid to Solar Capital Partners by Crystal Financial LLC, Equipment Operating Leases LLC, Loyer Capital LLC or NEF Holdings LLC.

 

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In addition, we have adopted a formal code of ethics that governs the conduct of our officers and directors. Our officers and directors also remain subject to the duties imposed by both the 1940 Act and the Maryland General Corporation Law.

 

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk

We are subject to financial market risks, including changes in interest rates. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, certain of the investments in our comprehensive investment portfolio had floating interest rates. These floating rate investments were primarily based on floating LIBOR and typically have durations of one to three months after which they reset to current market interest rates. Additionally, some of these investments have LIBOR floors. The Company also has revolving credit facilities that are generally based on floating LIBOR. Assuming no changes to our balance sheet as of December 31, 2019 and no new defaults by portfolio companies, a hypothetical one percent decrease in LIBOR on our comprehensive floating rate assets and liabilities would reduce our net investment income by five cents per average share over the next twelve months. Assuming no changes to our balance sheet as of December 31, 2019 and no new defaults by portfolio companies, a hypothetical one percent increase in LIBOR on our comprehensive floating rate assets and liabilities would increase our net investment income by approximately fourteen cents per average share over the next twelve months. However, we may hedge against interest rate fluctuations from time-to-time by using standard hedging instruments such as futures, options, swaps and forward contracts subject to the requirements of the 1940 Act. While hedging activities may insulate us against adverse changes in interest rates, they may also limit our ability to participate in any benefits of certain changes in interest rates with respect to our portfolio of investments. At December 31, 2019, we have no interest rate hedging instruments outstanding on our balance sheet.

 

Increase (Decrease) in LIBOR

     (1.00%      1.00%  

Increase (Decrease) in Net Investment Income Per Share Per Year

     ($ 0.05    $ 0.14  

We may also have exposure to foreign currencies through various investments. These investments are converted into U.S. dollars at the balance sheet date, exposing us to movements in foreign exchange rates. In order to reduce our exposure to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, we may borrow from time-to-time in such currencies under our multi-currency revolving credit facility or enter into forward currency or similar contracts.

 

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Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

 

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MANAGEMENT’S REPORT ON INTERNAL CONTROL OVER FINANCIAL REPORTING

Management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, and for performing an assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019. Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (i) pertain to assets of the Company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of consolidated financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the Company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the Company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the Company’s assets that could have a material effect on the consolidated financial statements.

Management performed an assessment of the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019 based upon criteria in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”). Based on our assessment, management determined that the Company’s internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2019 based on the criteria on Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by COSO.

The effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019 has been audited by KPMG LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, as stated in their report which appears herein.

 

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Stockholders and Board of Directors

Solar Capital Ltd.:

Opinions on the Consolidated Financial Statements and Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

We have audited the accompanying consolidated statements of assets and liabilities, including the consolidated schedule of investments, of Solar Capital Ltd. (and subsidiaries) (the Company) as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in net assets, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2019, and the related notes (collectively, the consolidated financial statements). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2019, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.

Basis for Opinions

The Company’s management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying management’s report on internal control over financial reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.

Our audits of the consolidated financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our procedures included confirmation of securities owned as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, by correspondence with the custodian, portfolio companies or agents. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

 

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Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

Critical Audit Matter

The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgment. The communication of a critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

Assessment of the fair value of investments and certain financial liabilities

As described in Notes 2 and 6 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company measures its investments at fair value and has made an irrevocable election to apply the fair value option of accounting to certain financial liabilities. In determining the fair value of investments and financial liabilities that are not publicly traded and whose market quotations are not readily available, the Company makes subjective judgments and estimates using unobservable inputs. As of December 31, 2019, the fair value of such investments and financial liabilities was $1.5 billion and $150 million, respectively.

We identified the assessment of fair value of investments and financial liabilities with no readily determinable market value and whose market quotations are not readily available as a critical audit matter. Evaluating the Company’s fair value methods/technique, including the key inputs and assumptions, involved a high degree of auditor judgment. In particular, subjective auditor judgment was required to assess the market yields used in the income approach analyses, as well as the selection of comparable companies and financial performance multiples of such comparable companies in the market approach analyses.

The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included the following. We tested certain internal controls over the Company’s process to measure fair value of investments and financial liabilities, including controls related to the development of market yields, credit risk, and financial performance multiples assumptions. For a selection of investments, we compared the inputs and assumptions used by the Company to supporting documentation. We evaluated the Company’s ability to estimate fair value by comparing market transaction prices to the Company’s most recent fair value estimate prior to the market transaction. We involved valuation professionals with specialized skills and knowledge who assisted in evaluating the Company’s fair value estimate for a selection of investments and financial liabilities by:

 

   

developing an independent market yield, for investments and financial liabilities fair valued using an income approach, by assessing available market information, such as market yields of comparable companies of similar credit risk;

 

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developing an independent market multiple, for investments fair valued using a market approach, by assessing market information from third-party sources, including financial performance multiples of comparable companies; and

 

   

developing independent estimates of fair value, for the selected investments and financial liabilities, based upon the independently developed market yields and financial performance multiples and compared the results of our estimates to the Company’s fair value estimates.

/s/ KPMG LLP

We have served as the auditor of one or more Solar Capital Partners, LLC (the Investment Advisor) investment companies since 2007.

New York, New York

February 20, 2020

 

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SOLAR CAPITAL LTD.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

(in thousands, except share amounts)

 

     December 31,
2019
    December 31,
2018
 

Assets

    

Investments at fair value:

    

Companies less than 5% owned (cost: $989,564 and $948,478, respectively)

   $ 970,821     $ 944,597  

Companies more than 25% owned (cost: $513,119 and $500,792, respectively)

     524,003       511,483  

Cash

     16,783       7,570  

Cash equivalents (cost: $419,571 and $199,646, respectively)

     419,571       199,646  

Dividends receivable

     10,488       9,065  

Interest receivable

     5,401       7,619  

Receivable for investments sold

     2,207       2,073  

Other receivables

     —         593  

Prepaid expenses and other assets

     615       783  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total assets

   $ 1,949,889     $ 1,683,429  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Liabilities

    

Debt ($593,900 and $476,185 face amounts, respectively, reported net of unamortized debt issuance costs of $6,783 and $2,647, respectively. See notes 6 and 7)

   $ 587,117     $ 473,538  

Payable for investments and cash equivalents purchased

     419,662       251,391  

Distributions payable

     17,327       17,327  

Management fee payable (see note 3)

     6,747       6,504  

Performance-based incentive fee payable (see note 3)

     4,281       4,613  

Interest payable (see note 7)

     3,678       4,714  

Administrative services payable (see note 3)

     2,757       2,716  

Other liabilities and accrued expenses

     2,440       3,455  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total liabilities

   $ 1,044,009     $ 764,258  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Commitments and contingencies (see note 12)

    

Net Assets

    

Common stock, par value $0.01 per share, 200,000,000 and 200,000,000 common shares authorized, respectively, and 42,260,826 and 42,260,826 shares issued and outstanding, respectively

   $ 423     $ 423  

Paid-in capital in excess of par (see note 2f)

     988,792       992,438  

Accumulated distributable net loss (see note 2f)

     (83,335     (73,690
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net assets

   $ 905,880     $ 919,171  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net Asset Value Per Share

   $ 21.44     $ 21.75  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.

 

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SOLAR CAPITAL LTD.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(in thousands, except share amounts)

 

     Year ended December 31,  
     2019     2018     2017  

INVESTMENT INCOME:

      

Interest:

      

Companies less than 5% owned

   $ 106,099     $ 98,172     $ 88,014  

Companies more than 25% owned

     5,429       2,827       1,222  

Dividends:

      

Companies less than 5% owned

     56       28       26  

Companies more than 25% owned

     39,382       50,953       52,496  

Other income:

      

Companies less than 5% owned

     3,727       1,367       1,334  

Companies more than 25% owned

     18       179       246  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total investment income

     154,711       153,526       143,338  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

EXPENSES:

      

Management fees (see note 3)

     26,774       25,789       27,409  

Performance-based incentive fees (see note 3)

     18,111       18,722       17,055  

Interest and other credit facility expenses (see note 7)

     28,901       24,728       21,666  

Administrative services expense (see note 3)

     5,265       5,247       5,215  

Other general and administrative expenses

     3,215       4,151       3,630  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

     82,266       78,637       74,975  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income

   $ 72,445     $ 74,889     $ 68,363  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

REALIZED AND UNREALIZED GAIN (LOSS) ON INVESTMENTS, CASH EQUIVALENTS AND FOREIGN CURRENCIES:

      

Net realized gain (loss) on investments and cash equivalents:

      

Companies less than 5% owned

   $ 754     $ 1,857     $ 310  

Companies 5% to 25% owned

     —         246       (8,104

Companies more than 25% owned

     (661     (25     (6
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net realized gain (loss) on investments and cash equivalents

     93       2,078       (7,800

Net realized loss on extinguishment of debt:

     (1,853     —         (2,782

Net realized loss on foreign currencies:

     —         —         (1,433
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net realized gain (loss)

     (1,760     2,078       (12,015
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net change in unrealized gain (loss) on investments and cash equivalents:

      

Companies less than 5% owned

     (14,861     (2,805     10,541  

Companies 5% to 25% owned

     —         —         7,734  

Companies more than 25% owned

     192       (7,288     (4,193
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net change in unrealized gain (loss)

     (14,669     (10,093     14,082  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on investments, cash equivalents and foreign currencies

     (16,429     (8,015     2,067  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

NET INCREASE IN NET ASSETS RESULTING FROM OPERATIONS

   $ 56,016     $ 66,874     $ 70,430  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

EARNINGS PER SHARE (see note 5)

   $ 1.33     $ 1.58     $ 1.67  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.

 

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SOLAR CAPITAL LTD.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN NET ASSETS

(in thousands, except share amounts)

 

     Year ended December 31,  
     2019     2018     2017  

Increase in net assets resulting from operations:

      

Net investment income

   $ 72,445     $ 74,889     $ 68,363  

Net realized gain (loss)

     (1,760     2,078       (12,015

Net change in unrealized gain (loss)

     (14,669     (10,093     14,082  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase in net assets resulting from operations

     56,016       66,874       70,430  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions to stockholders (see note 8a):

      

From net investment income

     (65,715     (69,308     (67,612

From return of capital

     (3,592     —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net distributions to stockholders

     (69,307     (69,308     (67,612
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Capital transactions (see note 14):

      

Reinvestment of distributions

     —         —         280  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase in net assets resulting from capital transactions

     —         —         280  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total increase (decrease) in net assets

     (13,291     (2,434     3,098  

Net assets at beginning of year

     919,171       921,605       918,507  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net assets at end of year

   $ 905,880     $ 919,171     $ 921,605  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Capital share activity (see note 14):

      

Common stock issued from reinvestment of distributions

     —         —         12,301  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase from capital share activity

     —         —         12,301  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.

 

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SOLAR CAPITAL LTD.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(in thousands)

 

    Year ended December 31,  
    2019     2018     2017  

Cash Flows from Operating Activities:

     

Net increase in net assets resulting from operations

  $ 56,016     $ 66,874     $ 70,430  

Adjustments to reconcile net increase in net assets resulting from operations to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:

     

Net realized (gain) loss on investments and cash equivalents

    (93     (2,078     7,800  

Net realized loss on extinguishment of debt

    1,853       —         2,782  

Net realized loss on foreign currencies

    —         —         1,433  

Net change in unrealized (gain) loss on investments and cash equivalents

    14,669       10,093       (14,082

(Increase) decrease in operating assets:

     

Purchase of investments

    (403,693     (768,999     (471,623

Proceeds from disposition of investments

    360,014       774,045       329,268  

Net accretion of discount on investments

    (9,242     (7,810     (9,111

Capitalization of payment-in-kind interest

    (1,071     (946     (250

Collections of payment-in-kind interest

    672       785       173  

Receivable for investments sold

    (134     4,087       7,442  

Interest receivable

    2,218       (283     743  

Dividends receivable

    (1,423     5,948       (4,061

Other receivables

    593       (535     (4

Prepaid expenses and other assets

    168       256       (3

Increase (decrease) in operating liabilities:

     

Payable for investments and cash equivalents purchased

    168,271       106,273       (164,776

Management fee payable

    243       (869     503  

Performance-based incentive fee payable

    (332     (47     248  

Administrative services expense payable

    41       (40     (533

Interest payable

    (1,036     2,229       260  

Other liabilities and accrued expenses

    (1,015     2,047       56  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net Cash Provided by (Used in) Operating Activities

    186,719       191,030       (243,305
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Cash Flows from Financing Activities:

     

Cash distributions paid

    (69,307     (68,670     (67,327

Proceeds from issuance of unsecured debt

    197,957       —         193,836  

Deferred financing costs

    969       607       139  

Consolidation of SSLP Facility and SSLP II Facility

    —         61,066       —    

Proceeds from secured borrowings

    967,385       558,374       761,400  

Repayments of secured borrowings

    (1,054,585     (685,980     (706,000

Repayments of unsecured borrowings

    —         —         (100,000
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net Cash Provided by (Used in) Financing Activities