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Volta Finance Limited (VTA / VTAS) – December 2021 monthly report
NOT FOR RELEASE, DISTRIBUTION, OR PUBLICATION, IN WHOLE OR PART, IN OR INTO THE UNITED STATES
Guernsey, 12 January 2021
AXA IM has published the Volta Finance Limited (the “Company” or “Volta Finance” or “Volta”) monthly report for December. The full report is attached to this release and will be available on Volta’s website shortly (www.voltafinance.com).
PERFORMANCE and PORTFOLIO ACTIVITY
Volta’s performance was positive once again in December, rising by 0.3%, including the dividend of €0.15 per share accounted for in the period. This brings the total return for the full calendar year to 17.9%. Once again this month, the performance of Volta’s portfolio bore little correlation to wider markets: loan cash flows remained resilient and no meaningful news arose to alter the expectation that defaults will remain low and cash flows strong.
The underlying performance of the Company’s assets, and even the mark-to-market performance, were little impacted by the new Omicron Covid variant and, for the moment, have not reacted to the more hawkish tone of US Federal Reserve monetary policy. The market is now pricing that the Fed will act more swiftly than a few months ago and it is probable that we will see more volatility on fixed-rate instruments in the coming months.
Volta is mainly invested in CLO tranches, whose performance would not be adversely impacted by the predicted future path of interest rates as long as those rate hikes are not so numerous that they begin to notably impair companies’ ability to service their debts and refinance in due course. When considering what happened on this front (inflation/monetary policy) in 2021, it was constructive for Volta’s assets: we had much more inflation than in previous years, most of the companies were able to adjust selling prices so that companies’ EBITDA and profits increased significantly (10 to 15% expected for the whole of 2021) while no rate increases squeezed companies’ cost of debt. As a result, the usual measure of default rates in loan markets finished the year at a very low level: 0.3% in the US and 0.6% in Europe (on a last 12-month basis).
For 2022, we expect debt erosion to continue helping companies rolling their debt, and the maturity wall for loan markets to continue migrating to 2028/2029 so that it is reasonable to expect default rates to stay relatively low in 2022 (and probably 2023). The consequence would be that Volta would continue receiving high cash flows from its investments (especially given that almost two-thirds of the portfolio is CLO Equity positions).
December is generally a relatively low-volume month in terms of CLO interests and coupons with the equivalent of €0.8m being received. On a 6-month rolling basis to the end of December, Volta received the equivalent of €23.6m, representing a 17.7% annualised cash flow yield, based on the end of the month NAV.
In December, we took the opportunity of the modest price decrease in loans to open a new US CLO warehouse. We expect this warehouse to be transformed into a US CLO Equity position at the end of Q1 2022. The more the CLO manager can purchase loans at a discount the better for our future CLO Equity position.
Turning to the detailed asset classes, the monthly performances** were: +3.5% for Bank Balance Sheet transactions, +0.4% for CLO equity tranches; +1.2% for CLO debt; -0.8% for Cash Corporate Credit and ABS (together representing 3.0% of NAV). The long USD exposure contributed negatively to the monthly performance by 0.3%.
As at the end of December Volta was fully invested and CLO Debt/Equity/Warehouses represented 90% of the assets. Month after month we are gradually transitioning Volta towards being a pure CLO vehicle and this process will continue with the remaining residual non-CLO assets during 2022.
As at the end of December 2021, Volta’s NAV was €265.8m or €7.27 per share.
*It should be noted that approximately 7.5% of Volta’s GAV comprises investments for which the relevant NAVs as at the month-end date are normally available only after Volta’s NAV has already been published. Volta’s policy is to publish its NAV on as timely a basis as possible to provide shareholders with Volta’s appropriately up-to-date NAV information. Consequently, such investments are valued using the most recently available NAV for each fund or quoted price for such subordinated notes. The most recently available fund NAV or quoted price was 6.9% as at 30 November 2021, 0.6% as at 30 September 2021.
** “performances” of asset classes are calculated as the Dietz-performance of the assets in each bucket, taking into account the Mark-to-Market of the assets at period ends, payments received from the assets over the period, and ignoring changes in cross-currency rates. Nevertheless, some residual currency effects could impact the aggregate value of the portfolio when aggregating each bucket.
For the Investment Manager
AXA Investment Managers Paris
+33 (0) 1 44 45 84 47
Company Secretary and Administrator
BNP Paribas Securities Services S.C.A, Guernsey Branch
+44 (0) 1481 750 853
Cenkos Securities plc
+44 (0) 20 7397 8900
ABOUT VOLTA FINANCE LIMITED
Volta Finance Limited is incorporated in Guernsey under The Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008 (as amended) and listed on Euronext Amsterdam and the London Stock Exchange's Main Market for listed securities. Volta’s home member state for the purposes of the EU Transparency Directive is the Netherlands. As such, Volta is subject to regulation and supervision by the AFM, being the regulator for financial markets in the Netherlands.
Volta’s investment objectives are to preserve capital across the credit cycle and to provide a stable stream of income to its shareholders through dividends. Volta seeks to attain its investment objectives predominantly through diversified investments in structured finance assets. The assets that the Company may invest in either directly or indirectly include, but are not limited to: corporate credits; sovereign and quasi-sovereign debt; residential mortgage loans; and, automobile loans. The Company’s approach to investment is through vehicles and arrangements that essentially provide leveraged exposure to portfolios of such underlying assets. The Company has appointed AXA Investment Managers Paris an investment management company with a division specialised in structured credit, for the investment management of all its assets.
ABOUT AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS
AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) is a multi-expert asset management company within the AXA Group, a global leader in financial protection and wealth management. AXA IM is one of the largest European-based asset managers with 767 investment professionals and €866 billion in assets under management as of the end of June 2021.
This press release is published by AXA Investment Managers Paris (“AXA IM”), in its capacity as alternative investment fund manager (within the meaning of Directive 2011/61/EU, the “AIFM Directive”) of Volta Finance Limited (the "Volta Finance") whose portfolio is managed by AXA IM.
This press release is for information only and does not constitute an invitation or inducement to acquire shares in Volta Finance. Its circulation may be prohibited in certain jurisdictions and no recipient may circulate copies of this document in breach of such limitations or restrictions. This document is not an offer for sale of the securities referred to herein in the United States or to persons who are “U.S. persons” for purposes of Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or otherwise in circumstances where such offer would be restricted by applicable law. Such securities may not be sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration from the Securities Act. Volta Finance does not intend to register any portion of the offer of such securities in the United States or to conduct a public offering of such securities in the United States.
This communication is only being distributed to and is only directed at (i) persons who are outside the United Kingdom or (ii) investment professionals falling within Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “Order”) or (iii) high net worth companies, and other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order (all such persons together being referred to as “relevant persons”). The securities referred to herein are only available to, and any invitation, offer or agreement to subscribe, purchase or otherwise acquire such securities will be engaged in only with, relevant persons. Any person who is not a relevant person should not act or rely on this document or any of its contents. Past performance cannot be relied on as a guide to future performance.
This press release contains statements that are, or may deemed to be, "forward-looking statements". These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms "believes", "anticipated", "expects", "intends", "is/are expected", "may", "will" or "should". They include the statements regarding the level of the dividend, the current market context and its impact on the long-term return of Volta Finance's investments. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Volta Finance's actual results, portfolio composition and performance may differ materially from the impression created by the forward-looking statements. AXA IM does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking statements.
Any target information is based on certain assumptions as to future events which may not prove to be realised. Due to the uncertainty surrounding these future events, the targets are not intended to be and should not be regarded as profits or earnings or any other type of forecasts. There can be no assurance that any of these targets will be achieved. In addition, no assurance can be given that the investment objective will be achieved.
The figures provided that relate to past months or years and past performance cannot be relied on as a guide to future performance or construed as a reliable indicator as to future performance. Throughout this review, the citation of specific trades or strategies is intended to illustrate some of the investment methodologies and philosophies of Volta Finance, as implemented by AXA IM. The historical success or AXA IM’s belief in the future success, of any of these trades or strategies is not indicative of, and has no bearing on, future results.
The valuation of financial assets can vary significantly from the prices that the AXA IM could obtain if it sought to liquidate the positions on behalf of the Volta Finance due to market conditions and general economic environment. Such valuations do not constitute a fairness or similar opinion and should not be regarded as such.
Editor: AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS PARIS, a company incorporated under the laws of France, having its registered office located at Tour Majunga, 6, Place de la Pyramide - 92800 Puteaux. AXA IMP is authorized by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers under registration number GP92008 as an alternative investment fund manager within the meaning of the AIFM Directive.