Leveraged Loans

Leveraged Loans Definition

Leveraged Loans refer to the loans which carry the high risk of the default in repayment as these loans are given to the companies or an individual who already has considerable levels of debts and may have a poor history or credit due to which such loans have the high rate of interest.

In simple words, it refers to those type of loans which are extended to such individuals or companies that have a poor credit history or already burdened with a significant amount of debt. Due to a higher risk of default, such loans are usually more costly for the borrower, i.e., individuals or companies availing such loans have to pay interest rates higher than typical loans. Leveraged loans are also known as senior secured credits. These loans are used for refinancing the existing capital structure or supporting a full recapitalizationA Full RecapitalizationA recapitalization is a method of restructuring the ratios of various capital-generating modes, such as debt, equity, and preference shares, based on WACC and other company requirements, such as desired control level.read more, while it is primarily used for funding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities.

Types of Leveraged Loans Syndication

It can be categorized into three major types – Underwritten deal, Best-efforts syndication, and Club deal. Now, let us have a look at each of them separately:

Leveraged Loans

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#1 – Underwritten Deal

The underwriter or arrangers use the underwritten deal for leveraged loan syndication predominantly in Europe. In this type of loan syndication, the arranger is committed to selling the entire amount of loan. In case the underwriter fails to get enough investors to fully subscribe to the loan, then as per commitment, they are obligated to purchase the remaining unsubscribed portion of the loan themselves, which they may sell in the market later. The lower subscription is seen in case the market itself is bearish or the creditor’s fundamentals are weak. If the market continues to be bearishBearishBearish market refers to an opinion where the stock market is likely to go down or correct shortly. It is predicted in consideration of events that are happening or are bound to happen which would drag down the prices of the stocks in the market.read more, the underwriter is then forced to sell the unsubscribed potion at a discount and book the loss on the paper as “selling through fees.”

Despite such a high risk of losses, underwritersUnderwritersThe underwriters take the financial risk of their client in return of a financial fee. Market Makers like financial institution and large banks ensure that there is enough amount of liquidity in the market by ensuring that enough trading volume is there.read more are always on the look for such loans for two primary reasons:

  • Underwriting such loans can make the financial institution look more competitive that can eventually help them win future mandates.
  • Given the risk associated with leveraged loans, underwriting such loans usually result in more lucrative fees.

#2 – Best-Efforts Syndication

The best-efforts syndication is predominant in the United States. In this type of loan syndicationLoan SyndicationA loan syndication is an arrangement in which multiple lenders pool their resources to lend to a single entity. It is done to meet a borrower's large requirements, and the lenders are typically banks and other financial institutions.read more, the arranger is not obligated to underwrite the entire amount of the loan. In fact, if the loan amount is undersubscribed, then the credit may not close or may be taken up further adjustments to take advantage of the variation in the market. However, if the loan continues to be undersubscribed even after the changes, then the borrower may have to accept the lower loan amount because otherwise, the deal may go off the table entirely.

#3 – Club Deal

A club deal is a transaction type where a large number of lenders (usually private equity) extend the loan for an M&A activity. The size of the loan is typically larger than what anyone lenders could fund on their own. The striking feature of a club deal is that it allows the private equity players to acquire targets that were once only available to larger strategic players while distributing the exposure risk across the lender group. The lead arranger and the other members of the club deal consortium have an almost equal share of the fees that are charged on the leveraged loan. A club deal usually entails a smaller loan amount typically between $25 million and $100 million, although at times, it goes as high as $150 million. A club deal is also referred to as a syndicated investment.



Important Points to Note about Leveraged Loans

  • By the end of 2018, the outstanding balance of leveraged loans in the United States stood at $1.15Tn.
  • By the end of 2018, the outstanding balance of leveraged loans in Europe stood at €180Bn.
  • According to a report by Leveraged Data & Commentary unit of S& P Global Market Intelligence, 85% of all such loans were “covenant-lite” as of the end of the year 2018. Covenant-lite means that these loans do not require the borrower to maintain or meet certain financial benchmarks, which used to be the norm for traditional financing.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Leveraged Loans and its definition. Here we discuss the types of leveraged loans along with its advantages and disadvantages. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –

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