Oaktree taps CLO market for first time this year

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Oaktree Capital Management has put together its first broadly syndicated CLO of 2017.

The $553.1 million Oaktree EIF III Series II has an unusual capital structure. Just two classes of senior notes will be issued, along with a single subordinate tranche that comprises nearly one-third of the entire capital stack. The deal is has less leverage than most launched in recent months, according to S&P Global Ratings.

The transaction comes on the heels of several other debut 2017 deals for long-time CLO managers in the past week, including Brigade Capital Management and Palmer Square Capital Management. Another seasoned manager, Bain Capital, recently structured its first European CLO for the year, as well.

The A-1 series totaling $330 million has a preliminary triple-A ratings from S&P and Moody’s Investors Service, with an expected coupon of three-month Libor plus 118 basis points.

A Class A-2 tranche will be priced at Libor plus 145 basis points is sized at $51.1 million, and also rated Aaa by Moody’s; however, S&P has left it unrated, as it did the $172 million unrated subordinate tranche making up more than 31% of the transaction size.

The deal is expected to close Sept. 14, with a relatively short 3.5-year reinvestment period.

The credit metrics on the new portfolio show Oaktree with a lower subordination level of 40.34% compared to the three-month trailing average of other CLOs rated by S&P (41.37%). The deal’s total leverage is only 2.2x, compared to a peer average of 9.61%.

The loans are concentrated in high-tech industries (13.65 of the portfolio’s par amount) and 12.2% for business services among the 230 obligors in the pool.

The first transaction of the year for Oaktree brings its total U.S. CLO assets under management to about $2 billion. Oaktree has been active in refinancing, with several 2014 and 2015 vintage deals.

Oaktree, based in Los Angeles, has more than $99 billion in total assets under management. It currently manages nine CLOs.

Brigade Capital Management last week priced its $652.75 million Battalion CLO XI; meanwhile Palmer Square issued its $302.9 million Palmer Square Loan Funding 2017-1 to bring the manager’s total managed and serviced CLO assets to about $2.63 billion.

Bain Capital Euro CLO 2017-1 is sized at €362.5 million, with a €206.5 million triple-A tranche rated by S&P.

According to Thomson Reuters LPC, $9.5 billion in new deals have priced in August through 19 transactions. That already makes August the fourth-busiest month of the year, as the market heads into an expected pre-Labor Day lull for new issuance.

Nearly $6 billion in CLO refi and reset activity has also taken place this month, according to JPMorgan leveraged loan and high-yield research.

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