Saturday, November 28, 2009

American Capital Crams Down Debt Holders

American Capital defaulted on $2.3 billion in unsecured debt in May. Credit default swaps did not pay as the U.S. eliminated debt restructurings as a trigger. WaPo reported a debt restructuring is in the works.

American Capital, a key financial player in the Washington region for decades, said it has reached agreements with lenders on 95 percent of its loans in an attempt to avert bankruptcy, the company said in a regulatory filing Friday.

The recession has hammered the value of the companies in American Capital's portfolio.

More than the recession hammered one American Capital subsidiary, Scientific Protein Labs (SPL). American Capital's website says it owns 87% of SPL. Scientific Protein Labs is the company that supplied a deadly heparin ingredient to Baxter. Most of the toxic material came from an SPL joint venture in China. It's not clear what role owner driven profit targets and cost cutting played in the production of deadly heparin ingredients.

American Capital is a private equity underwriter (PEU). Despite the proven financial risks to this model, the Obama team sees PEU's as the answer to America's ills from infrastructure to health care to education to banking. At least two of those sectors could be deadly.