Stifel: American Capital Bankruptcy Likely

(Reuters) – Debt-laden American Capital Ltd (ACAS.O) may file for bankruptcy based on disappointing results of a bondholder vote on debt restructuring, Stifel Nicolaus said, recommending that investors sell the stock.

The business development company’s shares were down 8 percent at $4.80 in morning trade Thursday.

Preliminary vote totals released by American Capital suggest that the company was well below the threshold required for reaching a restructuring agreement with its debt holders outside of bankruptcy, analyst Greg Mason said.

“We believe the probability of bankruptcy has risen significantly, which could result in a $3-4 stock price as ACAS restructures its debt agreement in bankruptcy,” the analyst wrote in a note to clients.

The company did not return calls seeking comment.

On Wednesday, American Capital said it extended an offer to the exchange its debt to June 8 from its previously scheduled expiration date of June 1.

As of that date, over 90 percent of its public senior notes were not tendered. The vote was seeking bondholders’ approval for restructuring current bonds into the new debt structure and for agreeing to the same offer in bankruptcy court, if the exchange offer is rejected. (Reporting by Abhinav Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Kurian