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Trump lifted coal's spirits, but turning that into market success is a challenge

SNL Banker

Credit Analytics Case Study: Carillion Plc

Live Linear OTT Streaming Bumps Up The Multiscreen Transcoder Market

FOX Could Reap Substantial Rewards For 2026 World Cup


Trump lifted coal's spirits, but turning that into market success is a challenge

President Donald Trump and the coal industry’s mutual affinity may have improved investor sentiment toward the sector, but whether companies can parlay that into real market results is far from clear.

The dispositions of coal miners and coal executives alike have vastly improved since Trump won the election. Industry conferences and events once punctuated with dark humor, pessimism and war-like rhetoric are now filled with optimism about the future despite susceptibility to a secular decline in consumption, partially masked by recent success in moving coal to the booming seaborne market.

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"A return to more rational environmental and energy policies should provide clarity and stability to the coal markets and potentially set the stage for growing coal demand in the future," Alliance Resource Partners LP President and CEO Joseph Craft said on an earnings call days after Trump's inauguration.

Coal sector sees Trump improving its public perception

Despite the optimism, domestic U.S. coal consumption has continued to decline, and overall production has hardly budged under Trump as he continues to praise the country's "beautiful, clean coal." Supporters of the president in the coal industry, however, say greater certainty and improved sentiment toward their industry have helped.

"There are a lot of hardworking Americans in the coal industry — and in related industries that support coal mining — who take great pride in their role in delivering affordable, reliable energy to the American people," National Mining Association spokeswoman Ashley Burke said. "To see an administration that values and respects that work is extremely important."

Support for coal coming from the administration is important to how the rest of the country perceives the coal industry, said Betsy Monseu, CEO of the American Coal Council. A financially healthier coal industry supercharged by positive sentiment from the White House is again attracting investors to the sector, she added.

"It is far easier to do that when the markets are improving and the government-induced pressures are subsiding," Monseu said. "[The president's show of support for coal] has opened up dialogues and created new opportunities for the industry."

At the same time, she said, marketplace and policy issues that have "tilted the playing field away from coal" remain.

Companies that sell coal to the domestic power market have yet to see a new coal-fired power plant built in the U.S., and plant retirements have continued despite Trump's efforts to support coal. The sector is enjoying a boost from exports as international pricing remains supportive, but an escalating trade war being waged by Trump and the country's global trade partners may put recent gains at risk.

Ultimately, supply and demand is the real price driver in the market, said Joe Aldina, director of U.S. coal at PIRA Energy Group, an analytics and forecasting unit of S&P Global Platts.

"I do hear more positive sentiment," Aldina said. "I think it doesn't do much for the price of coal. If anything, coal producers have gotten into trouble in the past when their sentiment doesn't meet up with fundamentals and they make decisions that don't position them well for the reality of what's happening in the market."

Policy initiatives by the Trump administration, Aldina said, have had limited impacts "at the margins" but have done little to affect the supply-and-demand dynamic facing U.S. coal.

Moving markets from the White House

However, the president's power is not limited to policymaking. Trump's Twitter habits, specifically his willingness to single out a company or an industry in his messaging, have provided fodder for studying the influence a president's words alone can have on the economy.

"We found on average the comments really do move the price," said Marketa Wolfe, an assistant professor in economics at Skidmore College who studied stock market reactions to the president's company-specific tweets with co-authors Qi Ge, also of Skidmore, and Alexander Kurov of West Virginia University.

The effect was strongest before Trump's inauguration, possibly because the market has since realized not every Trump tweet would become policy, Wolfe said. While the relatively small sample warrants further study, she said the effect may extend sector-wide when Trump praises an industry. Notably, though, in the company-specific examples Wolfe and her colleagues examined, the positive or negative effects often quickly wore off.

"These findings raise the question of whether it is optimal for high-ranking government officials to communicate industrial policy pertaining to specific companies via Twitter where unexpected statements can potentially instantly create or wipe out millions of dollars in shareholder value," the study concluded.

While the media often focuses on high-profile events, investors are far more likely to pay attention to the effects of gradual, fundamental shifts in technology trends and societal preferences, wrote Samson Mukanjari and Thomas Sterner of the University of Gothenburg's economics department, in a study analyzing the market impacts of the last U.S. presidential election and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The lack of a sizable global reaction to the election of Trump — with his desire to promote coal and threats to pull out of international climate agreements — surprised the researchers, Mukanjari said.

"This perhaps signifies the U.S.'s limited power to influence global climate policy," Mukanjari said. He said investors are more likely to pay attention to underlying factors influencing markets or announcements from countries that can more directly influence companies in their economy.

For example, political statements from China, where the government has a stronger hold on markets than in the U.S., seemed to carry more weight than other political events, according to the analysis. Investments in the sector are often made for the long term, and underlying trends outside of politics mean few companies are constructing new mines or coal-fired power plants, Mukanjari said.

"Everyone recognizes that Trump has four [or] maybe eight years in office, and that makes it harder to make long-term investments in the sector," Mukanjari said. "The major challenges facing coal may have little to do with global climate policy but technological developments that have made alternatives to coal much cheaper and changes in consumer preferences among other things. To this end, attempts to promote coal will face similar challenges."

S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts are owned by S&P Global Inc.


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Credit Analysis
Credit Analytics Case Study: Carillion Plc

Highlights

Co-written by Elijah Harden, Risk Services.

Jul. 05 2018 —

Bankruptcy Summary
Carillion Plc (Carillion), a construction services firm, had “declining profit margins” and “high adjusted debt [due to] reverse factoring and its unfunded pension deficit” according to S&P Global Ratings1 . When Carillion filed for liquidation on January 15, 2018, the company had debt and liabilities in excess of £1.5 billion. Trading in the shares was suspended that same day. S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Fundamental Probability of Default (Fundamental PD) rose to 18.27% in the first quarter of 2017 from 1.32% the previous quarter – the equivalent of the implied credit score falling to ‘ccc’ from ‘bb’2 . An additional 30% increase from Q1 to Q2 2017 brought the Fundamental PD to 24%, six months ahead of Carillion’s liquidation. In the quarter leading up to its compulsory liquidation filing, the median Market Signal Probability of Default (Market Signal PD) was 18%, and reached as high as 29%. The Market Signal PD increased nearly sixfold, from 2.17% to 12.69% (equivalent to a credit score decrease from ‘bb-‘ to ‘ccc+’) during July 2017 in response to a share price decline of nearly 70% during the month. Carillion’s share price fell by 39% on July 10 alone, triggered by a profit warning (the first of three) and the announcement of a strategic review.

Exhibit 1: Market Signal and Fundamental PD Escalation

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence as of June 11, 2018. For illustrative purposes only.

Business Description
Carillion provides maintenance, facilities management, and energy services to buildings and large property estates, in public and private sectors; infrastructure services for roads, railways, and utility networks. It serves aviation, corporate, financial services, oil and gas, central and local government, defense, healthcare, transport, education, commercial and retail, and residential and leisure sectors. Carillion was incorporated in 1999 and is headquartered in Wolverhampton, in the United Kingdom.

Fundamental Probability of Default Analysis
Upon closer inspection of the Fundamental PD in the third quarter of 2017, business and financial risks were significant problems for the company, with vulnerable and highly leveraged scores, respectively. In the first quarter of 2017, Carillion’s Fundamental PD of 1.32% was better than the UK Construction & Engineering industry median of 4.43%. The Fundamental PD later increased to place Carillion in the worst 25% of the industry by the second quarter of 2017. The most significant factor contributing to the increase in Fundamental PD is Carillion’s EBIT interest coverage, a measurement of the company’s ability to pay interest on debt, which fell to -0.32 in the first quarter of 2017 from 2.75 in the fourth quarter of 2016 (semiannual data was multiplied by 0.5). The elevated Fundamental PD was also due to total equity and cash interest coverage which stood at -£405MM and 0.09, respectively, in the first quarter of 2017 down from £730MM and 2.7 in Q4 2016. Between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017 EBIT decreased by £132MM to a net loss of £100MM and equity decreased by an astonishing £1,135MM. The Fundamental PD illustrates Carillion’s sizable net losses left the company debt ridden and unable to operate.

Exhibit 2: Fundamental Probability of Default Contribution Analysis

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence as of June 11, 2018. For illustrative purposes only.

Exhibit 3: Key Developments

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence as of June 11, 2018. For illustrative purposes only.

Copyright © 2018 by S&P Global Market Intelligence, a division of S&P Global Inc.
These materials have been prepared solely for information purposes based upon information generally available to the public and from sources believed to be reliable. S&P Global Market Intelligence, its affiliates, and third party providers (together, “S&P Global”) do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of any content provided, including model, software or application, and are not responsible for errors or omissions, or for results obtained in connection with use of content. S&P Global disclaims all express or implied warranties, including (but not limited to) any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or use.

S&P Global Market Intelligence’s opinions, quotes and credit-related and other analyses are statements of opinion as of the date they are expressed and not statements of fact or recommendation to purchase, hold, or sell any securities or to make any investment decisions, and do not address the suitability of any security.

S&P Global keeps certain activities of its divisions separate from each other in order to preserve the independence and objectivity of their respective activities. As a result, certain divisions of S&P Global may have information that is not available to other S&P Global divisions.

S&P Global Ratings does not contribute to or participate in the creation of credit scores generated by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Lowercase nomenclature is used to differentiate S&P Global Market Intelligence PD credit model scores from the credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings.

S&P Global provides a wide range of services to, or relating to, many organizations. It may receive fees or other economic benefits from organizations whose securities or services it may recommend, analyze, rate, include in model portfolios, evaluate, price or otherwise address.

[1] Source: S&P Global Ratings, Carillion’s Demise: What’s At Stake? https://www.capitaliq.com/CIQDotNet/CreditResearch/SPResearch.aspx?DocumentId=38529831&From=SNP_CRS as published on March 23, 2018.
[2] Lowercase nomenclature is used to differentiate S&P Global Market Intelligence PD scores from the credit ratings used by S&P Global Ratings. S&P Global Ratings does not contribute to or participate in the creation of credit scores generated by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Credit Analytics Case Study: Carillion Plc

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Credit Market Pulse March 2018 Issue

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Technology, Media & Telecommunications
Live Linear OTT Streaming Bumps Up The Multiscreen Transcoder Market

Highlights

Multiscreen transcoding is widely used today to prepare and distribute video content in over-the-top and TV Everywhere services.

Jul. 05 2018 — Multiscreen transcoding is widely used today to prepare and distribute video content in over-the-top and TV Everywhere services. Multiscreen transcoding revenue is forecast to grow to $628.2 million in 2022, up from $415.1 million in 2017. However, revenue is not rising as quickly as the amount of video being delivered. There are a large number of competitors, so price pressure and the move from hardware appliances to software licenses and cloud services is affecting worldwide multiscreen transcoder revenue.

The amount of video streamed via the internet continues to grow. However, not all of the video is transcoded using a broadcast-quality multiscreen transcoding solution from the vendors discussed in detail in Kagan's latest transcoder report. Some of the largest video streamers in the world, including Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s YouTube, use an internal solution. Additionally, those who do not need the same level of density or quality may use solutions such as the free FFmpeg or x264 software, particularly for file transcoding. In some cases, a content producer will use the transcoder that is part of its media asset management system rather than a separate transcoding solution.

Growth in live transcoding revenue is being helped by the expansion of TV Everywhere, or TVE, services. Many multichannel video programming distributors continue to expand the number of linear channels and the amount of VOD content available on their TVE systems in order to offer the same ability to view content on other devices as is available via the set-top box, or STB, in the home. For example, Sky Deutschland GmbH is expanding to offer more than 100 linear channels on Sky Go rather than just the Sky Sport channels. OTT provider ivi.ru of Russia added streamed channels to its service in 2018. Nc+ GO of Poland added 22 channels in April 2018.

FFmpeg and open source solutions have more of an impact on the file transcoding market since multiple passes can be done to produce the quality desired. Therefore, file transcoding vendor revenue is not growing as quickly as the live transcoding vendor revenue. However, some content producers and OTT VOD providers do choose to buy products and services for file-based multiscreen transcoding rather than using an internal or open source solution. The amount of content and the number of versions required to monetize that content continues to grow, causing our expectations of revenue in the file transcoding segment to increase by single-digit percentages each year.

Many transcoder vendors offer cloud transcoding services, oftentimes with multiple cloud providers. The cloud providers tend to be agnostic to the transcoder vendors. A primary example of this is Amazon Web Services, or AWS. Even though AWS owns AWS Elemental, many others also run on AWS, including Beamr Ltd., Bitmovin Inc, Encoding.com Inc., Harmonic Inc., Telestream Inc. and Zencoder Inc.

Revenue from cloud transcoding is expected to increase each year as both the overall multiscreen transcoder revenue grows, as well as the percentage of transcoder revenue that comes from transcoder services that run in the public cloud. The advantages of using cloud transcoding simply outweigh any disadvantages for most use cases.

This article provides some of the highlights contained in Kagan's latest in-depth report titled "Worldwide Transcoding: Live linear OTT streaming bumps up the multiscreen transcoder market," which updates vendor activity and provides global forecasts for live and file transcoding revenue by region, as well as cloud transcoding revenues as a percent of total revenues through 2022.

Video CDN Revenue To Reach $2.2 Billion In 2022

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Technology, Media & Telecommunications
FOX Could Reap Substantial Rewards For 2026 World Cup

Jul. 05 2018 — The 2018 FIFA Men's World Cup has struggled with U.S. viewership due in part to the timing of matches aired from Russia. But the June 14 announcement that the quadrennial cup competition will head back to North America in 2026 was likely music to the ears of TV rights owners Telemundo and 21st Century Fox Inc.'s FOX Sports. The choice of a three-country combination — the U.S., Canada, and Mexico — does not come cheap for the U.S. networks, however. The two will pay a combined $887 million for the 2026 games, including an additional approximately $300 million bonus paid to FIFA because North America was chosen as the location.

The upside is that the World Cup will take place in more ideal airing times, offering stronger ad pricing and bigger audiences. In addition, the number of teams in 2026 will increase to 48, compared to 32 today.

The current tournament is the first in which Telemundo and FOX Sports took away rights from Univision Communications Inc. and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN/ABC. The announcement may make up for some of the troubles surrounding this year's competition after the U.S. Men's National Team failed to make the cut. In addition, the tournament is in Russia, meaning many of the games have aired during lower viewing times in the U.S.

Despite the challenges, Telemundo and FOX Sports could deliver higher ad revenues compared to 2014, according to some estimates. Telemundo recently announced that it had reached its goal of $225 million in ad sales for this year's tournament. The networks may be benefiting from unused funds tied to the NBA Finals, which ended after just four games

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