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Royal makes offer for Atlantic; Oil, gas M&A primed to pick up

Street Talk Episode 40 - Digital Banks Take a Page Out of 'Mad Men'

Broadband Only Homes Skyrocket In 2018 Validating Top MSOs Connectivity Pivot

Power Forecast Briefing: As retirements accelerate, can renewable energy fill the gap?

2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Fundamentals View


Royal makes offer for Atlantic; Oil, gas M&A primed to pick up

Coal M&A news

Royal EnergyResources Inc. joined two other companies making preliminary approachesfor the U.K.-based coal mining company Atlantic Carbon Group Plc. Atlantic Carbon has5,488,538,505 ordinary shares and controls anthracite mines in easternPennsylvania, according to a Sept. 20 release from Atlantic announcing thepreliminary approach from the Charleston, S.C.-based Royal Energy.

Mining majors YancoalAustralia Ltd., a Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. subsidiary, and are said to be inadvanced discussions to acquire Rio Tinto's coal mining assets in Australia, The Australian reported Sept. 26.According to the report, no single party is conducting exclusive due diligence,but "bilateral talks" are underway between both the hopefuls.


Naturalgas/midstream M&A news

Appalachian shale gas driller Rice Energy Inc. intends to use a purchase of an adjacentoperator in Pennsylvania to drill longer laterals, lower well costs and liftproduction to 2 Bcf/d in the next few years, company executives said.

Cheniere EnergyInc. on Sept. 30 proposed to buy out all of 's shares it does not already own in a stock-for-stock dealvalued at $1.01 billion. Under the merger proposal, Cheniere would issue 0.5049share for each of outstanding share of Cheniere Partners Holdings, whichrepresents a value of $21.90 per share.

DTE EnergyCo.'s pending purchase of Appalachian gas gathering assets is partof the diversified utility company's plan to make money by giving natural gasproducers additional options for getting out of the Marcellus Shale. DTE Energyannounced Sept. 26 that it made plans to buy midstream gas assets in the Appalachian Basin from and for about$1.3 billion.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. CFO Kathleen Quirk indicated thatthe company will proceed with the US$2 billion sale of its deepwater Gulf ofMexico assets to AnadarkoPetroleum Corp. without bondholders' approval, as some of them aredemanding more money and changes to existing lender agreements.

Duke EnergyCorp. cleared the final regulatory hurdle in its of , and thedeal will close Oct. 3. The North Carolina Utilities Commission issued an orderSept. 29 approving the merger.

Even as corporate takeovers remain scarce, deals involvingupstream oil and gas assets should ramp up after gathering momentum during thethird quarter in a trend that will benefit both buyers and sellers, S&PGlobal Ratings said. "[T]his trend has been positive for the industry's overallcredit quality because companies have so far remained conservative about leverage,"S&P's Ben Tsocanos said in a Sept. 27 note.

Sunoco LogisticsPartners LP struck a deal to acquire Vitol Group's Permian Basincrude oil system for about $760 million plus working capital. Expected to closein the fourth quarter, the acquisition includes a 2 million barrel crude oilterminal in Midland, Texas; a crude oil gathering and mainline pipeline systemin the Midland Basin; crude oil inventories related to Vitol's crude oilpurchasing and marketing business in West Texas; and the remaining 50% interestin SunVit Pipeline LLC.

CenterPoint EnergyInc.'s CFO said Sept. 28 that, with the 30-day window to accept anoffer from OGE EnergyCorp. for its ownership stake in Enable Midstream Partners passing, he had no deal toreport. OGE on Aug. 17 submitted a proposal to acquire, along with a thirdparty, CenterPoint's 55.4% interest in Enable.

An Enbridge IncomeFund Holdings Inc. affiliate agreed to sell its liquid pipelinesassets in the South Prairie region in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to TundraEnergy Marketing Ltd. for C$1.08 billion. The assets for sale are Enbridge'sliquid pipelines and facilities in southeast Saskatchewan and southwestManitoba, including the Saskatchewan and Weyburn gathering systems and theWestspur trunk line.

InfraestructuraEnergetica Nova SAB de CV, or IEnova, has completed the of 's 50% equity in the Gasoductos deChihuahua joint venturefor about $1.14 billion. IEnova is a Mexican subsidiary of .

For the past two years, oil and gas industry observers have beenwaiting for a surge in upstream M&A activity. Now that a price reboundappears to be occurring, the long-anticipated jump in M&A may finally becoming, a Deloitte executive said.

TransCanadaCorp. subsidiary Columbia Pipeline Group Inc. has made an offer toacquire Columbia PipelinePartners LP in an all-cash deal valued at about $848.0 million, or$15.75 per unit.

Newfield ExplorationCo. closed the sale of its producing oil and gas properties andundeveloped acreage in Texas, receiving $380 million in combined proceeds. Thecompany sold unconventional assets in the Eagle Ford Shale to Protégé EnergyIII LLC and conventional natural gas assets in south and west Texas to anundisclosed entity.

Shell MidstreamPartners LP will acquire an additional 20% equity interest in MarsOil Pipeline Co. and a 49% equity interest in from for $350million. The drop down will be funded with cash on hand and borrowings underShell Midstream's credit facilities.

SemGroupCorp. completed its merger with Rose Rock Midstream LP as scheduled, assuming fullownership of thepartnership's outstanding units. SemGroup's stockholders and Rose Rock Midstream's controllingcompanies bothapproved the merger over the past month.

Tarsier EnergyLtd. is seeking FERC approval by Oct. 31 to 100% of the membershipinterests in Bluco EnergyLLC from GoComCorp., according to an application filed Sept. 23. Financial terms ofthe deal were not disclosed.


Listen: Street Talk Episode 40 - Digital Banks Take a Page Out of 'Mad Men'

Mar. 20 2019 — Some fintech companies are making hay with digital platforms that tout their differences with banks, even though they are often offering virtually the same products. In the episode, we discuss with colleagues Rachel Stone and Kiah Haslett the deposit strategies employed by the likes of Chime, Aspiration and other incumbent players such as Ally Financial, Discover and Capital One. Those efforts conjure up memories of a Don Draper pitch in Mad Men and likely will enjoy continued success.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Broadband Only Homes Skyrocket In 2018 Validating Top MSOs Connectivity Pivot

Highlights

The segment stood at an estimated 23.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, accounting for 24% of all wireline high-speed data homes.

The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Mar. 20 2019 — The U.S. broadband-only home segment logged its largest net adds on record in 2018, validating Comcast Corp.'s and Charter Communications Inc.'s moves to make broadband, or connectivity, the keystone of their cable communication businesses.

The size and momentum of the segment also put in perspective the recent high-profile online-video video announcements by the top two cable operators as well as AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia shake-up and plans to go toe-to-toe with Netflix in the subscription video-on-demand arena in the next 12 months.

We estimate that wireline broadband households not subscribing to traditional multichannel, or broadband-only homes, rose by nearly 4.3 million in 2018, topping the gains from the previous year by roughly 22%. Overall, the segment stood at an estimated 23.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, accounting for 24% of all wireline high-speed data homes.

For perspective, broadband-only homes stood at an estimated 11.3 million a mere four years ago, accounting for 13% of residential cable and telco broadband subscribers.

The once all-powerful, must-have live linear TV model, which individuals and families essentially treated as a utility upon moving into a new residence, increasingly is viewed as too expensive and unwieldy in the era of affordable, nimble internet-based video alternatives. This has resulted in a sizable drop in penetration of occupied households.

As a result, continued legacy cord cutting is baked in and broadband-only homes are expected to continue to rise at a fast clip, with the segment's momentum in the next few years compounded by Comcast's, Charter's and AT&T's ambitious moves into online-video territory.

Note: we revised historical broadband-only home estimates as part of our fourth-quarter 2018, following restatements of historical telco broadband subscriber figures and residential traditional multichannel subscriber adjustments.

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Q4'18 multichannel video losses propel full-year drop to edge of 4 million

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Q4'18 multiproduct analysis sheds more light on video's fall from grace

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Watch: Power Forecast Briefing: As retirements accelerate, can renewable energy fill the gap?

Mar. 19 2019 — Steve Piper shares the outlook for U.S. power markets, discussing capacity retirements and whether continued development of wind and solar power plants may mitigate the generation shortfall.

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Credit Analysis
2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Fundamentals View

Mar. 15 2019 — On November 20, 2018, a joint event hosted by S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Ratings took place in London, focusing on credit risk and 2019 perspectives.

Pascal Hartwig, Credit Product Specialist, and I provided a review of the latest trends observed across non-financial corporate firms through the lens of S&P Global Market Intelligence’s statistical models.1 In particular, Pascal focused on the outputs produced by a statistical model that uses market information to estimate credit risk of public companies; if you want to know more, you can visit here.

I focused on an analysis of how different Brexit scenarios may impact the credit risk of European Union (EU) private companies that are included on S&P Capital IQ platform.

Before, this, I looked at the evolution of their credit risk profile from 2013 to 2017, as shown in Figure 1. Scores were generated via Credit Analytics’ PD Model Fundamentals Private, a statistical model that uses company financials and other socio-economic factors to estimate the PD of private companies globally. Credit scores are mapped to PD values, which are based on/derived from S&P Global Ratings Observed Default Rates.

Figure 1: EU private company scores generated by PD Model Fundamentals Private, between 2013 and 2017.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence.2 As of October 2018.

For any given year, the distribution of credit scores of EU private companies is concentrated below the ‘a’ level, due to the large number of small revenue and unrated firms on the S&P Capital IQ platform. An overall improvement of the risk profile is visible, with the score distribution moving leftwards between 2013 and 2017. A similar picture is visible when comparing companies by country or industry sector,3 confirming that there were no clear signs of a turning point in the credit cycle of private companies in any EU country or industry sector. However, this view is backward looking and does not take into account the potential effects of an imminent and major political and economic event in the (short) history of the EU: Brexit.

To this purpose, S&P Global Market Intelligence has developed a statistical model: the Credit Analytics Macro-scenario model enables users to study how potential future macroeconomic scenarios may affect the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU private companies. This model was developed by looking at the historical evolution of S&P Global Ratings’ rated companies under different macroeconomic conditions, and can be applied to smaller companies after the PD is mapped to a S&P Global Market Intelligence credit score.

“Soft Brexit” (Figure 2): This scenario is based on the baseline forecast made by economists at S&P Global Ratings and is characterized by a gentle slow-down of economic growth, a progressive monetary policy tightening, and low yet volatile stock-market growth.4

Figure 2: “Soft Brexit” macro scenario.5

Source: S&P Global Ratings Economists. As of October 2018.

Applying the Macro-scenario model, we analyze the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU companies over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020, by industry sector and by country:

  • Sector Analysis (Figure 3):
    • The median credit risk score within specific industry sectors (Aerospace & Defense, Pharmaceuticals, Telecoms, Utilities, and Real Estate) shows a good degree of resilience, rising by less than half a notch by 2020 and remaining comfortably below the ‘b+’ threshold.
    • The median credit score of the Retail and Consumer Products sectors, however, is severely impacted, breaching the high risk threshold (here defined at the ‘b-’ level).
    • The remaining industry sectors show various dynamics, but essentially remain within the intermediate risk band (here defined between the ‘b+’ and the ‘b-’ level).

Figure 3: “Soft Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by industry.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

  • Country Analysis (Figure 4):
    • Although the median credit risk score may not change significantly in certain countries, the associated default rates need to be adjusted for the impact of the credit cycle.6 The “spider-web plot” shows the median PD values for private companies within EU countries, adjusted for the credit cycle. Here we include only countries with a minimum number of private companies within the Credit Analytics pre-scored database, to ensure a robust statistical analysis.
    • Countries are ordered by increasing level of median PD, moving clock-wise from Netherlands to Greece.
    • Under a soft Brexit scenario, the PD of UK private companies increases between 2018 and 2020, but still remains below the yellow threshold (corresponding to a ‘b+’ level).
    • Interestingly, Italian private companies suffer more than their Spanish peers, albeit starting from a slightly lower PD level in 2017.

Figure 4: “Soft Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by country.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

“Hard Brexit” (Figure 5): This scenario is extracted from the 2018 Stress-Testing exercise of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Bank of England.7 Under this scenario, both the EU and UK may go into a recession similar to the 2008 global crisis. Arguably, this may seem a harsh scenario for the whole of the EU, but a recent report by the Bank of England warned that a disorderly Brexit may trigger a UK crisis worse than 2008.8

Figure 5: “Hard Brexit” macro scenario.9

Sources:”2018 EU-wide stress test – methodological note” (European Banking Authority, November 2017) and “Stress Testing the UK Banking system: 2018 guidance for participating banks and building societies“ (Bank of England, March 2018).

Also in this case, we apply the Macro-scenario model to analyze the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU companies over the same three-year period, by industry sector and by country:

  • Sector Analysis (Figure 6):
    • Despite all industry sectors being severely impacted, the Pharmaceuticals and Utilities sectors remain below the ‘b+’ level (yellow threshold).
    • Conversely, the Airlines and Energy sectors join Retail and Consumer Products in the “danger zone” above the ‘b-’ level (red threshold).
    • The remaining industry sectors will either move into or remain within the intermediate risk band (here defined between the ‘b+’ and the ‘b-’ level).

Figure 6: “Hard Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by industry.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

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  • Country Analysis (Figure 7):
    • Under a hard Brexit scenario, the PD of UK private companies increases between 2017 and 2020, entering the intermediate risk band and suffering even more than its Irish peers.
    • Notably, by 2020 the French private sector may suffer more than the Italian private sector, reaching the attention threshold (here shown as a red circle, and corresponding to a ‘b-’ level).
    • While it is hard to do an exact like-for-like comparison, it is worth noting that our conclusions are broadly aligned with the findings from the 48 banks participating in the 2018 stress-testing exercise, as recently published by the EBA:10 the major share of 2018-2020 new credit risk losses in the stressed scenario will concentrate among counterparties in the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany (leaving aside the usual suspects, such as Greece, Portugal, etc.).

Figure 7: “Hard Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by country.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

In conclusion: In Europe, the private companies’ credit risk landscape does not yet signal a distinct turning point, however Brexit may act as a pivot point and a catalyst for a credit cycle inversion, with an intensity that will be dependent on the Brexit type of landing (i.e., soft versus hard).

1 S&P Global Ratings does not contribute to or participate in the creation of credit scores generated by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
2 Lowercase nomenclature is used to differentiate S&P Global Market Intelligence credit scores from the credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings.
3 Not shown here.
4 Measured via Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth, Long-term / Short-term (L/S) European Central Bank Interest Rate Spread, and FTSE100 or STOXX50 stock market growth, respectively.
5 Macroeconomic forecast for 2018-2020 (end of year) by economists at S&P Global Ratings; the baseline case assumes the UK and the EU will reach a Brexit deal (e.g. a “soft Brexit”).
6 When the credit cycle deteriorates (improves), default rates are expected to increase (decrease).
7 Source: “2018 EU-wide stress test – methodological note” (EBA, November 2017) and “Stress Testing the UK Banking system: 2018 guidance for participating banks and building societies”. (Bank of England, March 2018).
8 Source: “EU withdrawal scenarios and monetary and financial stability – A response to the House of Commons Treasury Committee”. (Bank of England, November 2018).
9 As a hard Brexit scenario, we adopt the stressed scenario included in the 2018 stress testing exercise and defined by the EBA and the Bank of England.
10 See, for example, Figure 18 in “2018 EU-Wide Stress Test Result” (EBA November 2018), found at:https://eba.europa.eu/documents/10180/2419200/2018-EU-wide-stress-test-Results.pdf

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2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Market-Driven View

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