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Default, Transition, and Recovery: European Defaults Reach Nearly One-Third Of This Year's Global Tally

The 2021 global corporate default tally has increased to 24 after two companies from Europe defaulted since our last report:

  • U.K.-based integrated marine service provider AI Mistral Holdco Ltd.
  • One confidential issuer

European defaults are elevated, now making up nearly one-third of the total global default tally. With seven defaults so far, the region's first-quarter default tally has reached an all-time high. The proportion of defaults from Europe, at 29%, is the highest since the third quarter of 2018, at 38% (13 defaults). However, financing conditions remain largely accommodative throughout the region as the number of quarterly defaults has slowed considerably since 2020 (see chart 1).

The 12-month trailing speculative-grade default rate for Europe rose to 5.4% in February 2021 from 5.0% in January (see table 1). We expect it to rise to 6.5% by December 2021 (see "The European Speculative-Grade Corporate Default Rate Could Reach 6.5% By December 2021," Feb. 25, 2021).

Chart 1

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This Week's Observations

  • By region, the U.S. leads the global corporate default tally with 14, followed by Europe with seven.
  • Three of the seven defaults from Europe resulted from distressed exchanges (see chart 6).
  • By sector, consumer products lead the European default tally with two.
  • The 12-month trailing speculative-grade default rate for the global energy and natural resources sector increased to 16.9% in February 2021 from 15.6% in January (see chart 5).

Chart 2

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Chart 3

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Chart 4

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Chart 5

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Chart 6

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Table 1

Year To Date, Defaults Are Lower In 2021 (24) Than In 2020 (29)
Global corporate default summary
Region 12-month trailing speculative-grade default rate (%) 2021 YTD default tally 2020 YTD default tally 2020 default tally Weakest links tally
U.S. 6.4 14 19 146 322
Emerging markets 3.1 2 5 28 35
Europe 5.4 7 4 42 84
Other developed 5.9 1 1 10 25
Global 5.4 24 29 226 466
Notes: Trailing-12-month default rates from Feb. 29, 2020-Feb. 28, 2021, are preliminary and subject to change. Other developed region consists of Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand. Default counts may include confidentially rated issuers. Year-to-date data as of March 24, 2021. Weakest link data as of Jan. 31, 2021. Sources: S&P Global Ratings Research and S&P Global Market Intelligence's CreditPro®.

Table 2

The 2021 Global Corporate Default Tally Rises To 24
Date Parent company Country Subsector To From Reason
1/5/2021

HGIM Corp.

U.S. Oil and gas SD CC Distressed exchange
1/6/2021

Promotora de Informaciones S.A.

Spain Media and entertainment SD CC Distressed exchange
1/8/2021

Burger BossCo Intermediate Inc.

U.S. Retail/restaurants SD CCC Distressed exchange
1/8/2021

Riverbed Parent Inc.

U.S. High technology SD CC Distressed exchange
1/21/2021

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.

U.S. Media and entertainment SD CC Distressed exchange
1/25/2021

Awesome Acquisition Co. L.P.

U.S. Retail/restaurants D NR Chapter 11
1/25/2021

Alpha Media LLC

U.S. Media and entertainment D NR Bankruptcy
1/27/2021

Imagine Group LLC (The)

U.S. Media and entertainment D CCC Distressed exchange
2/2/2021

Belk Inc.

U.S. Retail/restaurants D CC Missed interest payments
2/3/2021

Peabody Energy Corp.

U.S. Metals, mining, and steel SD CC Distressed exchange
2/3/2021 Confidential Confidential Health care SD CCC- Confidential
2/11/2021 Confidential Confidential Automotive D CCC- Confidential
2/11/2021

Vallourec

France Oil and gas SD CC Missed principal payments
2/19/2021

Renfro Corp.

U.S. Consumer products SD CCC- Distressed exchange
2/22/2021

CatLuxe Sarl (CatLuxe Acquisition Sarl)

Luxembourg Consumer products SD CCC+ Distressed exchange
2/22/2021

Form Technologies LLC

U.S. Capital goods SD CC Distressed exchange
2/26/2021

YPF S.A

Argentina Oil and gas SD CC Distressed exchange
3/2/2021

Sunshine 100 China Holdings Ltd.*

Cayman Islands Homebuilders/real estate companies SD CCC- Distressed exchange
3/8/2021 Confidential Confidential Financial institutions D B+ Confidential
3/16/2021

Ensign Drilling Inc. (Ensign Energy Services Inc.)

Canada Oil and gas SD CCC+ Distressed exchange
3/16/2021

HighPoint Resources Corp.

U.S. Oil and gas D CC Chapter 11
3/17/2021

Washington Prime Group Inc.

U.S. Homebuilders/real estate companies D CC Missed interest payments
3/18/2021 Confidential Confidential Consumer products D CCC Confidential
3/23/2021

AI Mistral Holdco Ltd.

U.K. Transportation SD CCC+ Distressed exchange
*Sunshine 100 China Holdings Ltd. is incorporated in the Cayman Islands but invests in, develops, and manages real estate properties in China. Companies incorporated in the Cayman Islands are included in the U.S. default rate computation due to its status as a U.S. tax haven. NR--Not rated. SD--Selective default. Data as of March 24, 2021. Sources: S&P Global Ratings Research and S&P Global Market Intelligence's CreditPro®.

Related Research

Default Studies

More analysis and statistics are available in our annual default studies, published on RatingsDirect:

Corporate (financial and nonfinancial)
Structured finance
U.S. public finance
Sovereign and international public finance

This report does not constitute a rating action.

Credit Markets Research:Nicole Serino, New York + 1 (212) 438 1396;
nicole.serino@spglobal.com
Sudeep K Kesh, New York (1) 212-438-7982;
sudeep.kesh@spglobal.com
Research Contributor:Lyndon Fernandes, CRISIL Global Analytical Center, an S&P affiliate, Mumbai

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