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Apollo Investment Corporation: Weak Earnings Result in a Dividend Cut

Image source: Company external manager.

Business Development Company Apollo Investment Corporation (NASDAQ: AINV) announced another quarter of net losses, reporting net income of -$0.19 per share as capital losses once again outpaced the company's operating income.

This quarter by the numbers

Metric Per Share

Calendar 2Q 2016

Calendar 2Q 2015

Net investment income (operating income)

$0.16

$0.22

Net income

-$0.19

$0.03

Net asset value (book value)

$6.90

$8.01

Data source: SEC filings.

This marks Apollo Investment's eighth quarter in which the company's book value fell on a per-share basis because of impairments to its investment portfolio.

What happened this quarter

  • Recently, the company's operating earnings -- a figure that excludes gains and losses -- have failed to cover its quarterly dividends of $0.20 per share. The company made the decision to cut the dividend to $0.15 this quarter.
  • Apollo executives outlined a shift in the company's investment strategy that would prioritize lower volatility and consistency over reaching for yield. It noted that it received co-investment exemptive relief from the SEC, which will allow it to invest alongside Apollo Global Management and its affiliates.
  • The company walked down its leverage as some of its debt investments were repaid, and it sold some of its investments. The company ended the quarter with leverage of 0.66 times equity on a net basis, down from 0.75 times last quarter.
  • Because of the sale and repayment of some of its investments, the company reported net investment activity of -$216.7 million. Oil and gas investments dropped to less than 10% of the company's portfolio after the end of the quarter.

What management had to say

In statements in the press release, the company's Chief Executive Officer, James Zelter, noted that the company intends

[...] to reposition a portion of our portfolio in a steady and coordinated manner into traditional corporate loans directly sourced from the Apollo platform. We have already made what we believe to be good progress in the past few months with the resolution of certain legacy positions, and lowering our oil and gas exposure to less than 10% of the portfolio, at fair value, subsequent to quarter end.

Looking forward

Right-sizing the dividend so it's covered by operating earnings is a good step toward stemming the consistent decline in book value per share. Ultimately, though, underwriting performance will have to improve to stave off future declines in the company's book value.

Co-investment opportunities with its external manager give the company better opportunities to see more deal flow and be pickier in its credit selection, which should bode well for shareholders. 

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Jordan Wathen has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apollo Investment. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.