Monday, January 21, 2008
Could this be the next blowup?
It seems like these were a great idea during runups in the equity and debt markets. Whoopsie. "The new guidelines establish a "debt-equity continuum" and allow institutions to classify part of the hybrid security as equity and part as debt (in a shift from the previous policy, that counted the entire amount as debt). This change allowed companies to issue hybrid securities at a time of record low interest rates (and thus gain access to cheap capital) and then use the proceeds to repurchase equity shares (which have a very high cost of capital). Since only a fraction of the recapitalization would be listed as debt on the balance sheet, hybrids allowed companies to repurchase more shares than previously without negatively affecting their credit rating."