Creditors who funded the United States’ shale boom are not in good shape to recover their invested funds, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
Banks and private lenders have only gotten back $1 of every $5 they invested in companies that declared bankrupt in 2015, the credit rating agency reports, which analyzed 15 bankrupted energy companies with at least $100 million of debt, said. Creditors usually recover three times as much from defaulting debtors.
Senior unsecured bondholders recovered just 6 cents for every dollar invested, according to World Oil.
The one-fifth figure stands slightly lower than the recovery rate reported by creditors who supported the telecom boom in the early 2000s. The number of oil companies that failed during the 2015 crisis exceeded the number of dotcom firms that busted in 2002 as well.
The crash’s effect on investors’ pockets “can only be described as catastrophic,” Moody’s said, noting that the historical average for capital recovery after default was 59 percent.
Smaller companies made up a large portion of companies that went under last year, largely due to their reduced financial flexibility related to their newcomer status. Bigger companies delayed failure by conducting debt exchanges and new second-lien issuances, the report said, noting that more than half of the oil majors who employed advanced financial maneuvers to keep themselves afloat eventually declared bankruptcy.
“I don’t expect the recoveries for the companies that went bankrupt in the first half of 2016 to be any better,” analyst Amol Joshi said in an interview with World Oil. “The worst may be behind them, but the sector still remains quite stressed.”
The total number of oil and gas bankruptcies so far in 2016 stand at twice the 2015 total, according to the report. Moody’s will continuously monitor 25 energy companies that sought court protection this year, the agency’s Senior Vice President David Keisman said.
Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com