BEIJING & HONG KONG & SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings assigns 'AA' ratings to the outstanding auction rate preferred shares of the following four equity closed-end funds managed by Gabelli Funds, LLC (the adviser).
Gabelli Equity Trust Inc. (NYSE: GAB)
-- $72,000,000 of auction rate cumulative preferred stock (ARPS), series C;
-- $28,000,000 of ARPS, series E.
Gabelli Multimedia Trust Inc. (NYSE: GGT)
-- $15,000,000 of ARPS, series C.
Gabelli Utility Trust (NYSE: GUT)
-- $22,500,000 of auction market preferred shares (AMPS), series B.
Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust. (NYSE: GDV)
-- $90,000,000 of AMPS, series B;
-- $108,000,000 of AMPS, series C;
-- $121,500,000 of auction rate preferred shares, series E.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
The 'AA' long-term ratings primarily reflect:
--Sufficient asset coverage provided to the preferred shares as calculated per the funds' over-collateralization (OC) tests;
--The structural protections afforded by mandatory collateral maintenance and de-leveraging provisions in the event of asset coverage declines;
--The legal and regulatory parameters that govern the funds' operations;
--The capabilities of Gabelli Funds, LLC as investment adviser.
The 'AA' ratings address credit risk only and do not speak to the liquidity of the preferred shares on the secondary market.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, the funds' asset coverage ratios, as calculated in accordance with the Fitch total and net OC tests (Fitch OC tests) per the 'AA' rating guidelines outlined in Fitch's closed-end fund criteria, were in excess of 100%. These are the minimum asset coverage guidelines required by the funds' governing documents, and evaluated as such by Fitch to arrive at the assigned rating levels.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, the funds' asset coverage ratios, as calculated in accordance with the Investment Company Act of 1940 (1940 Act), were in excess of 200%. These are the minimum asset coverage ratios required by the 1940 Act and the funds' governing documents.
Should the funds' asset coverage ratios breach below their minimum thresholds, the adviser is required to cure the breach by either altering the composition of the portfolio toward assets with lower discount factors (for Fitch OC Tests breaches), or by reducing leverage in a sufficient amount (for both the Fitch OC Tests and Asset Coverage Test breaches) within a pre-specified time period (a maximum of 22 business days).
FUND AND LEVERAGE PROFILES
As of Dec. 31, 2013, GAB's total net assets were $1.7 billion supporting $334 million of preferred assets; GGT's total net assets were $232 million supporting $35 million of preferred assets; GUT's total net assets were $300 million supporting $51 million of preferred assets; and GDV's total net assets were $2.5 billion supporting $459 million of preferred assets.
FUND INVESTMENT PROFILES
The funds are closed-end management investment companies regulated by the 1940 Act. The funds invest primarily in equity securities of U.S.-based companies and to a lesser extent in foreign-based companies.
GAB's primary objective is long-term growth of capital with income as a secondary objective. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the fund's holdings consisted of the following top three Fitch corporate sectors: 19% in Broadcasting, Media and Cable; 12% in Industrial/Manufacturing; and 11% in Computer and Electronics, Telecommunications.
GGT's investment objective is long-term growth of capital. The fund invests in common stock and other securities in the telecommunications, media, publishing, and entertainment industries. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the fund's holdings consisted of the following top three Fitch corporate sectors: 47% in Broadcasting, Media and Cable; 28% in Computer and Electronics, Telecommunications; and 8% in Lodging and Restaurants.
GUT's primary objective is long-term growth of capital and income. The fund invests in companies involved in providing products, services, or equipment for the generation or distribution of electricity, gas, water, and telecommunications services or infrastructure operations. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the fund's holdings consisted of the following top three Fitch corporate sectors: 58% in Utilities (power); 12% in Energy (Oil & Gas); and 10% Computer and Electronics, Telecommunications.
GDV's investment objective is to provide a high level of total return on its assets with an emphasis on dividends and income. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the fund's holdings consisted of the following top three Fitch corporate sectors: 15% in Energy (Oil & Gas); 12% in Food, Beverage and Tobacco; and 10% in Industrial/Manufacturing.
Gabelli Funds, LLC is the funds' investment advisor, responsible for the funds' overall investment strategies, day-to-day operations, and their implementation. Gabelli Funds, LLC has approximately $24 billion of assets under management as of Sept. 30, 2013. GAMCO Investors, Inc. (NYSE: GBL) is the parent company of the investment adviser.
The rating assigned to the preferred shares may be sensitive to material changes in the leverage composition, portfolio quality or market risk of the fund, as described above. A material adverse deviation from Fitch guidelines for any key rating driver could cause the rating to be lowered by Fitch.
For additional information about Fitch closed-end fund ratings guidelines, please review the criteria referenced below, which can be found on Fitch's website.
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Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
The sources of information used to assess this rating were the public domain and GAMCO Investors, Inc.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
--'Rating Closed-End Fund Debt and Preferred Stock' (Aug. 14, 2013);
--'2014 Outlook: Closed-End Funds (Structural Protections Support Rating Stability)' (Dec. 13, 2013).
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Rating Closed-End Fund Debt and Preferred Stock
2014 Outlook: Closed-End Funds (Structural Protections Support Rating Stability)