CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings assigns the following ratings and Rating Outlooks to Ziggurat CLO Ltd./LLC (Ziggurat CLO):
--$290,000,000 class A-1 notes 'AAAsf'; Outlook Stable;
--$25,000,000 class A-2 notes 'AAAsf'; Outlook Stable.
Fitch does not rate the class B-1, B-2, C, D, E, F or subordinated notes.
Ziggurat CLO Ltd. (the issuer) and Ziggurat CLO LLC (the co-issuer) represent an arbitrage cash flow collateralized loan obligation (CLO) that will be managed by Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC (Guggenheim). Net proceeds from the issuance of notes will be used to purchase a portfolio of approximately $500 million of leveraged loans. The CLO will have a four-year reinvestment period that may be extended for up to an additional five years.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
Sufficient Credit Enhancement: Credit enhancement (CE) of 37% for class A-1 and A-2 notes (collectively, the class A notes), in addition to excess spread, is sufficient to protect against portfolio default and recovery rate projections in the 'AAAsf' stress scenario. The level of CE for class A notes is in line with the average for recent CLO issuances.
'B/B-' Asset Quality: The average credit quality of the indicative portfolio is 'B/B-', which is consistent with that of recent CLOs. Issuers rated in the 'B' rating category denote relatively weak credit quality; however, in Fitch's opinion, the class A notes are unlikely to be affected by the foreseeable level of defaults. Class A notes are robust against default rates of up to 64.1%.
Strong Recovery Expectations: The indicative portfolio consists of 95.3% first lien senior secured loans. Approximately 86.5% of the indicative portfolio has either strong recovery prospects or a Fitch-assigned Recovery Rating of 'RR2' or higher, resulting in a base case recovery assumption of 72.7%. In determining the class A notes' rating, Fitch stressed the indicative portfolio by assuming a higher portfolio concentration of assets with lower recovery prospects and further reduced recovery assumptions for higher rating stress assumptions. The analysis of Ziggurat CLO, class A notes, assumed a 34.9% recovery rate in Fitch's 'AAAsf' scenario.
In addition to its stated criteria, Fitch analyzed the structure's sensitivity to the potential variability of key model assumptions including decreases in weighted average spread or recovery rates and increases in default rates or correlation. Fitch expects the class A notes to remain investment grade even under the most extreme sensitivity scenarios. Results under these sensitivity scenarios ranged between 'A+sf' and 'AAAsf' for the class A notes.
The sources of information used to assess these ratings were provided by the arranger, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, and the public domain.
Key Rating Drivers and Rating Sensitivities are further detailed in the accompanying new issue report, which will be available shortly to investors at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Applicable Criteria & Related Research:
--'Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria' (Aug. 4, 2014);
--'Global Rating Criteria for Corporate CDOs' (July 25, 2014);
--'Criteria for Interest Rate Stresses in Structured Finance Transactions and Covered Bonds' (Jan. 23, 2014);
--'Counterparty Criteria for Structured Finance and Covered Bonds' (May 14, 2014).
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria
Global Rating Criteria for Corporate CDOs
Criteria for Interest Rate Stresses in Structured Finance Transactions
Counterparty Criteria for Structured Finance and Covered Bonds