2013 May Bring Infrastructure Spending
The upcoming election and fiscal cliff should focus investors on the challenges of fiscal policy and the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. However, we believe one area of spending has bipartisan support and should benefit after the election in 2013 -- infrastructure. Fifth Street's largest equity investment, Traffic Solutions Corporation (formerly Traffic Control & Safety Corporation), is one of the biggest independent traffic control and highway safety products and services companies in California and Hawaii. Fifth Street recently shepherded the company through a financial restructuring that ultimately saved approximately 300 jobs. Operating performance is stabilizing and should benefit significantly if the Federal government allocates more funds for domestic transportation. Fifth Street owns a majority of the equity of Traffic Solutions Corporation.
Value of the Platform
The benefits of an established origination platform are clear in this environment. Sponsors value structuring expertise, due diligence capabilities, market insight and committed hold sizes. Fifth Street's value proposition resonates with sponsors, combined with our ability to hold any piece of the debt capital structure including a one-stop transaction underwritten up to $100 million. These capabilities are providing us with an active deal pipeline. Mezzanine still represents the best risk adjusted return as more capital is flowing to first lien than mezzanine. For example, mezzanine yields are about 800 basis points wider than first lien yields versus a historic average of 500-700 basis points.Capital Raise Positions Us for Growth Our growing pipeline now points to a potentially record December quarter in gross originations. To fund anticipated growth and improve our access to debt capital, we raised $91 million in a secondary offering this month. The offering was relatively small as a percent of market capitalization, and combined with the growing pipeline should keep us consistent with our pledge to not jeopardize our ability to cover the dividend with net investment income. The execution of the deal and positive stock performance after pricing are indicative of the strong level of demand for Fifth Street shares.