Impac Mortgage ( IMH) surged 45% after it sought to reassure investors that it has adequate capital should its lenders exercise margin calls. The Irvine, Calif.-based real estate investment trust said Wednesday that it does have financing facilities and continues to fund loans that are eligible to be sold to the government-sponsored agencies. The company has also made all margin calls to date. "I would like to disclose to our stockholders that this UBS analyst wrote this report without speaking to management since our earnings conference call on May 11, 2007," CEO Joseph Tomkinson said in a statement. "Further, we believe that his comments are largely speculative and are adding to the volatility of the stock price. While we can not make any guarantees, we continue to believe that we can successfully navigate through this cycle emerging as a stronger, more competitive company." But like many mortgage lenders, Impac suspended earlier this week the origination and funding of Alt-A loans -- its primary origination business -- as a result of the collapse of the secondary markets. That comes a day after a UBS analyst questioned whether Impac would be able to satisfy margin calls. Other mortgage related-companies, such as Luminent Mortgage Capital ( LUM), have been hard hit by calls for further collateral. Luminent shares were halted at midday Wednesday as questions about the company's liquidity continue to swirl.
"With Alt-A secondary market bids rapidly deteriorating and Luminent's announcement
Monday that it is experiencing margin calls, we believe Impac is at severe risk of facing a similar situation," wrote Omotayo Okusanya, an analyst at UBS, in a note on Monday. He cut his 12-month target price to $0 from $3. Impac's "credit metrics tend to be much lower than Luminent's though they are both Alt-A players," Okusanya added. "Given market conditions are even worse now than in first quarter, we believe Impac is unlikely to navigate its way out of margin calls, should they occur." Last week, American Home Mortgage ( AHM), was the latest lender to be hit by significant margin calls that left it unable to borrow on its credit lines and hence fund mortgages. Impac said it has negotiated the sale of $1 billion of its $1.6 billion of loans held on financed facilities. It expects the sale of the loans "to satisfy the related current borrowing balances with the excess cash proceeds to be credited to the company," it said. Impac has also secured "definitive agreements" to begin originating and selling reverse mortgage loans through its wholesale and retail platforms, it said. Reverse mortgages, typically used by senior citizens in need of money, enables the borrower to convert equity accumulated in their home to income, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.
In late May, Impac also acquired the assets of Pinnacle Financial, which expanded its business platform to include conforming agency loan programs. The company has also declared a dividend on both its Series B and Series C preferred stock, even though it elected not to issue a dividend on its common stock for the second quarter. Impac previously attributed the lack of quarterly dividend to higher-than-expected loss levels in its real-estate owned, or REO, which it had decided to liquidate. Impac's stock rose 55 cents to $1.77 on Wednesday