In connection with the previously announced approval by shareholders of First Trust Strategic High Income Fund (NYSE: FHI) and First Trust Strategic High Income Fund III (NYSE: FHO) of the reorganizations of each of FHI and FHO into First Trust Strategic High Income Fund II (NYSE: FHY) and the approval by shareholders of FHY of the issuance of additional common shares of FHY in connection with the reorganizations, First Trust Advisors L.P. (“FTA”) announces today that each of FHI and FHO has declared its final distribution and FHY has declared a special distribution payable on September 29, 2011 to shareholders of record as of September 26, 2011. The ex-dividend date is expected to be September 22, 2011. The distribution information for each Fund appears below. First Trust Strategic High Income Fund (FHI):Distribution per share: $0.123 First Trust Strategic High Income Fund II (FHY):Distribution per share: $0.075 First Trust Strategic High Income Fund III (FHO):Distribution per share: $0.098 The distributions will be paid entirely in cash, with no option for dividend reinvestment. It is anticipated that the distributions will primarily consist of undistributed net investment income. In order to comply with distribution requirements under the tax code, each Fund is distributing all of its net investment income prior to the consummation of the reorganizations. The final determination of the source and tax status of all distributions paid in 2011 will be made after the end of 2011. Pursuant to the reorganizations, FHY will acquire all of the assets and liabilities of FHI and FHO in separate tax-free transactions for common shares of FHY. Each reorganization is expected to occur based on the relative net asset values of FHY, FHI and FHO as of September 30, 2011. As previously announced, the Board of Trustees of FHY has also approved a 1-for-3 reverse stock split, which is expected to be completed upon the consummation of the reorganizations. The reverse stock split will result in every three outstanding shares being converted into one share, thereby reducing the number of FHY shares outstanding below the number outstanding prior to the reorganizations. Once the reverse stock split is complete, each FHY shareholder’s account will reflect fewer shares with a higher net asset value and market price per share. It is anticipated that FHY’s shares will trade on a reverse split-adjusted basis under the same ticker symbol, FHY, and a new CUSIP number, 337353304, effective upon the closing of the reorganizations and reverse stock split. FHY will issue a press release announcing the closing of the reorganizations and the reverse stock split, which are anticipated to be effective as of the opening of business of the New York Stock Exchange on October 3, 2011, subject to all regulatory requirements and customary closing conditions being satisfied.
FHY has also declared the Fund’s regularly scheduled monthly common share distribution payable on October 17, 2011 to shareholders of record as of October 5, 2011. The ex-dividend date is expected to be October 3, 2011. The monthly distribution information, on a reverse split-adjusted basis, for the Fund appears below.First Trust Strategic High Income Fund II (FHY): Distribution per share: $0.12Distribution Rate based on the September 16, 2011 NAV of $5.30: 9.06%Distribution Rate based on the September 16, 2011 closing market price of $4.81: 9.98% Various factors affect the Fund’s level of distributable income, including the asset mix and average maturity of its portfolio holdings and its use of leverage and hedging. Principal write-downs by issuers of the Fund’s residential mortgage and other structured securities have significantly contributed to the Fund’s historical return of capital distributions. The tax character of the Fund’s fiscal year to date distributions, including this distribution, will depend on the Fund’s investment experience during the remainder of its fiscal year, including any additional principal write-downs by the issuers of the Fund’s securities. While it is uncertain what will transpire over this period, it is likely that the Fund’s current year distributions will include a return of capital component. The final determination of the source and tax status of all 2011 distributions will be made after the end of 2011. This press release is not intended to, and shall not, constitute an offer to purchase or sell shares of any of the Funds, including FHY, the surviving fund in the reorganizations. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Funds carefully and consider in its entirety the Joint Proxy Statement/Prospectus relating to the reorganizations which contains important information regarding the investment objectives and policies, risks, charges, expenses and other important information about FHY.
Each Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company that seeks to provide a high level of current income. As a secondary objective, each Fund seeks to provide capital growth. Each Fund pursues these investment objectives by investing up to 100% of its managed assets in a diversified portfolio of high income producing securities that the investment sub-advisor believes offer attractive yield and capital appreciation potential.FTA, the investment advisor for each Fund, along with its affiliate, First Trust Portfolios L.P., are privately held companies which provide a variety of investment services, including asset management, financial advisory services, and competitive municipal underwritings, with collective assets under management or supervision of approximately $46 billion as of August 31, 2011 through unit investment trusts, exchange-traded funds, closed end funds, mutual funds and separate managed accounts and exchange traded funds. Brookfield Investment Management Inc., the investment sub-advisor for each Fund, is a global investment advisor focused on specialized equity and fixed income securities investments. The firm is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management Inc., a leading global asset manager with over $150 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2011 and over 100 years of experience in the property, power and infrastructure industries. Brookfield Investment Management Inc. is an SEC registered investment advisor, and with its affiliates had approximately $24 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2011. Headquartered in New York, the firm maintains offices and investment teams in Chicago, Boston, London, Hong Kong, Sydney and Toronto. Forward-Looking Statements Certain statements made in this news release that are not historical facts are referred to as “forward-looking statements” under the U.S. federal securities laws. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Generally, the words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “project,” “will” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which generally are not historical in nature. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from the historical experience of FTA and the closed-end funds managed by FTA and its present expectations or projections. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. FTA and the closed-end funds managed by FTA undertake no responsibility to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.
The Annual and Semi-Annual Reports and other regulatory filings of the Funds with the SEC are accessible on the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov.