KKR Financial Holdings' CEO Discusses 4Q2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

KKR Financial Holdings LLC (KFN)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 6, 2011 5:00 p.m. EST

Executives

Angela Yang – IR

Bill Sonneborn – CEO

Michael McFerran – CFO and COO

Analysts

John Hecht – JMP Securities

Jasper Burch – Macquarie Capital

Stephen Laws – Deutsche Bank

Wayne Cooperman – Cobalt Capital

Daniel Furtado – Jefferies

Lee Cooperman – Omega Advisers

Presentation

Operator

Good day and welcome to the KKR Financial Holdings LLC Fourth Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call.

Today’s call is being recorded.

At this time I would like to turn the conference over to Angela Yang, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Angela Yang

Thank you, operator, and good afternoon everyone. I'm Angela Yang, part of Investor Relations for KKR Financial Holdings LLC. And joining me on the call today are Bill Sonneborn, our Chief Executive Officer, and Michael McFerran, our Chief Operating and Financial Officer.

This afternoon’s call is being webcast on our website at www.kkr.com, in the Investor Relations section. There will be a replay of the call available as well.

Our financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2011 were issued today, and as with prior quarters, a supplemental information packet is available in the Investor Relations section of our website.

Before we get started, I’d like to caution you that this conference call and webcast contains forward-looking statements that are based on the belief of the management team regarding the operations and the results of operations of the company as well as general economic condition. These beliefs and the related forward-looking statements are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties which are described in greater detail in the filings we have made with the Securities and Exchange Commission and a supplemental information packet available on our website. These filings are available on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website at www.sec.gov. KFN’s actual results may differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements.

In addition, some of the discussion today will include references to non-GAAP financial measures. Information about these measures as well as their corresponding GAAP reconciliations may be found in the supplemental information packet available on our website. The supplemental information packet and scheduled holdings on our website include information that we will be referring to on our call today, and we encourage you to have those information available during the call.

With that, I will turn the call over to our CEO, Bill Sonneborn.

Bill Sonneborn

Thank you, Angela, and thank you to all of you for joining our call today. We will begin today’s call with a review of fourth quarter highlights, and then Mike will review our financial results and performance by strategy in detail. After that, I’ll provide you with an update on our views on the market, the economy and our areas of focus as we look ahead.

Today we announced that our Board of Directors declared an $0.18 per share cash distribution on our common shares. This distribution is payable on March 1 to shareholders of record as of February. In addition, we announced that our Board of Directors declared a special distribution on our common shares of $0.08 per share that is payable on March 29 to shareholders of record as of March 15. In total, we will be distributing $0.26 per share.

Consistent with the company’s distribution policy, the company’s Board of Directors considered a number of factors in determining to declare this special distribution including current market conditions, existing restrictions in the company’s borrowing agreement, the amount of ordinary taxable income or loss earned by the company, and gains or losses the company recognized on the disposition of assets during the year, as well as company’s liquidity.

Reported net income for the fourth quarter of $77 million or $0.43 per diluted common share, which represents an 18% return on equity. And we reported book value per share as of December 31, 2011 of $9.41.

For the fourth quarter, our run rate cash earnings per share totaled $0.30 per common share, which equates to a 13% cash return on equity. And total net cash earnings per share totaled $0.39, which equates to a 16% cash-on-cash return on equity.

Earnings for the fourth quarter included a $5 million or $0.03 per share gain from the exit of a $13.6 million special situations investment we had made in the distressed senior debt of an Australian-headquartered scrap metal recycling business, including interest income we received in this transaction which generated a 75% IRR on this investment.

During the quarter, we deployed or committed to deploy approximately $200 million of capital to new opportunities. Of this amount, approximately $120 million was through our natural resources strategy to three distinct opportunities.

The first was an approximate $65 million investment in a joint venture we structured with Quicksilver Resources to form a midstream partnership dedicated to the acquisition of existing pipeline and construction and operation of additional natural gas midstream pipeline, as well as treatment facility in the Horn River Basin in Western Canada. This investment carries with it a 15% contractual return, including return of our (inaudible) over 10 years plus the terminal value in year 10 and beyond of all the infrastructure underlying the assets in the JV.

The second transaction we made was a $15 million private equity investment in Samson Investment Company. It’s one of the largest private exploration and production companies in the United States.

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