As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 31, 2017
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
(Registrants Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
(Name and Address of Agent for Service)
APPROXIMATE DATE OF PROPOSED PUBLIC OFFERING:
From time to time after the effective date of this Registration Statement.
If any securities being registered on this form will be offered on a delayed or continuous basis in reliance on Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, other than securities offered in connection with a dividend reinvestment plan, check the following box. þ
It is proposed that this filing will become effective (check the appropriate box)
x When declared effective pursuant to section 8(c)
The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(c) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until this Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(c), may determine.
PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS Subject to completion, dated May 31, 2017
891,414 Shares of Common Stock Offered by the Selling Stockholder
We are a non-diversified closed-end management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company (BDC) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the 1940 Act). We are externally managed by Horizon Technology Finance Management LLC, a registered investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the Advisers Act). Our investment objective is to maximize our investment portfolios total return by generating current income from the debt investments we make and capital appreciation from the warrants we receive when making such debt investments. We make secured debt investments to development-stage companies in the technology, life science, healthcare information and services and cleantech industries.
We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings or series, together or separately, up to $250,000,000 of our common stock, preferred stock, subscription rights, debt securities or warrants representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities, which we refer to, collectively, as the securities. In addition, the selling stockholder identified under Selling Stockholder may offer for resale, from time to time, up to an aggregate of 891,414 shares of our common stock under this prospectus. We will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of shares of our common stock by the selling stockholder. We have agreed to bear specific expenses in connection with the registration and sale of the common stock being offered by the selling stockholder.
We and/or the selling stockholder may sell our securities through underwriters or dealers, at-the-market to or through a market maker into an existing trading market or otherwise directly to one or more purchasers or through agents or through a combination of methods of sale. The identities of such underwriters, dealers, market makers or agents, as the case may be, will be described in one or more supplements to this prospectus. The securities may be offered at prices and on terms to be described in one or more supplements to this prospectus. In the event we offer common stock or warrants or rights to acquire such common stock hereunder, the offering price per share of our common stock less any underwriting commissions or discounts will not be less than the net asset value per share of our common stock at the time we make the offering except (1) in connection with the exercise of certain warrants, options or rights whose issuance has been approved by our stockholders at an exercise or conversion price not less than the market value of our common stock at the date of issuance (or, if no such market value exists, the net asset value per share of our common stock as of such date); (2) to the extent such an offer or sale is approved by our stockholders and by our board of directors (our Board); or (3) under such other circumstances as may be permitted under the 1940 Act or by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC). The selling stockholder will not be restricted from selling its shares when the market price is below net asset value.
Our common stock is listed on The NASDAQ Global Select Market (NASDAQ) under the symbol HRZN. In addition, our 7.375% Senior Notes due 2019 trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HTF. On May 30, 2017, the last reported sale price of a share of our common stock on NASDAQ was $11.03. The net asset value per share of our common stock at March 31, 2017 (the last date prior to the date of this prospectus on which we determined net asset value) was $12.11. Shares of our common stock sold by the selling stockholder will be freely tradable. Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, including by the selling stockholder, or the availability of such common stock for sale, whether or not sold, could adversely affect the prevailing market prices for our common stock.
Shares of closed-end investment companies, including BDCs, frequently trade at a discount to their net asset value. If our shares trade at a discount to net asset value, it may increase the risk of loss for purchasers in this public offering. See Risk Factors Risks related to our offering under this prospectus Shares of closed-end investment companies, including BDCs, frequently trade at a discount to their net asset value, which is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value per share may decline on page 43 for more information.
This prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement contain important information you should know before investing in our securities and should be retained for future reference. We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information about us with the SEC. We maintain a website at www.horizontechfinance.com and intend to make all of the foregoing information available, free of charge, on or through our website. You may also obtain such information by contacting us at 312 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, Connecticut 06032, or by calling us collect at (860) 676-8654. The SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov where such information is available without charge. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus, and you should not consider information contained on our website to be part of this prospectus.
Investing in our securities is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk, and you could lose your entire investment if any of the risks occur. For more information regarding these risks, please see Risk Factors beginning on page 17. The individual securities in which we invest will not be rated by any rating agency. If they were, they would be rated as below investment grade or junk. Indebtedness of below investment grade quality has predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuers capacity to pay interest and repay principal.
Neither the SEC nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
This prospectus may not be used to consummate sales of securities unless accompanied by a prospectus supplement.
The date of this prospectus is , 2017
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus or any accompanying supplement to this prospectus. We have not, and the selling stockholder has not, authorized any other person to provide you with different information. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. We are not, and the selling stockholder is not, making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. This prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy any security other than the registered securities to which they relate. You should assume that the information in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus. Our business, financial condition and prospects may have changed since that date. We will update this prospectus to reflect material changes to the information contained herein.
|About this Prospectus||ii|
|Fees and Expenses||12|
|Selected Consolidated Financial and Other Data||15|
|Selected Quarterly Financial Data||16|
|Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements||47|
|Use of Proceeds||48|
|Price Range of Common Stock and Distributions||49|
|Ratio of Earnings to Fixed Charges||52|
|Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations||53|
|Certain Relationships and Related Transactions||99|
|Investment Management and Administration Agreements||101|
|Control Persons and Principal Stockholders||109|
|Determination of Net Asset Value||111|
|Dividend Reinvestment Plan||113|
|Description of Our Securities||115|
|Description of Common Stock That We May Issue||116|
|Description of Preferred Stock That We May Issue||121|
|Description of Subscription Rights That We May Issue||123|
|Description of Debt Securities That We May Issue||124|
|Description of Warrants That We May Issue||135|
|Brokerage Allocations and Other Practices||144|
|Plan of Distribution||145|
|Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations||148|
|Custodian, Transfer Agent, Dividend Paying Agent and Registrar||156|
|Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm||156|
|Where You Can Find More Information||157|
|Index to Consolidated Financial Statements||F-1|
This prospectus is part of a registration statement that we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC using the shelf registration process. Under the shelf registration process, we may offer, from time to time, up to $250,000,000 of our common stock, preferred stock, subscription rights, debt securities or warrants representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities on terms to be determined at the time of the offering, and the selling stockholder may offer for resale up to 891,414 shares of our common stock. This prospectus provides you with a general description of the securities that we and/or the selling stockholder may offer. Each time we and/or the selling stockholder use this prospectus to offer securities, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will contain specific information about the terms of that offering. The prospectus supplement may also add, update or change information contained in this prospectus. Please carefully read this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement together with the additional information described under Where You Can Find More Information and Risk Factors before you make an investment decision. During an offering, we will disclose material amendments to this prospectus through a post-effective amendment or prospectus supplement.
Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. In addition to the other information contained in this prospectus, you should consider carefully the following information before making an investment in our securities. The risks set out below are not the only risks we face. If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In such case, our net asset value, or NAV, per share and the trading price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose part or all of your investment.
We do not have any employees and are dependent upon the members of our Advisors senior management, as well as other key personnel for the identification, evaluation, final selection, structuring, closing and monitoring of our investments. These employees have critical industry experience and relationships that we rely on to implement our business plan to originate Venture Loans in our Target Industries. Our future success depends on the continued service of the senior members of our Advisors management team. If our Advisor were to lose the services of any of the senior members of our Advisors management team, we may not be able to operate our business as we expect, and our ability to compete could be harmed, either of which could cause our business, results of operations or financial condition to suffer.
In addition, if either of Mr. Pomeroy, our Chief Executive Officer, or Mr. Michaud, our President, ceases to be actively involved with us or our Advisor, and is not replaced by an individual satisfactory to Key within 90 days, Key could, absent a waiver or cure, demand repayment of any outstanding obligations under the Key Facility. In such an event, if we do not have sufficient cash to repay our outstanding obligations, we may be required to sell investments which, due to their illiquidity, may be difficult to sell on favorable terms or at all. We may also be unable to make new investments, cover our existing obligations to extend credit or meet other obligations as they come due, which could adversely impact our results of operations.
Our future success also depends, in part, on our Advisors ability to identify, attract and retain sufficient numbers of highly skilled employees. If our Advisor is not successful in identifying, attracting and retaining such employees, we may not be able to operate our business as we expect. In addition, our Advisor may in the future manage investment funds with investment objectives similar to ours thereby diverting the time and attention of its investment professionals that we rely on to implement our business plan.
We cannot assure you that the Advisor will remain our investment adviser or that we will continue to have access to our Advisors investment professionals or its relationships. We would be required to obtain shareholder approval for a new investment management agreement in the event that (1) the Advisor resigns as our investment adviser or (2) a change of control or deemed change of control of the Advisor occurs. We cannot provide assurance that a new investment management agreement or new investment adviser would provide the same or equivalent services on the same or on as favorable of terms as the Investment Management Agreement or the Advisor.
We compete for investments with a number of investment funds and other BDCs, as well as traditional financial services companies such as commercial banks and other financing sources. Some of our competitors are larger and have greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources than we have. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. This may enable these competitors to make commercial loans with interest rates that are comparable to, or lower than, the rates we typically offer. We may lose prospective portfolio companies if we do not match our competitors pricing, terms and structure. If we do match our competitors pricing, terms or structure, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit losses. In addition, some of our
competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments, establish more relationships than us and build their market shares. Furthermore, many of our competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a BDC or that the Code imposes on us as a RIC. If we are not able to compete effectively, we may not be able to identify and take advantage of attractive investment opportunities that we identify and may not be able to fully invest our available capital. If this occurs, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique, and we intend to continue to borrow money as part of our business plan. The use of leverage magnifies the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and, therefore, increases the risks associated with investing in us. See Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation Liquidity and capital resources. Lenders of senior debt securities have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of our common stockholders. If the value of our assets increases, then leveraging would cause the NAV attributable to our common stock to increase more sharply than it would have had we not leveraged. However, any decrease in our income would cause net income to decline more sharply than it would have had we not leveraged. This decline could adversely affect our ability to make common stock distribution payments. In addition, because our investments may be illiquid, we may be unable to dispose of them or unable to do so at a favorable price in the event we need to do so, if we are unable to refinance any indebtedness upon maturity, and, as a result, we may suffer losses.
Our ability to service any debt that we incur depends largely on our financial performance and is subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. Moreover, as our Advisors management fee is payable to our Advisor based on our gross assets less cash and cash equivalents, including those assets acquired through the use of leverage, our Advisor may have a financial incentive to incur leverage which may not be consistent with our stockholders interests. In addition, holders of our common stock bear the burden of any increase in our expenses, as a result of leverage, including any increase in the management fee payable to our Advisor.
In addition to the leverage described above, in the past, we have securitized a large portion of our debt investments to generate cash for funding new investments and may seek to securitize additional debt investments in the future. To securitize additional debt investments in the future, we may create a wholly-owned subsidiary and sell and/or contribute a pool of debt investments to such subsidiary. This could include the sale of interests in the subsidiary on a non-recourse basis to purchasers, who we would expect to be willing to accept a lower interest rate to invest in investment grade loan pools. We would retain all or a portion of the equity in any such securitized pool of loans. An inability to securitize part of our debt investments in the future could limit our ability to grow our business, fully execute our business strategy and increase our earnings. Moreover, certain types of securitization transactions may expose us to greater risk of loss than would other types of financing.
Illustration: The following table illustrates the effect of leverage on returns from an investment in our common stock assuming various annual returns, net of expenses. The calculations in the table below are hypothetical and actual returns may be higher or lower than those appearing in the table below:
|Assumed Return on Portfolio
(Net of Expenses)
|Corresponding return to common stockholder(1)||-20.20||%||-11.93||%||-3.66||%||4.62||%||12.89||%|
|(1)||Assumes $230 million in total assets, $86 million in outstanding debt, $139 million in net assets, and an average cost of borrowed funds of 5.91% at March 31, 2017.|
Based on our outstanding indebtedness of $86 million as of March 31, 2017 and the average cost of borrowed funds of 5.91% as of that date, our investment portfolio would have been required to experience an annual return of at least 2.70% to cover annual interest payments on the outstanding debt. Actual interest payments may be different.
Our Key Facility is secured by a lien on the assets of our wholly owned subsidiary, Horizon Credit II LLC, or Credit II. The breach of certain of the covenants or restrictions or our failure to make payments when due under the Key Facility, unless cured within the applicable grace period, would result in a default under the Key Facility that would permit the lender thereunder to declare all amounts outstanding to be due and payable. In such an event, we may not have sufficient assets to repay such indebtedness and the lender may exercise rights available to them, including to the extent permitted under applicable law, the seizure of such assets without adjudication.
The Key Facility also requires Credit II and our Advisor to comply with various financial covenants, including maintenance by our Advisor of a minimum tangible net worth and limitations on the value of, and modifications to, the loan collateral that secures the Key Facility. Complying with these restrictions may prevent us from taking actions that we believe would help us to grow our business or are otherwise consistent with our investment objective. These restrictions could also limit our ability to plan for or react to market conditions, meet extraordinary capital needs or otherwise restrict corporate activities, and could result in our failing to qualify as a RIC resulting in our becoming subject to corporate-level income tax. See Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Liquidity and capital resources for additional information regarding our credit arrangements.
An event of default or acceleration under the Key Facility could also cause a cross-default or cross-acceleration of other debt instruments or contractual obligations, which would adversely impact our liquidity. We may not be granted waivers or amendments to the Key Facility, if for any reason we are unable to comply with the terms of the Key Facility and we may not be able to refinance the Key Facility on terms acceptable to us, or at all.
We may want to obtain additional debt financing, or need to do so upon maturity of the Key Facility or 2019 Notes, in order to obtain funds which may be made available for investments. We may borrow under the Key Facility until August 12, 2018. After such date, we must repay the outstanding advances under the Key Facility in accordance with its terms and conditions. All outstanding advances under the Key Facility are due and payable on August 12, 2020, unless such date is extended in accordance with its terms. All outstanding amounts on our 2019 Notes are due and payable on March 15, 2019 unless redeemed prior to that date. If we are unable to increase, renew or replace the Key Facility or enter into other new debt financings on commercially reasonable terms, our liquidity may be reduced significantly. In addition, if we are unable to repay amounts outstanding under any such debt financings and are declared in default or are unable to renew or refinance these debt financings, we may not be able to make new investments or operate our business in the normal course. These situations may arise due to circumstances that we may be unable to control, such as lack of access to the credit markets, a severe decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, an economic downturn or an operational problem that affects third parties or us, and could materially damage our business.
Our 2019 Notes are not secured by any of our assets or any of the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, the 2019 Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we or our subsidiaries have currently incurred and may incur in the future (or any indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In any liquidation, dissolution, bankruptcy or other similar proceeding, the holders of any of our existing or future secured indebtedness and the secured indebtedness of our subsidiaries may assert rights against the assets pledged to
secure that indebtedness in order to receive full payment of their indebtedness before the assets may be used to pay other creditors, including the holders of the 2019 Notes.
Our 2019 Notes are obligations exclusively of Horizon Technology Finance Corporation, and not of any of our subsidiaries. None of our subsidiaries is a guarantor of the 2019 Notes and the 2019 Notes are not required to be guaranteed by any subsidiaries we may acquire or create in the future. The assets of such subsidiaries are not directly available to satisfy the claims of our creditors, including holders of the 2019 Notes.
Except to the extent we are a creditor with recognized claims against our subsidiaries, all claims of creditors (including trade creditors) and holders of preferred stock, if any, of our subsidiaries have priority over our equity interests in such subsidiaries (and therefore the claims of our creditors, including holders of the 2019 Notes) with respect to the assets of such subsidiaries. Even if we are recognized as a creditor of one or more of our subsidiaries, our claims are effectively subordinated to any security interests in the assets of any such subsidiary and to any indebtedness or other liabilities of any such subsidiary senior to our claims. Consequently, the 2019 Notes are structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other liabilities (including trade payables) of any of our subsidiaries and any subsidiaries that we may in the future acquire or establish as financing vehicles or otherwise.
In addition, our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, all of which would be structurally senior to the 2019 Notes.
The indenture under which the 2019 Notes were issued offers limited protection to holders of the 2019 Notes. The terms of the indenture and the 2019 Notes do not restrict our or any of our subsidiaries ability to engage in, or otherwise be a party to, a variety of corporate transactions, circumstances or events that could have a material adverse impact on investments in the 2019 Notes. In particular, the terms of the indenture and the 2019 Notes do not place any restrictions on our or our subsidiaries ability to:
|||issue securities or otherwise incur additional indebtedness or other obligations, including (1) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be equal in right of payment to the 2019 Notes, (2) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be secured and therefore rank effectively senior in right of payment to the 2019 Notes to the extent of the values of the assets securing such debt, (3) indebtedness of ours that is guaranteed by one or more of our subsidiaries and which therefore is structurally senior to the 2019 Notes and (4) securities, indebtedness or obligations issued or incurred by our subsidiaries that would be senior to our equity interests in our subsidiaries and therefore rank structurally senior to the 2019 Notes with respect to the assets of our subsidiaries, in each case other than an incurrence of indebtedness or other obligation that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act as modified by Section 61(a)(l) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions, whether or not we continue to be subject to such provisions of the 1940 Act, but giving effect, in either case, to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC (these provisions generally prohibit us from making additional borrowings, including through the issuance of additional debt or the sale of additional debt securities, unless our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% after such borrowings);|
|||pay dividends on, or purchase or redeem or make any payments in respect of capital stock or other securities ranking junior in right of payment to the 2019 Notes, including subordinated indebtedness, in each case other than dividends, purchases, redemptions or payments that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(B) of the 1940 Act as modified by Section 61(a)(l) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC (these provisions generally prohibit us from declaring any cash dividend or distribution upon any class of our capital stock, or purchasing any such capital stock unless our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% at the time of the declaration of the dividend or distribution or the purchase and after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution or purchase);|
|||sell assets (other than certain limited restrictions on our ability to consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets);|
|||enter into transactions with affiliates;|
|||create liens (including liens on the shares of our subsidiaries) or enter into sale and leaseback transactions;|
|||make investments; or|
|||create restrictions on the payment of dividends or other amounts to us from our subsidiaries.|
In addition, the indenture does not require us to offer to purchase the 2019 Notes in connection with a change of control or any other event.
Furthermore, the terms of the indenture and the 2019 Notes do not protect holders of the 2019 Notes in the event that we experience changes (including significant adverse changes) in our financial condition, results of operations or credit ratings, as they do not require that we or our subsidiaries adhere to any financial tests or ratios or specified levels of net worth, revenues, income, cash flow, or liquidity.
Our ability to recapitalize, incur additional debt and take a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the 2019 Notes may have important consequences for holders of the 2019 Notes, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to the 2019 Notes or negatively affecting the trading value of the 2019 Notes.
Certain of our current debt instruments include more protections for their holders than the indenture and the 2019 Notes. In addition, other debt we issue or incur in the future could contain more protections for its holders than the indenture and the 2019 Notes, including additional covenants and events of default. The issuance or incurrence of any such debt with incremental protections could affect the market for and trading levels and prices of the 2019 Notes.
The 2019 Notes are listed on the NYSE under the symbol HTF. However, we cannot provide any assurances that an active trading market for the 2019 Notes will exist in the future or that you will be able to sell your 2019 Notes. Even if an active trading market does exist, the 2019 Notes may trade at a discount from their initial offering price depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our credit ratings, if any, general economic conditions, our financial condition, performance and prospects and other factors. To the extent an active trading market does not exist, the liquidity and trading price for the 2019 Notes may be harmed. Accordingly, you may be required to bear the financial risk of an investment in the 2019 Notes for an indefinite period of time.
Any default under the agreements governing our indebtedness, including a default under the Key Facility or other indebtedness to which we may be a party that is not waived by the required lenders or holders thereunder, and the remedies sought by the holders of such indebtedness could make us unable to pay principal, premium, if any, and interest on the 2019 Notes and substantially decrease the market value of the 2019 Notes. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow and are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants, including financial and operating covenants, in the instruments governing our indebtedness, we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lender under the Key Facility or other debt we may incur in the future could elect to terminate their commitments, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If our operating performance declines, we may in the future need to seek to obtain waivers from the required lender under the Key Facility or other debt that we may incur in the future to avoid
being in default. If we breach our covenants under the Key Facility or other debt and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required lenders or holders. If this occurs, we would be in default and our lenders or debt holders could exercise their rights as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we are unable to repay debt, lenders having secured obligations, including the lender under the Key Facility, could proceed against the collateral securing the debt. Because the Key Facility has, and any future credit facilities will likely have, customary cross-default provisions, if the indebtedness thereunder or under any future credit facility is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due.
To satisfy the requirements applicable to a RIC, to avoid incurring excise taxes and to minimize or to avoid incurring corporate-level federal income taxes, we intend to distribute to our stockholders all or substantially all of our investment company taxable income and net capital gains. However, we may retain all or a portion of our net capital gains, incur any applicable income taxes with respect thereto, and elect to treat such retained net capital gains as deemed distributions to our stockholders. As a BDC, we generally are required to maintain coverage of total assets to total senior securities, which includes all of our borrowings and any preferred stock we may issue in the future, of at least 200%. This requirement limits the amount that we may borrow. Because we continue to need capital to grow our debt investment portfolio, this limitation may prevent us from incurring debt and require us to raise additional equity at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. We cannot assure you that debt and equity financing will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all, and debt financings may be restricted by the terms of any of our outstanding borrowings. In addition, as a BDC, we are limited in our ability to issue equity securities at a price below the then current NAV per share. If additional funds are not available to us, we could be forced to curtail or cease new lending and investment activities, and our NAV could decline.
As a BDC, we generally are not able to issue our common stock at a price below the then current NAV per share without first obtaining the approval of our stockholders and our independent directors. Stockholder approval to offer our common stock at a price below NAV per share expired in January 2016, but we may seek such approval again in the future. If our common stock trades at a price below NAV per share and we do not receive approval from our stockholders and our independent directors to issue common stock at a price below NAV per share, we cannot raise capital through the issuance of equity securities. This may limit our ability: to grow and make new investments; to attract and retain top investment professionals; to maintain deal flow and relations with top companies in our Target Industries and related entities such as venture capital and private equity sponsors; and to sustain a minimum efficient scale for a public company.
Since the economic downturn that began in mid-2007, interest rates have remained low. Due to several factors, including longer-term inflationary pressure may result from the U.S. governments fiscal policies and other challenges, the end of the Federal Reserve quantitative easing program and increases in the Federal Funds rate in December 2016 and March 2017, we will likely experience rising interest rates, rather than falling rates in the future.
Because we currently incur indebtedness to fund our investments, a portion of our income depends upon the difference between the interest rate at which we borrow funds and the interest rate at which we invest these funds. To the extent our investments have fixed interest rates or have interest rate floors that are higher than the floor on, or interest rates that reset less frequently than, the Key Facility, increases in interest rates can lead to interest rate compression and have a material adverse effect on our net investment income. In addition to increasing the cost of borrowed funds, which may materially reduce our net investment income,
rising interest rates may also adversely affect our ability to obtain additional debt financing on terms as favorable as under our current debt financings, or at all. See If we are unable to obtain additional debt financing, our business could be materially adversely affected.
If general interest rates rise, there is a risk that the portfolio companies in which we hold floating rate securities will be unable to pay escalating interest amounts, which could result in a default under their loan documents with us. Rising interests rates could also cause portfolio companies to shift cash from other productive uses to the payment of interest, which may have a material adverse effect on their business and operations and could, over time, lead to increased defaults on our investments in such portfolio companies. In addition, increasing payment obligations under floating rate loans may cause borrowers to refinance or otherwise repay our loans earlier than they otherwise would, requiring us to incur management time and expense to re-deploy such proceeds, including on terms that may not be as favorable as our existing loans. In addition, rising interest rates may increase pressure on us to provide fixed rate loans to our portfolio companies, which could adversely affect our net investment income, as increases in our cost of borrowed funds would not be accompanied by increased interest income from such fixed-rate investments.
We may hedge against interest rate fluctuations by using hedging instruments such as caps, swaps, futures, options and forward contracts, subject to applicable legal requirements, including all necessary registrations (or exemptions from registration) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. These activities may limit our ability to benefit from lower interest rates with respect to the hedged portfolio. Adverse developments resulting from changes in interest rates or hedging transactions or any adverse developments from our use of hedging instruments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may be unable to enter into appropriate hedging transactions when desired and any hedging transactions we enter into may not be effective.
As a rise in the general level of interest rates can be expected to lead to higher interest rates applicable to our debt investments, an increase in interest rates would make it easier for us to meet or exceed the hurdle rate applicable to the incentive fee and may result in a substantial increase in the amount of incentive fees payable to the Advisor with respect to Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income.
Also, an increase in interest rates on investments available to investors could make investment in our common stock less attractive if we are not able to increase our distributions, which could materially reduce the value of our common stock.
Our investments consist, and we expect our future investments to consist, primarily of debt investments or securities issued by privately held companies. As these investments are not publicly traded, their fair value may not be readily determinable. In addition, we are not permitted to maintain a general reserve for anticipated debt investment losses. Instead, we are required by the 1940 Act to specifically value each investment and record an unrealized gain or loss for any asset that we believe has increased or decreased in value. We value these investments on a quarterly basis, or more frequently as circumstances require, in accordance with our valuation policy and consistent with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. Our Board employs independent third-party valuation firms to assist it in arriving at the fair value of our investments. Our Board discusses valuations and determines the fair value in good faith based on the input of our Advisor and the third-party valuation firms. The factors that may be considered in fair value pricing our investments include the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio companys earnings and its ability to make payments on its indebtedness, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, comparisons to publicly traded companies, discounted cash flow and other relevant factors. Because such valuations are inherently uncertain and may be based on estimates, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would be assessed if a ready market for these securities existed. Our NAV could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair value of our investments are materially higher than the values that we ultimately realize upon the disposal of these investments.
The U.S. and global capital markets experienced extreme volatility and disruption during the economic downturn that began in mid-2007, and the U.S. economy was in a recession for several consecutive calendar quarters during the same period. This economic decline materially and adversely affected the broader financial and credit markets and has reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and to financial firms, in particular. At various times, these disruptions resulted in a lack of liquidity in parts of the debt capital markets, significant write-offs in the financial services sector relating to subprime mortgages and the repricing of credit risk in the broadly syndicated market. These disruptions in the capital markets also increased the spread between the yields realized on risk-free and higher risk securities and reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and financial services firms in particular. While there have been some recent improvements in the condition of the overall capital markets, lending standards (including for extending new credit, refinancing existing credit and granting waivers of de minimis defaults) for smaller companies, including both us and our portfolio companies, remain strict. If these unfavorable economic conditions, including tight capital markets for smaller borrowers, continue or worsen in the future, it could affect our investment valuations, increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us or our portfolio companies. We may in the future have difficulty accessing debt and equity capital on attractive terms, or at all, and a severe disruption and instability in the global financial markets or deteriorations in credit and financing conditions may cause us to reduce the volume of debt investments we originate and/or fund, adversely affect the value of our portfolio investments or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our business plans contemplate a need for a substantial amount of capital in addition to our current amount of capital. We may obtain additional capital through the issuance of debt securities or preferred stock, and we may borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, which we refer to collectively as senior securities, up to the maximum amount permitted by the 1940 Act. If we issue senior securities, we would be exposed to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss. In addition, if we issue preferred stock, it would rank senior to common stock in our capital structure and preferred stockholders would have separate voting rights and may have rights, preferences or privileges more favorable than those of holders of our common stock.
The 1940 Act permits us to issue senior securities in amounts such that our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% after each issuance of senior securities. If our asset coverage is not at least 200%, we are not permitted to pay distributions or issue additional senior securities. As a result, we may have difficulty meeting the annual distribution requirement, or the Annual Distribution Requirement, necessary to maintain RIC tax treatment. Moreover, if the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy this asset coverage test. If that happens, we may be required to liquidate a portion of our investments and repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when we may be unable to do so or unable to do so on favorable terms.
As a BDC, we generally are not able to issue our common stock at a price below NAV per share without first obtaining the approval of our stockholders and our independent directors. Our stockholder approval expired in January 2016, but we may seek such approval again in the future. If our common stock trades at a price below NAV per share and we do not receive approval from our stockholders and our independent directors to issue common stock at a price below NAV per share, we cannot raise capital through the issuance of equity securities. This may limit our ability: to grow and make new investments; to attract and retain top investment professionals; to maintain deal flow and relations with top companies in our Target Industries and related entities such as venture capital and private equity sponsors; and to sustain a minimum efficient scale for a public company. The stockholder approval requirement does not apply to stock issued upon the exercise of options, warrants or rights that we may issue from time to time. If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, the percentage ownership of our stockholders at that time would decrease, and you may experience dilution.
As a BDC, under the 1940 Act we generally are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, if eventually passed, would modify this section of the 1940 Act and, subject to stockholder approval, increase the amount of debt that BDCs may incur by decreasing the required asset coverage from 200% to 150%. As a result, we may be able to incur additional indebtedness in the future, and therefore the risk of an investment in us may increase.
To qualify as a RIC under the Code, we must meet certain source-of-income, asset diversification and distribution requirements contained in Subchapter M of the Code, as well as maintain our election to be regulated as a BDC under the 1940 Act. We must also meet the Annual Distribution Requirement in order to avoid the imposition of corporate-level income tax on all of our taxable income, regardless of whether we make any distributions to our stockholders.
The qualifying income test, or the Qualifying Income Test is satisfied if we derive in each tax year at least 90% of our gross income from dividends, interest (including tax-exempt interest), payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, other income (including but not limited to gain from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to our business of investing in stock, securities or currencies, or net income derived from interests in qualified publicly traded partnerships. The status of certain forms of income we receive could be subject to different interpretations under the Code and might be characterized as non-qualifying income that could cause us to fail to qualify as a RIC, assuming we do not qualify for or take advantage of certain remedial provisions, and, thus, may cause us to be subject to corporate-level federal income taxes.
To qualify as a RIC, we must also meet diversification tests, or the Diversification Tests, at the end of each quarter of our tax year. Failure to meet these tests may result in our having to (1) dispose of certain investments quickly; (2) raise additional capital to prevent the loss of RIC status; or (3) engage in certain remedial actions that may entail the disposition of certain investments at disadvantageous prices that could result in substantial losses, and the payment of penalties, if we qualify to take such actions. Because most of our investments are and will be in development-stage companies within our Target Industries, any such dispositions could be made at disadvantageous prices and may result in substantial losses. If we raise additional capital to satisfy the asset diversification requirements, it could take a longer time to invest such capital. During this period, we will invest in temporary investments, such as money market funds, which we expect will earn yields substantially lower than the interest income that we anticipate receiving in respect of our investments in secured and amortizing debt investments.
The Annual Distribution Requirement is satisfied if we distribute dividends to our stockholders in each tax year of an amount generally equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income, determined without regard to any deductions for dividends paid. If we borrow money, we may be subject to certain asset coverage requirements under the 1940 Act and loan covenants that could, under certain circumstances, restrict us from making distributions necessary to qualify as a RIC. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources, we may fail to be eligible to be subject to taxation as a RIC, assuming we do not qualify for or take advantage of certain remedial provisions, and, thus, may be subject to corporate-level income taxes.
If we were to fail to qualify as a RIC for any reason and become subject to a corporate-level income taxes, the resulting taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution to our stockholders, and the actual amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us, the NAV of our common stock and the total return, if any, obtainable from your investment in our common stock. In addition, we could be required to recognize unrealized gains, incur substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a RIC. See Regulation.
We may be required to recognize taxable income in circumstances in which we do not receive cash. For example, if we hold debt instruments that are treated under applicable tax rules as having original issue discount (such as debt instruments with payment-in-kind interest or, in certain cases, increasing interest rates or issued with warrants), we must include in taxable income each tax year a portion of the original issue discount that accrues over the life of the debt instrument, regardless of whether cash representing such income is received by us in the same tax year. We do not have a policy limiting our ability to invest in original issue discount instruments, including payment-in-kind debt investments. Because in certain cases we may recognize taxable income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty meeting the Annual Distribution Requirement.
Accordingly, we may need to sell some of our assets at times that we would not consider advantageous, raise additional debt or equity capital or forego new investment opportunities or otherwise take actions that are disadvantageous to our business (or be unable to take actions that we believe are necessary or advantageous to our business) in order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, we may become subject to a corporate-level income taxes on all of our income. The proportion of our income, consisting of interest and fee income that resulted from the portion of original issue discount classified as such in accordance with GAAP not received in cash for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014 was 10.2%, 12.6%, 8.9% and 9.5%, respectively.
Our investments with deferred payment features, such as debt investments providing for ETPs, may represent a higher credit risk than debt investments requiring payments of all principal and accrued interest at regular intervals over the life of the debt investment. For example, even if the accounting conditions for income accrual were met during the period when the obligation was outstanding, the borrower could still default when our actual collection is scheduled to occur upon maturity of the obligation. The amount of ETPs due under our investments having such a feature currently represents a small portion of the applicable borrowers total repayment obligations under such investments. However, deferred payment arrangements increase the incremental risk that we will not receive a portion of the amount due at maturity. Additionally, because investments with a deferred payment feature may have the effect of deferring a portion of the borrowers payment obligation until maturity of the debt investment, it may be difficult for us to identify and address developing problems with borrowers in terms of their ability to repay us. Any such developments may increase the risk of default on our debt investments by borrowers.
In addition, debt investments providing for ETPs are subject to the risks associated with debt investments having original issue discount (such as debt instruments with payment-in-kind interest or, in certain cases, increasing interest rates or issued with warrants). See We may have difficulty paying our required distributions if we recognize taxable income before or without receiving cash.
A commitment to extend credit is an agreement to lend funds to our portfolio companies as long as there is no violation of any condition established under the agreement. Because of the credit profile of our portfolio companies, we typically have a substantial amount of total unfunded credit commitments, which amount is not reflected on our balance sheet. The actual borrowing needs of our portfolio companies may exceed our expected funding requirements, especially during a challenging economic environment when our portfolio companies may be more dependent on our credit commitments due to the lack of available credit elsewhere, an increasing cost of credit or the limited availability of equity financing from venture capital firms or otherwise. In addition, limited partner investors of some of our portfolio companies may fail to meet their
underlying investment commitments due to liquidity or other financing issues, which may increase our portfolio companies borrowing needs. Any failure to meet our unfunded credit commitments in accordance with the actual borrowing needs of our portfolio companies may have a material adverse effect on our reputation in the market and our ability to generate incremental lending activity and may subject us to lender liability claims.
As a BDC, we are prohibited from acquiring any assets other than qualifying assets (as defined under the 1940 Act) unless, at the time of and after giving effect to such acquisition, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets. Subject to certain exceptions for follow-on investments and distressed companies, an investment in an issuer that has outstanding securities listed on a national securities exchange may be treated as a qualifying asset only if such issuer has a market capitalization that is less than $250 million at the time of such investment and meets the other specified requirements. In the future, we may decide to make other investments that are not qualifying assets to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. If we acquire debt or equity securities from an issuer that has outstanding marginable securities at the time we make an investment, these acquired assets may not be treated as qualifying assets. This result is dictated by the definition of eligible portfolio company under the 1940 Act, which in part looks to whether a company has outstanding marginable securities. See Regulation Qualifying assets. If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could lose our status as a BDC. If we do not maintain our status as a BDC, we would be subject to regulation as a registered closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act. As a registered closed-end investment company, we would be subject to substantially more regulatory restrictions under the 1940 Act, which would significantly decrease our operating flexibility.
We and our portfolio companies are subject to regulation at the local, state and federal level. We are also subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations and are subject to judicial and administrative decisions that affect our operations, including maximum interest rates, fees and other charges, disclosures to portfolio companies, the terms of secured transactions, collection and foreclosure proceedings and other trade practices. If these laws, regulations or decisions change, or if we expand our business into additional jurisdictions, we may have to incur significant expenses in order to comply or we might have to restrict our operations. New legislation may be enacted or new interpretations, rulings or regulations could be adopted, including those governing the types of investments we or our portfolio companies are permitted to make, any of which could harm us and our stockholders, potentially with retroactive effect. In particular, the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, and any amendments thereto that may be enacted, on us and our portfolio companies is subject to continuing uncertainty. The Dodd-Frank Act, including future rules implementing its provisions and the interpretation of those rules, along with other legislative and regulatory proposals directed at the financial services industry or affecting taxation that are proposed or pending in the U.S. Congress, may negatively impact the operations, cash flows or financial condition of us or our portfolio companies, impose additional costs on us or our portfolio companies, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or our portfolio companies or otherwise adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies. We cannot predict the ultimate effect on us or our portfolio companies that changes in the laws and regulations would have as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, or whether and the extent to which the Dodd-Frank Act may remain in its current form. In addition, uncertainty regarding legislation and regulations affecting the financial services industry or taxation could also adversely impact our business or the business of our portfolio companies. If we do not comply with applicable laws and regulations, we could lose any licenses that we then hold for the conduct of our business and may be subject to civil fines and criminal penalties.
Additionally, changes to or repeal of the laws and regulations governing our operations related to permitted investments may cause us to alter our investment strategy in order to avail ourselves of new or different opportunities. Such changes could result in material differences to the strategies and plans set forth in this prospectus and may shift our investment focus from the areas of expertise of our Investment Adviser to
other types of investments in which our Investment Adviser may have little or no expertise or experience. Any such changes, if they occur, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.
As a result of our arrangements with our Advisor, there may be times when our Advisor has interests that differ from those of our stockholders, giving rise to a potential conflict of interest. Our executive officers and directors, as well as the current and future executives and employees of our Advisor, serve or may serve as officers, directors or principals of entities that operate in the same or a related line of business as we do. Accordingly, they may have obligations to investors in those entities, the fulfillment of which might not be in the best interests of our stockholders. In addition, obligations to these other entities may cause our executive officers and directors and those of our Advisor to divert their time and attention away from us or otherwise cause them not to dedicate a significant portion of their time to our businesses which could slow our rate of investment.
In addition, our Advisor manages other funds, and may manage additional funds in the future, that have investment objectives that are similar, in whole or in part, to ours. Our Advisor may determine that an investment is appropriate for us and for one or more of those other funds. In such an event, depending on the availability of the investment and other appropriate factors, our Advisor will endeavor to allocate investment opportunities in a fair and equitable manner and act in accordance with its written allocation policy to address and, if necessary, resolve any conflict of interests. It is also possible that we may not be given the opportunity to participate in these other investment opportunities.
We pay management and incentive fees to our Advisor and reimburse our Advisor for certain expenses it incurs. As a result, investors in our common stock invest on a gross basis and receive distributions on a net basis after expenses, resulting in a lower rate of return than an investor might achieve through direct investments. Also, the incentive fee payable by us to our Advisor may create an incentive for our Advisor to pursue investments on our behalf that are riskier or more speculative than would be the case in the absence of such compensation arrangements. In addition, if any of the other funds managed by our Advisor have a different fee structure than we do, our Advisor may, in certain circumstances, have an incentive to devote more time and resources, and/or recommend the allocation of investment opportunities, to such fund. For example, to the extent our Advisors incentive compensation is not subject to a total return requirement with respect to another fund, it may have an incentive to devote time and resources to such fund.
We have entered into a license agreement with Horizon Technology Finance, LLC, pursuant to which it has agreed to grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free right and license to use the service mark Horizon Technology Finance. Under this agreement, we have a right to use the Horizon Technology Finance service mark for so long as the Investment Management Agreement is in effect between us and our Advisor. In addition, we pay our Advisor, our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by our Advisor in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent, the fees and expenses associated with performing compliance functions, and our allocable portion of the compensation of our Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer and their respective staffs. Any potential conflict of interest arising as a result of our arrangements with our Advisor could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The incentive fee payable by us to our Advisor may create an incentive for our Advisor to pursue investments on our behalf that are riskier or more speculative than would be the case in the absence of such compensation arrangement. The incentive fee payable to our Advisor is calculated based on a percentage of our return on invested capital. This may encourage our Advisor to use leverage to increase the return on our investments. Under certain circumstances, the use of leverage may increase the likelihood of default, which would impair the value of our common stock. In addition, our Advisor receives the incentive fee based, in part, upon net capital gains realized on our investments. Unlike that portion of the incentive fee based on income, there is no hurdle rate applicable to the portion of the incentive fee based on net capital gains. As a result, our Advisor may have an incentive to invest more capital in investments that are likely to result in
capital gains as compared to income-producing securities. Such a practice could result in our investing in more speculative investments than would otherwise be the case, which could result in higher investment losses, particularly during economic downturns. In addition, the incentive fee may encourage our Advisor to pursue different types of investments or structure investments in ways that are more likely to result in warrant gains or gains on equity investments, including upon exercise of equity participation rights, which are inconsistent with our investment strategy and disciplined underwriting process.
The incentive fee payable by us to our Advisor may also induce our Advisor to pursue investments on our behalf that have a deferred interest feature, even if such deferred payments would not provide cash necessary to enable us to pay current distributions to our stockholders. Under these investments, we would accrue interest over the life of the investment but would not receive the cash income from the investment until the end of the term. Our net investment income used to calculate the income portion of our investment fee, however, includes accrued interest. Thus, a portion of this incentive fee would be based on income that we have not yet received in cash. In addition, the catch-up portion of the incentive fee may encourage our Advisor to accelerate or defer interest payable by portfolio companies from one calendar quarter to another, potentially resulting in fluctuations in the timing and amounts of distributions. Our governing documents do not limit the number of debt investments we may make with deferred interest features or the proportion of our income we derive from such debt investments.
We are prohibited under the 1940 Act from participating in certain transactions with our affiliates without the prior approval of our independent directors and, in some cases, of the SEC. Any person that owns, directly or indirectly, 5% or more of our outstanding voting securities is our affiliate for purposes of the 1940 Act, and we are generally prohibited from buying or selling any security from or to, or entering into certain joint transactions (which could include investments in the same portfolio company) with, such affiliates, absent the prior approval of our independent directors or, in certain cases, the SEC.
Our Advisor is considered to be our affiliate under the 1940 Act, as is any person that controls, or is under common control with us or our Advisor. We are generally prohibited from buying or selling any security from or to, or entering into joint transactions with, such affiliates without prior approval of our independent directors and, in some cases, exemptive relief from the SEC.
We may, however, invest alongside other clients of our Advisor in certain circumstances where doing so is consistent with applicable law, SEC staff interpretations and/or exemptive relief issued by the SEC. For example, we may invest alongside such accounts consistent with guidance promulgated by the staff of the SEC permitting us and such other accounts to purchase interests in a single class of privately placed securities so long as certain conditions are met, including that our Advisor, acting on our behalf and on behalf of other clients, negotiates no term other than price. We may also invest alongside our Advisors other clients as otherwise permissible under regulatory guidance and applicable regulations. Such investments will be allocated in accordance with our Advisors allocation policy, and this allocation policy is periodically approved by our Advisor and reviewed by our independent directors. We expect that allocation determinations will be made similarly for other accounts sponsored or managed by our Advisor. If sufficient securities or loan amounts are available to satisfy our and each such accounts proposed demand, we expect that the opportunity will be allocated in accordance with our Advisors pre-transaction determination; however, if insufficient securities or loan amounts are available, the opportunity will generally be allocated pro rata based on each affiliates initial allocation in the asset class being allocated. We cannot assure you that investment opportunities will be allocated to us fairly or equitably in the short-term or over time.
On January 23, 2017, we submitted an exemptive relief application to the SEC to permit greater flexibility to negotiate the terms of co-investments if our Board determines in advance that it would be advantageous for us to co-invest with other accounts sponsored or managed by our Advisor in a manner consistent with our investment objective, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions, as well as regulatory requirements and other relevant factors. We cannot assure you, however, that we will obtain such exemptive relief on terms favorable to us or at all.
In situations where co-investment with other accounts managed by our Advisor is not permitted or appropriate, our Advisor will need to decide which client will proceed with the investment. Our Advisors allocation policy provides, in such circumstances, for investments to be allocated on a random or rotational basis to assure that all clients have fair and equitable access to such investment opportunities over time. Moreover, except in certain circumstances, we will be unable to invest in any issuer in which a fund managed by our Advisor has previously invested. Similar restrictions limit our ability to transact business with our officers or directors or their affiliates. These restrictions may limit the scope of investment opportunities that would otherwise be available to us.
The majority of our portfolio investments are expected to be made in the form of securities that are not publicly traded. As a result, the Board will determine the fair value of these securities in good faith as described above in Because many of our investments typically are not and will not be in publicly traded securities, the value of our investments may not be readily determinable, which could adversely affect the determination of our NAV. In connection with that determination, investment professionals from the Advisor may provide the Board with portfolio company valuations based upon the most recent portfolio company financial statements available and projected financial results of each portfolio company. The participation of the Advisors investment professionals in our valuation process could result in a conflict of interest as the Advisors management fee is based, in part, on our gross assets less cash, and our incentive fees will be based, in part, on unrealized appreciation and depreciation on our investments.
Under the Investment Management Agreement, our Advisor does not assume any responsibility to us other than to render the services called for under that agreement, and it is not responsible for any action of our Board in following or declining to follow our Advisors advice or recommendations. Under the terms of the Investment Management Agreement, our Advisor, its officers, members, personnel and any person controlling or controlled by our Advisor are not liable to us, any subsidiary of ours, our directors, our stockholders or any subsidiarys stockholders or partners for acts or omissions performed in accordance with and pursuant to the Investment Management Agreement, except those resulting from acts constituting gross negligence, willful misconduct, bad faith or reckless disregard of our Advisors duties under the Investment Management Agreement. In addition, we have agreed to indemnify our Advisor and each of its officers, directors, members, managers and employees from and against any claims or liabilities, including reasonable legal fees and other expenses reasonably incurred, arising out of or in connection with our business and operations or any action taken or omitted on our behalf pursuant to authority granted by the Investment Management Agreement, except where attributable to gross negligence, willful misconduct, bad faith or reckless disregard of such persons duties under the Investment Management Agreement. These protections may lead our Advisor to act in a riskier manner when acting on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account.
Our ability to achieve our investment objective depends on our ability to achieve and sustain growth, which depends, in turn, on our Advisors direct origination capabilities and disciplined underwriting process in identifying, evaluating, financing, investing in and monitoring suitable companies that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of our Advisors marketing capabilities, management of the investment process, ability to provide efficient services and access to financing sources on acceptable terms. In addition to monitoring the performance of our existing investments, our Advisor may also be called upon to provide managerial assistance to our portfolio companies. These demands on their time may distract them or slow the rate of investment. If we fail to manage our future growth effectively, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected and the value of your investment in us could decrease.
Our Board may modify or waive our current operating policies and strategies, including our investment objectives, without prior notice and without stockholder approval (provided that no such modification or waiver may change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as a BDC as provided by the 1940 Act without stockholder approval at a special meeting called upon written notice of not less than ten or more than sixty days before the date of such meeting). We cannot predict the effect any changes to our current operating policies and strategies would have on our business, results of operations or financial condition or on the value of our stock. However, the effects of any changes might adversely affect our business, any or all of which could negatively impact our ability to pay distributions or cause you to lose all or part of your investment in us.
We could experience fluctuations in our quarterly and annual operating results due to a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control, including: our ability to make investments in companies that meet our investment criteria, the interest rate payable on our debt investments, the default rate on these investments, the level of our expenses, variations in, and the timing of, the recognition of realized and unrealized gains or losses, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets and general economic conditions. For example, we have historically experienced greater investment activity during the second and fourth quarters relative to other periods. As a result of these factors, you should not rely on the results for any prior period as being indicative of our performance in future periods.
We have historically depended on our Advisors referral relationships to generate investment opportunities. For us to achieve our future business objectives, members of our Advisor need to maintain these relationships with venture capital and private equity firms and management teams and legal firms, accounting firms, investment banks and other lenders, and we rely to a significant extent upon these relationships to provide us with investment opportunities. If they fail to maintain their existing relationships or develop new relationships with other firms or sources of investment opportunities, we may not be able to grow our investment portfolio. In addition, persons with whom our Advisor has relationships are not obligated to provide us with investment opportunities, and, therefore, there is no assurance that such relationships will lead to the origination of debt or other investments.
Under our Investment Management Agreement and our Administration Agreement, our Advisor has the right to resign at any time, upon not more than 60 days written notice, whether we have found a replacement or not. If our Advisor resigns, we may not be able to find a new investment adviser or administrator or hire internal management with similar expertise and ability to provide the same or equivalent services on acceptable terms within 60 days, or at all. If we are unable to do so, our operations are likely to be disrupted, our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to pay distributions may be adversely affected and the market price of our shares may decline. In addition, the coordination of our internal management and investment activities is likely to suffer if we are unable to identify and reach an agreement with a single institution or group of executives having the expertise possessed by our Advisor and its affiliates. Even if we are able to retain comparable management, whether internal or external, the integration of new management and their lack of familiarity with our investment objective may result in additional costs and time delays that may adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.
As a publicly traded company, we incur legal, accounting and other expenses, including costs associated with the periodic reporting requirements applicable to a company whose securities are registered under the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, as well as additional corporate governance requirements, including requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and other rules implemented by the SEC.
Under current SEC rules, we are required to report on our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related rules and regulations of the SEC. As a result, we incur additional expenses that negatively impact our financial performance and our ability to make distributions. This process also results in a diversion of managements time and attention. We cannot be certain as to the timing of completion of our annual re-evaluation, testing and remediation actions or the impact of the same on our operations, and we cannot assure you that our internal control over financial reporting is or will be effective. In the event that we are unable to maintain compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related rules, we and the market price of our securities may be adversely affected.
Our business is highly dependent on the Advisor and its affiliates communications and information systems. Any failure or interruption of those systems, including as a result of the termination of an agreement with any third-party service providers, could cause delays or other problems in our activities. Our financial, accounting, data processing, backup or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control and adversely affect our business. There could be:
|||sudden electrical or telecommunications outages;|
|||natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes;|
|||disease pandemics; and|
|||events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts.|
Any of these events, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.
In addition, these communications and information systems are subject to potential attacks, including through adverse events that threaten the confidentiality, integrity or availability of our information resources. These attacks, which may include cyber incidents, may involve a third party gaining unauthorized access to our communications or information systems for purposes of misappropriating assets, stealing confidential information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Any such attack could result in disruption to our business, misstated or unreliable financial data, liability for stolen assets or information, increased cybersecurity protection and insurance costs, litigation and damage to our business relationships, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our future investments will be selected by our Advisor, subject to the approval of its investment committee. Our stockholders do not have input into our Advisors investment decisions. As a result, our stockholders are unable to evaluate any of our future portfolio company investments. These factors increase the uncertainty, and thus the risk, of investing in our securities.
We are classified as a non-diversified investment company within the meaning of the 1940 Act, which means that we are not limited by the 1940 Act with respect to the proportion of our assets that we may invest
in securities of a single issuer, excluding limitations on stake holdings in investment companies. Beyond our income tax diversification requirements, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification, and our investments could be focused on relatively few portfolio companies.
To the extent that we assume large positions in the securities of a small number of issuers, our NAV may fluctuate to a greater extent than that of a diversified investment company as a result of changes in the financial condition or the markets assessment of the issuer. If a significant investment in one or more portfolio companies fails to perform as expected, our financial results could be more negatively affected and the magnitude of the loss could be more significant than if we had made smaller investments in more portfolio companies. We may also be more susceptible to any single economic or regulatory occurrence than a diversified investment company.
Our portfolio may be focused on a limited number of industries. As a result, a downturn in any particular industry in which we are invested could also significantly impact the aggregate returns we realize. Our Target Industries are susceptible to changes in government policy and economic assistance, which could adversely affect the returns we receive.
We intend to make distributions of income on a monthly basis to our stockholders. We may not be able to achieve operating results that will allow us to make distributions at a specific level or increase the amount of these distributions from time to time. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a BDC, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, restrictions and provisions in any existing or future credit facilities may limit our ability to make distributions. If we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income each tax year as dividends to stockholders, we will suffer adverse tax consequences, including the possible loss of our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.
Our portfolio companies typically require substantial additional financing to satisfy their continuing working capital and other capital requirements and service the interest and principal payments on our investments. We cannot predict the circumstances or market conditions under which our portfolio companies will seek additional capital. Each round of institutional equity financing is typically intended to provide a company with only enough capital to reach the next stage of development. It is possible that one or more of our portfolio companies will not be able to raise additional financing or may be able to do so only at a price or on terms that are unfavorable to the portfolio company, either of which would negatively impact our investment returns. Some of these companies may be unable to obtain sufficient financing from private investors, public capital markets or lenders, thereby requiring these companies to cease or curtail business operations. Accordingly, investing in these types of companies generally entails a higher risk of loss than investing in companies that do not have significant incremental capital raising requirements.
General economic conditions may affect our activities and the operation and value of our portfolio companies. Economic slowdowns or recessions may result in a decrease of institutional equity investment, which would limit our lending opportunities. Furthermore, many of our portfolio companies may be susceptible to economic slowdowns or recessions and may be unable to repay our debt investments during these periods. Therefore, our non-performing assets are likely to increase and the value of our portfolio is likely to decrease during these periods. Adverse economic conditions may also decrease the value of collateral securing some of our debt investments and the value of our equity investments. Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions could also increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us.
A portfolio companys failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, termination of its loans and foreclosure on its secured assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize the portfolio companys ability to meet its obligations under the loans that we hold. We may incur expenses to the extent necessary to recover our investment upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company. These events could harm our financial condition and operating results.
We intend to invest, under normal circumstances, most of the value of our total assets (including the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in development-stage companies, which may have relatively limited operating histories, in our Target Industries. Many of these companies may have narrow product lines and small market shares, compared to larger established, publicly owned firms, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns. The revenues, income (or losses) and valuations of development-stage companies in our Target Industries can and often do fluctuate suddenly and dramatically. For these reasons, investments in our portfolio companies, if rated by one or more ratings agency, would typically be rated below investment grade, which refers to securities rated by ratings agencies below the four highest rating categories. These companies may also have more limited access to capital and higher funding costs. In addition, development-stage technology markets are generally characterized by abrupt business cycles and intense competition, and the competitive environment can change abruptly due to rapidly evolving technology. Therefore, our portfolio companies may face considerably more risk than companies in other industry sectors. Accordingly, these factors could impair their cash flow or result in other events, such as bankruptcy, which could limit their ability to repay their obligations to us and may materially adversely affect the return on, or the recovery of, our investments in these businesses.
Because of rapid technological change, the average selling prices of products and some services provided by development-stage companies in our Target Industries have historically decreased over their productive lives. These decreases could adversely affect their operating results and cash flow, their ability to meet obligations under their debt securities and the value of their equity securities. This could, in turn, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
As a BDC, we are required to carry our investments at fair value, which is the market value of our investments or, if no market value is ascertainable, at the fair value as determined in good faith pursuant to procedures approved by our Board in accordance with our valuation policy. We are not permitted to maintain a reserve for debt investment losses. Decreases in the fair values of our investments, which can occur rapidly based upon developments affecting our portfolio companies are recorded as unrealized depreciation. Any unrealized depreciation in our debt investments could be an indication of a portfolio companys inability to meet its repayment obligations to us with respect to the affected debt investments. This could result in realized losses in the future and ultimately reduces our income available for distribution in future periods.
We believe our portfolio companies generally are and will be able to repay our debt investments from their available capital, from future capital-raising transactions or from cash flow from operations. However, to mitigate our credit risks, we typically take a security interest in all or a portion of the assets of our portfolio companies. There is a risk that the collateral securing our debt investments may decrease in value over time, may be difficult to appraise or sell in a timely manner and may fluctuate in value based upon the business and market conditions, including as a result of an inability of the portfolio company to raise additional capital, and, in some circumstances, our lien could be subordinated to claims of other creditors. In addition, deterioration of a portfolio companys financial condition and prospects, including its inability to raise additional capital, may be accompanied by deterioration of the value of the collateral for the debt investment.
Consequently, although such debt investment is secured, we may not receive principal and interest payments according to the debt investments terms and the value of the collateral may not be sufficient to recover our investment should we be forced to enforce our remedies.
In addition, because we invest in development-stage companies in our Target Industries, a substantial portion of the assets securing our investment may be in the form of intellectual property, if any, inventory, equipment, cash and accounts receivables. Intellectual property, if any, which secures a debt investment could lose value if the companys rights to the intellectual property are challenged or if the companys license to the intellectual property is revoked or expires. In addition, in lieu of a security interest in a portfolio companys intellectual property we may sometimes obtain a security interest in all assets of the portfolio company other than intellectual property and also obtain a commitment by the portfolio company not to grant liens to any other creditor on the companys intellectual property. In these cases, we may have additional difficulty recovering our principal in the event of a foreclosure. Similarly, any equipment securing our debt investments may not provide us with the anticipated security if there are changes in technology or advances in new equipment that render the particular equipment obsolete or of limited value or if the company fails to adequately maintain or repair the equipment. Any one or more of the preceding factors could materially impair our ability to recover principal in a foreclosure, which may adversely affect our ability to pay distributions in the future.
We structure the debt investments in our portfolio companies to include business and financial covenants placing affirmative and negative obligations on the operation of such companies business and financial condition. However, from time to time we may elect to waive breaches of these covenants, including our right to payment, or waive or defer enforcement of remedies, such as acceleration of obligations or foreclosure on collateral, depending upon the financial condition and prospects of the particular portfolio company. These actions may reduce the likelihood of our receiving the full amount of future payments of interest or principal and be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of the underlying collateral as many of these companies may have limited financial resources, may be unable to meet future obligations and may go bankrupt. These events could harm our financial condition and operating results.
We plan to generally invest in debt investments with terms of up to four years and hold such investments until maturity, unless earlier prepaid, and we do not expect that our related holdings of equity securities will provide us with liquidity opportunities in the near-term. We expect to primarily invest in companies whose securities are not publicly-traded, and whose securities are subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or are otherwise less liquid than publicly traded securities. The illiquidity of these investments may make it difficult for us to sell these investments when desired. We may also face other restrictions on our ability to liquidate an investment in a public portfolio company to the extent that we possess material non-public information regarding the portfolio company. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we had previously recorded these investments. As a result, we do not expect to dispose of our investments in the near term. However, we may be required to do so in order to maintain our qualification as a BDC and as a RIC if we do not satisfy one or more of the applicable criteria under the respective regulatory frameworks. Because most of our investments are illiquid, we may be unable to dispose of them, in which case we could fail to qualify as a RIC and/or BDC, or we may not be able to dispose of them at favorable prices, and as a result, we may suffer losses.
In connection with the disposition of a debt investment, we may be required to make representations about the business and financial affairs of the portfolio company typical of those made in connection with the sale of a business. We may also be required to indemnify the purchasers of such debt investment to the extent that any such representations turn out to be inaccurate or with respect to potential liabilities. These arrangements may result in contingent liabilities that ultimately result in funding obligations that we must satisfy through our return of distributions previously made to us.
We plan to invest primarily in debt investments issued by our portfolio companies. Some of our portfolio companies are permitted to have other debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, our debt investments in the portfolio company. By their terms, these debt instruments may provide that the holders thereof are entitled to receive payment of interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of our debt investments. These debt instruments may prohibit the portfolio companies from paying interest on or repaying our investments in the event of, and during, the continuance of a default under the debt instruments. In addition, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of debt instruments ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company would typically be entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any payment in respect of our investment. After repaying senior creditors, a portfolio company may not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. In the case of debt ranking equally with our debt investments, we would have to share on an equal basis any distributions with other creditors holding such debt in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy.
Even though certain of our investments are structured as senior debt investments, if one of our portfolio companies were to go bankrupt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we actually provided managerial assistance to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might recharacterize our debt investment and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors or an out-of-court restructuring might enable other lenders to become effectively senior to our claims. We may also be subject to lender liability claims for actions taken by us with respect to a portfolio companys business, including in rendering significant managerial assistance, or instances where we exercise control over the portfolio company.
We currently invest, and plan to invest, in privately held companies. Generally, very little public information exists about these companies, and we are required to rely on the ability of our Advisor to obtain adequate information to evaluate the potential returns from investing in these companies. If we are unable to uncover all material information about these companies, we may not make a fully informed investment decision, and we may lose money on our investments. Also, privately held companies frequently have less diverse product lines and a smaller market presence than larger competitors. Thus, they are generally more vulnerable to economic downturns and may experience substantial variations in operating results. These factors could affect our investment returns.
In addition, our success depends, in large part, upon the abilities of the key management personnel of our portfolio companies, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of our portfolio companies. Competition for qualified personnel is intense at any stage of a companys development. The loss of one or more key managers can hinder or delay a companys implementation of its business plan and harm its financial condition. Our portfolio companies may not be able to attract and retain qualified managers and personnel. Any inability to do so may negatively affect our investment returns.
Officers and employees of our Advisor may serve as directors of, or in a similar capacity with, our portfolio companies, the securities of which are purchased or sold on our behalf. If we obtain material non-public information with respect to such portfolio companies, or we become subject to trading restrictions under the internal trading policies of those portfolio companies or as a result of applicable law or regulations, we could be prohibited for a period of time from purchasing or disposition of the securities of such portfolio companies, and this prohibition may have an adverse effect on us.
Leveraged companies may experience bankruptcy, receivership or similar financial distress. The debt investments of distressed companies may not produce income, may require us to bear certain expenses or to make additional advances in order to protect our investment and may subject us to uncertainty as to when, in what manner (e.g., through liquidation, reorganization, receivership or bankruptcy) and for what value such distressed debt will eventually be satisfied. Proceeds received from such proceedings may not be income that satisfies the Qualifying Income Test for RICs and may not be in an amount sufficient to repay such expenses or advances. In the event that a plan of reorganization is adopted or a receivership is established, in exchange for the debt investment we currently hold, we may receive non-cash proceeds, including equity securities or license or royalty agreements with contingent payments, which may require significantly more of our managements time and attention.
If a portfolio company enters a bankruptcy process, we will be subject to a number of significant inherent risks. Many events in a bankruptcy proceeding are the product of contested matters and adversary proceedings and are beyond the control of the creditors. A bankruptcy filing by an issuer may adversely and permanently affect the issuer. If the proceeding is converted to a liquidation, the value of the issuer may not equal the liquidation value that was believed to exist at the time of the investment. The duration of a bankruptcy proceeding is also difficult to predict, and a creditors return on investment can be adversely affected by delays until the plan of reorganization or liquidation ultimately becomes effective. The administrative costs of a bankruptcy proceeding are frequently high and would be paid out of the debtors estate prior to any return to creditors. Because the standards for classification of claims under bankruptcy law are vague, our influence with respect to the class of securities or other obligations we own may be lost by increases in the number and amount of claims in the same class or by different classification and treatment. In the early stages of the bankruptcy process, it is often difficult to estimate the extent of, or even to identify, any contingent claims that might be made. In addition, certain claims that have priority by law (for example, claims for taxes) may be substantial.
We are subject to the risk that the investments we make in our portfolio companies may be repaid prior to maturity. For example, most of our debt investments have historically been repaid prior to maturity by our portfolio companies. At the time of a liquidity event, such as a sale of the business, refinancing or public offering, many of our portfolio companies have availed themselves of the opportunity to repay our debt investments prior to maturity. Our investments generally allow for repayment at any time subject to certain penalties. When this occurs, we generally reinvest these proceeds in temporary investments, pending their future investment in new portfolio companies. These temporary investments have substantially lower yields than the debt being prepaid, and we could experience significant delays in reinvesting these amounts. Any future investment in a new portfolio company may also be at lower yields than the debt that was repaid. As a result, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected if one or more of our portfolio companies elects to prepay amounts owed to us. Additionally, prepayments could negatively impact our return on equity, which could result in a decline in the market price of our common stock.
Some of our portfolio companies operate in industries that are highly regulated by federal, state and/or local agencies. Changes in existing laws, rules or regulations, or judicial or administrative interpretations thereof, or new laws, rules or regulations could have an adverse impact on the business and industries of our portfolio companies. In addition, changes in government priorities or limitations on government resources could also adversely impact our portfolio companies. We are unable to predict whether any such changes in laws, rules or regulations will occur and, if they do occur, the impact of these changes on our portfolio companies and our investment returns.
As part of our investment strategy, we have invested, and plan to invest in the future, in companies in the technology industry. Such portfolio companies face intense competition as their businesses are rapidly evolving and intensely competitive, and are subject to changing technology, shifting user needs, and frequent introductions of new products and services. The growth of certain technology sectors in which we focus (such as communications, networking, data storage, software, cloud computing, and internet and media) into a variety of new fields implicates new regulatory issues and may result in our portfolio companies in such sectors being subject to new regulations.
Portfolio companies in the technology industry may also have a limited number of suppliers of necessary components or a limited number of manufacturers for their products, and therefore face a risk of disruption to their manufacturing process if they are unable to find alternative suppliers when needed. In addition, litigation regarding intellectual property rights is common in the sectors of the technology industry in which we focus. See If our portfolio companies are unable to protect their intellectual property rights, our business and prospects could be harmed, and if portfolio companies are required to devote significant resources to protecting their intellectual property rights, the value of our investment could be reduced. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect the operations of a portfolio company in this industry and, in turn, impair our ability to timely collect principal and interest payments owed to us.
As part of our investment strategy, we have invested, and plan to invest in the future, in companies in the life science industry.
Such portfolio companies are subject to extensive regulation by the Food and Drug Administration and to a lesser extent, other federal and state agencies. If any of these portfolio companies fail to comply with applicable regulations, they could be subject to significant penalties and claims that could materially and adversely affect their operations. In addition, new laws, regulations or judicial interpretations of existing laws and regulations might adversely affect a portfolio company in this industry.
The successful and timely implementation of the business model of life science companies depends on their ability to adapt to changing technologies and introduce new products. The success of new product offerings will depend, in turn, on many factors, including the ability to properly anticipate and satisfy customer needs, obtain regulatory approvals on a timely basis, develop and manufacture products in an economic and timely manner, obtain or maintain advantageous positions with respect to intellectual property, and differentiate products from those of competitors.
Further, the development of products (including medical devices or drug) by life science companies requires significant research and development, clinical trials and regulatory approvals. The results of product development efforts may be affected by a number of factors, including the ability to innovate, develop and manufacture new products, complete clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals and reimbursement by insurers in the United States (including Medicare and Medicaid) and abroad, or gain and maintain market approval of products. In addition, patents attained by others can preclude or delay the commercialization of a product. There can be no assurance that any products now in development will achieve technological feasibility, obtain regulatory approval, or gain market acceptance. Failure can occur at any point in the development process, including after significant funds have been invested. Products may fail to reach the market or may have only limited commercial success because of efficacy or safety concerns, failure to achieve positive clinical outcomes, inability to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, failure to achieve market adoption, limited scope of approved uses, excessive costs to manufacture, failure to establish or maintain intellectual property rights, infringement by others of a companys intellectual property rights, or infringement by a company of intellectual property rights of others.
Portfolio companies in the life science industry may also have a limited number of suppliers of necessary components or a limited number of manufacturers for their products, and therefore face a risk of disruption to their manufacturing process if they are unable to find alternative suppliers when needed. Any of these factors
could materially and adversely affect the operations of a portfolio company in this industry and, in turn, impair our ability to timely collect principal and interest payments owed to us.
As part of our investment strategy, we have invested, and plan to invest in the future, in companies in the healthcare information and services industry. Such portfolio companies provide technology to companies that are subject to extensive regulation, including Medicare and Medicaid payment rules and regulation, the False Claims Act and federal and state laws regarding the collection, use and disclosure of patient health information and the storage handling and administration of pharmaceuticals. If any of our portfolio companies or the companies to which they provide such technology fail to comply with applicable regulations, they could be subject to significant penalties and claims that could materially and adversely affect their operations. Portfolio companies in the healthcare information or services industry are also subject to the risk that changes in applicable regulations will render their technology obsolete or less desirable in the marketplace.
Portfolio companies in the healthcare information and services industry may also have a limited number of suppliers of necessary components or a limited number of manufacturers for their products, and therefore face a risk of disruption to their manufacturing process if they are unable to find alternative suppliers when needed. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect the operations of a portfolio company in this industry and, in turn, impair our ability to timely collect principal and interest payments owed to us.
Our investments in clean technology, or cleantech, companies are subject to substantial operational risks, such as underestimated cost projections, unanticipated operation and maintenance expenses, loss of government subsidies, and inability to deliver cost-effective alternative energy solutions compared to traditional energy products. In addition, energy companies employ a variety of means of increasing cash flow, including increasing utilization of existing facilities, expanding operations through new construction or acquisitions, or securing additional long-term contracts. Thus, some energy companies may be subject to construction risk, acquisition risk or other risks arising from their specific business strategies. Furthermore, production levels for solar, wind and other renewable energies may be dependent upon adequate sunlight, wind, or biogas production, which can vary from market to market and period to period, resulting in volatility in production levels and profitability. In addition, our cleantech companies may have narrow product lines and small market shares, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors actions and market conditions, as well as to general economic downturns. The revenues, income (or losses) and valuations of clean technology companies can and often do fluctuate suddenly and dramatically and the markets in which clean technology companies operate are generally characterized by abrupt business cycles and intense competition. Demand for cleantech and renewable energy is also influenced by the available supply and prices for other energy products, such as coal, oil and natural gas. A decrease in prices in these energy products could reduce demand for alternative energy. Cleantech companies face potential litigation, including significant warranty and product liability claims, as well as class action and government claims. Such litigation could adversely affect the business and results of operations of our cleantech portfolio companies.
As part of our investment strategy we invest in portfolio companies in cleantech sectors that may be subject to extensive regulation by foreign, U.S. federal, state and/or local agencies. Changes in existing laws, rules or regulations, or judicial or administrative interpretations thereof, uncertainty regarding such changes or new laws, rules or regulations could have an adverse impact on the business and industries of our portfolio companies. In addition, changes in government priorities or limitations on government resources could also adversely impact our portfolio companies. We are unable to predict whether any such changes in laws, rules or regulations will occur and, if they do occur, the impact of these changes on our portfolio companies and our investment returns. Furthermore, if any of our portfolio companies fail to comply with applicable
regulations, they could be subject to significant penalties and claims that could materially and adversely affect their operations. Our portfolio companies may be subject to the expense, delay and uncertainty of the regulatory approval process for their products and, even if approved, these products may not be accepted in the marketplace.
In particular, there is considerable uncertainty about whether foreign, U.S., state and/or local governmental entities will enact or maintain legislation or regulatory programs that mandate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or provide incentives for cleantech companies. Without such regulatory policies, investments in cleantech companies may not be economical and financing for cleantech companies may become unavailable, which could materially adversely affect the ability of our portfolio companies to repay the debt they owe to us. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect the operations and financial condition of a portfolio company and, in turn, the ability of the portfolio company to repay the debt they owe to us.
The value of our investments in our portfolio companies may decline if our portfolio companies are not able to commercialize their technology, products, business concepts or services. Additionally, although some of our portfolio companies may already have a commercially successful product or product line at the time of our investment, technology-related products and services often have a more limited market or life span than products in other industries. Thus, the ultimate success of these companies often depends on their ability to innovate continually in increasingly competitive markets. If they are unable to do so, our investment returns could be adversely affected and their ability to service their debt obligations to us over the life of a loan could be impaired. Our portfolio companies may be unable to acquire or develop successful new technologies and the intellectual property they currently hold may not remain viable. Even if our portfolio companies are able to develop commercially viable products, the market for new products and services is highly competitive and rapidly changing. Neither our portfolio companies nor we have any control over the pace of technology development. Commercial success is difficult to predict, and the marketing efforts of our portfolio companies may not be successful.
A portfolio company may license all or part of its intellectual property from another unrelated party. While the portfolio company may continue development on that licensed intellectual property, it can be difficult to ascertain who has title to the intellectual property. We may also rely upon the portfolio companys management teams representations as to the nature of the licensing agreement. There are implications in workouts and in bankruptcy where intellectual property is not wholly owned by a portfolio company. Further, the licensor may have an actual or contingent claim on the intellectual property (for instance, a payment due upon change in control) that would supersede other claims in that asset in certain situations.
Our future success and competitive position depends in part upon the ability of our portfolio companies to obtain, maintain and protect proprietary technology used in their products and services. The intellectual property held by our portfolio companies often represents a substantial portion of the collateral securing our investments and/or constitutes a significant portion of the portfolio companies value that may be available in a downside scenario to repay our debt investments. Our portfolio companies rely, in part, on patent, trade secret and trademark law to protect that technology, but competitors may misappropriate their intellectual property, and disputes as to ownership of intellectual property may arise. Portfolio companies may, from time to time, be required to institute litigation to enforce their patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights, protect their trade secrets, determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or defend against claims of infringement.
Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources. Similarly, if a portfolio company is found to infringe or misappropriate a third partys patent or other proprietary rights, it could be
required to pay damages to the third party, alter its products or processes, obtain a license from the third party and/or cease activities utilizing the proprietary rights, including making or selling products utilizing the proprietary rights. Any of the foregoing events could negatively affect both the portfolio companys ability to service our debt investment and the value of any related debt and equity securities that we own, as well as the value of any collateral securing our investment.
In some cases, we collateralize our debt investments with a secured collateral position in a portfolio company's assets, which may include a negative pledge or, to a lesser extent, no security interest on their intellectual property. In the event of a default on a debt investment, the intellectual property of the portfolio company would most likely be liquidated to provide proceeds to pay the creditors of the portfolio company. There can be no assurance that our security interest, if any, in the proceeds of the intellectual property will be enforceable in a court of law or bankruptcy court or that there will not be others with senior or pari passu credit interests.
We do not control, or expect to control in the future, any of our portfolio companies, even though our debt agreements may contain certain restrictive covenants that limit the business and operations of our portfolio companies. We also do not maintain, or intend to maintain in the future, a control position to the extent we own equity interests in any portfolio company. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company in which we invest may make business decisions with which we disagree and the management of such company, as representatives of the holders of their common equity, may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not serve our interests as debt investors. Due to the lack of liquidity of the investments that we typically hold in our portfolio companies, we may not be able to dispose of our investments in the event we disagree with the actions of a portfolio company and we may therefore, suffer a decrease in the value of our investments.
We may invest in securities of foreign companies. Additionally, certain debt investments consisting of secured loans to portfolio companies with headquarters and primary operations located within the United States may be secured by the assets of a portfolio companys foreign subsidiary. Investments involving foreign companies may involve greater risks. These risks include: (i) less publicly available information; (ii) varying levels of governmental regulation and supervision; and (iii) the difficulty of enforcing legal rights in a foreign jurisdiction and uncertainties as to the status, interpretation and application of laws. Moreover, foreign companies are generally not subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements comparable to those applicable to United States companies. Debt investments secured by the assets of a portfolio companys foreign subsidiary may be subject to various laws enacted in their home countries for the protection of debtors or creditors, which could adversely affect our ability to recover amounts owed. These insolvency considerations will differ depending on the country in which each foreign subsidiary is located and may differ depending on whether the foreign subsidiary is a non-sovereign or a sovereign entity. The economies of individual non-U.S. countries may also differ from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, volatility of currency exchange rates, depreciation, capital reinvestment, resources self-sufficiency and balance of payments position. Accordingly, debt investments secured by the assets of a portfolio companys foreign subsidiary could face risks which would not pertain to debt investments solely in U.S. portfolio companies.
As discussed above, we generally receive warrants in connection with our debt investments. If we do not receive the returns that are anticipated on the warrants, our investment returns on our portfolio companies, and the value of your investment in us, may be lower than expected.
We intend to make distributions on a monthly basis to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results that will allow us to make a specified level of cash distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions. Our ability to pay distributions might be adversely affected by the impact of one or more risk factors described in this report. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a BDC, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. All distributions will be paid at the discretion of our Board and will depend on our earnings, our financial condition, maintenance of our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, compliance with BDC regulation and such other factors as our Board may deem relevant from time to time. We cannot assure you that we will pay distributions to our stockholders in the future. Further, if we invest a greater amount of assets in equity securities that do not pay current dividends, the amount available for distribution could be reduced.
On an annual basis, we must determine the extent to which any distributions we made were paid out of current or accumulated earnings, recognized capital gains or capital. Distributions that represent a return of capital (which is the return of your original investment in us, after subtracting sales load, fees and expenses directly or indirectly paid by you) rather than a distribution from earnings or profits, reduce your basis in our stock for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which may result in higher tax liability when the shares are sold, even if they have not increased in value or have lost value.
The trading price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially and the liquidity of our common stock may be limited, in each case depending on many factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance. These factors include the following:
|||actual or anticipated changes in our earnings or fluctuations in our operating results;|
|||changes in the value of our portfolio of investments;|
|||price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market or in the market for BDCs from time to time;|
|||investor demand for our shares of common stock;|
|||significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of registered closed-end management investment companies, BDCs or other financial services companies;|
|||our inability to raise capital, borrow money or deploy or invest our capital;|
|||fluctuations in interest rates;|
|||any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by investors or securities analysts;|
|||operating performance of companies comparable to us;|
|||changes in regulatory policies or tax guidelines with respect to RICs or BDCs;|
|||losing RIC status;|
|||general economic conditions, trends and other external factors;|
|||departures of key personnel; or|
|||loss of a major source of funding.|
We or our Advisor could become the target of securities class action litigation or other similar claims if our stock price fluctuates significantly or for other reasons. The outcome of any such proceedings could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and/or operating results and could continue
without resolution for long periods of time. Any litigation or other similar claims could consume substantial amounts of our managements time and attention, and that time and attention and the devotion of associated resources could, at times, be disproportionate to the amounts at stake. Litigation and other claims are subject to inherent uncertainties, and a material adverse impact on our financial statements could occur for the period in which the effect of an unfavorable final outcome in litigation or other similar claims becomes probable and reasonably estimable. In addition, we could incur expenses associated with defending ourselves against litigation and other similar claims, and these expenses could be material to our earnings in future periods.
We cannot predict the price at which our common stock will trade. Shares of closed-end investment companies, including BDCs, frequently trade at a discount to their NAV and our stock may also be discounted in the market. This characteristic of closed-end investment companies is separate and distinct from the risk that our NAV per share may decline. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our NAV. In addition, if our common stock trades below its NAV, we will generally not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval of our stockholders and our independent directors.
We currently invest a portion of our capital in cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities, money market funds and other high-quality short-term investments. These securities may earn yields substantially lower than the income that we anticipate receiving once these proceeds are fully invested in accordance with our investment objective.
The investments we make in accordance with our investment objective may result in a higher amount of risk, volatility or loss of principal than alternative investment options. Our investments in portfolio companies may be highly speculative and aggressive, and therefore, an investment in our common stock may not be suitable for investors with lower risk tolerance.
We have significant flexibility in investing the net proceeds of an offering, although such flexibility does not extend to investing in a manner inconsistent with our investment strategy, and we may invest the net proceeds from an offering in ways with which you may not agree or in investments other than those contemplated at the time of the offering.
We estimate that it will take up to 6 months for us to substantially invest the net proceeds of any offering made pursuant to this prospectus, depending on the availability of attractive opportunities and market conditions. However, we can offer no assurances that we will be able to achieve this goal. Pending such use, we will invest the remaining net proceeds of this offering primarily in cash, cash equivalents, U.S. Government securities and high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less from the date of investment. These temporary investments may have lower yields than our other investments and may result in lower distributions, if any, during such period. See Regulation Temporary investments for additional information about temporary investments we may make while waiting to make longer-term investments in pursuit of our investment objective.
The DGCL, our certificate of incorporation and our bylaws contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging a third party from making an acquisition proposal for us. Among other things, our certificate of incorporation and bylaws:
|||provide for a classified board of directors, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our Board;|
|||authorize the issuance of blank check preferred stock that could be issued by our Board to thwart a takeover attempt;|
|||do not provide for cumulative voting;|
|||provide that vacancies on the Board, including newly created directorships, may be filled only by a majority vote of directors then in office;|
|||limit the calling of special meetings of stockholders;|
|||provide that our directors may be removed only for cause;|
|||require supermajority voting to effect certain amendments to our certificate of incorporation and our bylaws; and|
|||require stockholders to provide advance notice of new business proposals and director nominations under specific procedures.|
These anti-takeover provisions may inhibit a change in control in circumstances that could give the holders of our common stock the opportunity to realize a premium over the market price of our common stock. It is a default under our Key Facility if (i) a person or group of persons (within the meaning of the Exchange Act) acquires beneficial ownership of 20% or more of our issued and outstanding common stock or (ii) during any twelve-month period, individuals who at the beginning of such period constituted our Board cease for any reason, other than death or disability, to constitute a majority of the directors in office. If either event were to occur, Key could accelerate our repayment obligations under, and/or terminate, our Key Facility.
The 1940 Act requires that holders of shares of preferred stock must be entitled as a class to elect two directors at all times and to elect a majority of the directors if distributions on such preferred stock are in arrears by two years or more, until such arrearage is eliminated. In addition, certain matters under the 1940 Act require the separate vote of the holders of any issued and outstanding preferred stock, including changes in fundamental investment restrictions and conversion to open-end status and, accordingly, preferred stockholders could veto any such changes. Restrictions imposed on the declarations and payment of distributions to the holders of our common stock and preferred stock, both by the 1940 Act and by requirements imposed by rating agencies, might impair our ability to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.
In the event we issue subscription rights, stockholders who do not fully exercise their rights should expect that they will, at the completion of a rights offering, own a smaller proportional interest in us than would otherwise be the case if they fully exercised their rights. Such dilution is not currently determinable because it is not known what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering. Any such dilution will disproportionately affect nonexercising stockholders. If the subscription price per share is substantially less than the current NAV per share, this dilution could be substantial.
In addition, if the subscription price is less than our NAV per share, our stockholders would experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate NAV of their shares as a result of such rights offering. The amount of any decrease in NAV is not predictable because it is not known at this time what the subscription price and NAV per share will be on the expiration date of the rights offering or what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering. Such dilution could be substantial.
If the public offering price for any offering of shares of our common stock is higher than the book value per share of our outstanding common stock, investors purchasing shares of common stock in any offering will pay a price per share that exceeds the tangible book value per share after such offering.
The issuance or sale by us of shares of our common stock at a discount to NAV poses a risk of dilution to our current stockholders. In particular, stockholders who do not purchase additional shares at or below the discounted price in proportion to their current ownership will experience an immediate decrease in NAV per share (as well as in the aggregate NAV of their shares if they do not participate at all). These stockholders will also experience a disproportionately greater decrease in their participation in our earnings and assets and their voting power than the increase we experience in our assets, potential earning power and voting interests from such issuance or sale. In addition, such sales may adversely affect the price at which our common stock trades.
All distributions payable to stockholders that are participants in the DRIP are automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. As a result, stockholders that do not participate in the DRIP will experience dilution in their ownership interest over time.
Upon issuance, any publicly issued debt securities that we may issue will not have an established trading market. We cannot assure you that a trading market for our publicly issued debt securities will ever develop or, if developed, will be maintained. In addition to our creditworthiness, many factors may materially adversely affect the trading market for, and market value of, our publicly issued debt securities. These factors include:
|||the time remaining to the maturity of these debt securities;|
|||the outstanding principal amount of debt securities with terms identical to these debt securities;|
|||the supply of debt securities trading in the secondary market, if any;|
|||the redemption or repayment features, if any, of these debt securities;|
|||the level, direction and volatility of market interest rates generally; and|
|||market rate of interest higher or lower than the rate borne by the debt securities.|
You should also be aware that there may be a limited number of buyers when you decide to sell your debt securities. This too may materially adversely affect the market value of the debt securities or the trading market for the debt securities.
If we issue debt securities that are redeemable at our option, we may choose to redeem the debt securities at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on the debt securities. In addition, if such debt securities are subject to mandatory redemption, we may be required to redeem the debt securities at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on the debt securities. In this circumstance, you may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as your debt securities being redeemed.
Credit ratings provided by third party credit rating agencies are an assessment by third parties of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of debt securities that we may issue. Credit ratings provided by third party credit rating agencies, however, may not reflect the potential impact of risks related to market conditions generally or other factors discussed above on the market value of or trading market for any publicly issued debt securities that we may issue.
Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or the availability of such common stock for sale, whether or not actually sold, could adversely affect the prevailing market price of our common stock. If this occurs and continues, it could impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of equity securities should we desire to do so.
In addition to factors previously identified elsewhere in this prospectus, including the Risk Factors section of this prospectus, the following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements or historical performance:
|||our future operating results, including the performance of our existing debt investments and warrants;|
|||the introduction, withdrawal, success and timing of business initiatives and strategies;|
|||changes in political, economic or industry conditions, the interest rate environment or financial and capital markets, which could result in changes in the value of our assets;|
|||the relative and absolute investment performance and operations of our Advisor;|
|||the impact of increased competition;|
|||the impact of investments we intend to make and future acquisitions and divestitures;|
|||the unfavorable resolution of legal proceedings;|
|||our business prospects and the prospects of our portfolio companies;|
|||the impact, extent and timing of technological changes and the adequacy of intellectual property protection;|
|||our regulatory structure and tax status;|
|||our ability to qualify and maintain qualification as a RIC and as a BDC;|
|||the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital;|
|||the timing of cash flows, if any, from the operations of our portfolio companies;|
|||the impact of interest rate volatility on our results, particularly if we use leverage as part of our investment strategy;|
|||the ability of our portfolio companies to achieve their objective;|
|||the impact of legislative and regulatory actions and reforms and regulatory supervisory or enforcement actions of government agencies relating to us or our Advisor;|
|||our contractual arrangements and relationships with third parties;|
|||our ability to access capital and any future financings by us;|
|||the ability of our Advisor to attract and retain highly talented professionals; and|
|||the impact of changes to tax legislation and, generally, our tax position.|
This prospectus, and other statements that we may make, may contain forward-looking statements with respect to future financial or business performance, strategies or expectations. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words or phrases such as trend, opportunity, pipeline, believe, comfortable, expect, anticipate, current, intention, estimate, position, assume, plan, potential, project, outlook, continue, remain, maintain, sustain, seek, achieve and similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as will, would, should, could, may or similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, which change over time. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we assume no duty to and do not undertake to update forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements do not meet the safe harbor for forward-looking statements pursuant to Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, or Section 21E of the Exchange Act. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements and future results could differ materially from historical performance.
Unless otherwise specified in any prospectus supplement accompanying this prospectus, we intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of our securities for investment in portfolio companies in accordance with our investment objective and strategies as described in this prospectus and for working capital and general corporate purposes. We may also use a portion of the net proceeds from the sale of our securities to repay amounts outstanding under the Key Facility, which bore an annual interest rate of 4.03% (i.e., one-month London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, plus 3.25% per annum, with a LIBOR floor of 0.75%) as of March 31, 2017. We may request advances under the Key Facility until August 12, 2018 and all oustanding advances are due and payable on August 12, 2020. The supplement to this prospectus relating to an offering will more fully identify the use of proceeds from such offering. We estimate that it will take up to six months for us to substantially invest the net proceeds of any offering made pursuant to this prospectus, depending on the availability of attractive opportunities and market conditions. However, we can offer no assurances that we will be able to achieve this goal.
Pending such use, we will invest the remaining net proceeds of this offering primarily in cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less from the date of investment. These temporary investments may have lower yields than our other investments and, accordingly, may result in lower distributions, if any, during such period. See Regulation Temporary investments for additional information about temporary investments we may make while waiting to make longer-term investments in pursuit of our investment objective. We will not receive any proceeds from the resale of our common stock by the selling stockholder.
Our common stock is traded on NASDAQ, under the symbol HRZN. The following table sets forth, for each fiscal quarter since January 1, 2015, the range of high and low closing sales price of our common stock, the premium or discount of the closing sales price to our NAV and the distributions declared per share by us.
|Closing Sales Price||Premium/
|Year ended December 31, 2017
|First Quarter||$||12.11||$||11.67||$||10.03||(4) %||(17) %||$||0.30||(6)|
|Year ended December 31, 2016
|Fourth Quarter||$||12.09||$||13.74||$||9.83||14 %||(19) %||$||0.30|
|Third Quarter||$||12.44||$||13.86||$||12.43||11 %|| %||$||0.345|
|Second Quarter||$||13.27||$||12.20||$||11.23||(8) %||(15) %||$||0.345|
|First Quarter||$||13.62||$||12.02||$||9.42||(12) %||(31) %||$||0.345|
|Year ended December 31, 2015
|Fourth Quarter||$||13.85||$||12.41||$||9.32||(10) %||(33) %||$||0.345|
|Third Quarter||$||13.94||$||12.67||$||9.05||(9) %||(35) %||$||0.345|
|Second Quarter||$||13.99||$||14.36||$||12.56||3 %||(10) %||$||0.345|
|First Quarter||$||14.19||$||14.39||$||13.61||1 %||(4) %||$||0.345|
|(1)||NAV per share is determined as of the last day in the relevant quarter and therefore may not reflect the NAV per share on the date of the high and low sales prices. The NAVs shown are based on outstanding shares at the end of each period.|
|(2)||Calculated as of the respective high or low closing sales price divided by the quarter end NAV.|
|(3)||We have adopted an opt out DRIP for our common stockholders. As a result, if we declare a distribution, then stockholders cash distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock, unless they specifically opt out of the DRIP so as to receive cash distributions.|
|(4)||Through May 30, 2017.|
|(5)||$0.10 of which is payable on each of July 14, 2017, August 15, 2017 and September 15, 2017.|
|(6)||$0.10 of which is payable on June 15, 2017.|
|*||Not yet determined at the time of filing.|
The last reported price for our common stock on May 30, 2017 was 11.03 per share. Our NAV per share on March 31, 2017 (the last date prior to the date of this prospectus on which we determined NAV) was $12.11. The closing sales price of our shares on NASDAQ on that date was $11.13, which represented a 8% discount to NAV per share. As of May 30, 2017 we had 11 stockholders of record, which did not include stockholders for whom shares are held in nominee or street name.
Shares of BDCs may trade at a market price that is less than the NAV that is attributable to those shares. The possibility that our shares of common stock will trade at a discount from NAV or at a premium that is unsustainable over the long term is separate and distinct from the risk that our NAV will decrease. It is not possible to predict whether our shares will trade at, above or below NAV in the future.
On April 27, 2017, our Board extended a previously authorized share repurchase plan which allows us to repurchase up to $5.0 million of our outstanding common stock. Unless extended by our Board, the repurchase program will expire on the earlier of June 30, 2018 and the repurchase of $5.0 million of common stock. The following table provides information regarding our purchases of our common stock for each quarter since the announcement of the share repurchase plan through the quarter ended March 31, 2017:
Paid per Share
Part of Publicly
Dollar Value of
Shares that May
the Plans or
|(In thousands, except share and per share data)|
|October 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015||113,382||$||11.53||113,382||$||3,693|
|January 1, 2016 through March 31, 2016||||$||||||$||3,693|
|April 1, 2016 through June 30, 2016||||$||||||$||3,693|
|July 1, 2016 through September 30, 2016||1,319||$||11.54||1,319||$||3,678|
|October 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016||46,841||$||10.63||46,841||$||3,180|
|January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017||||$||||||$||3,180|
Any shares repurchased by us may have the effect of maintaining the market price of our common stock or retarding a decline in the market price of the common stock, and, as a result, the price of our common stock may be higher than the price that otherwise might exist in the open market. In addition, as any shares repurchased pursuant to the share repurchase plan will be purchased at a price below the net asset value per share as reported in our most recent financial statements, share repurchases may have the effect of increasing our net asset value per share.
We intend to continue making monthly distributions to our stockholders. The timing and amount of our monthly distributions, if any, is determined by our Board. Any distributions to our stockholders are declared out of assets legally available for distribution. We monitor available net investment income to determine if a tax return of capital may occur for the fiscal year. To the extent our taxable earnings fall below the total amount of our distributions for any given fiscal year, a portion of those distributions may be considered a return of capital to our common stockholders for U.S. federal income tax purpose. Thus, the source of distribution to our stockholders may be the original capital invested by the stockholder rather than our income or gains. Stockholders should read any written disclosure accompanying a distribution payment carefully and should not assume that the source of any distribution is our ordinary income or gains.
In order to qualify to be subject to tax as a RIC, we must meet certain source-of-income, asset diversification and annual distribution requirements. Generally, in order to qualify as a RIC, we must derive at least 90% of our gross income during each tax year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities, loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income derived with respect to our business of investing in stock or other securities. We must also meet certain asset diversification requirements at the end of each quarter of each tax year. Failure to meet these diversification requirements on the last day of a quarter may result in us having to dispose of certain investments quickly in order to prevent the loss of RIC status. Any such dispositions could be made at disadvantageous prices or times, and may cause us to incur substantial losses.
In addition, in order to be eligible for the special tax treatment accorded to RICs and to avoid the imposition of corporate level tax on the income and gains we distribute to our stockholders, each tax year we are required under the Code to distribute as dividends of an amount generally at least 90% of our investment company taxable income, determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid to our stockholders. We refer to such amount as the Annual Distribution Requirement. Additionally, we must distribute, in respect of each calendar year, dividends of an amount generally at least equal to the sum of 98% of our calendar year
net ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections); 98.2% of our capital gain net income (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for the one year period ending on October 31 of such calendar year; and any net ordinary income or capital gain net income for preceding years that was not distributed during such years and on which we previously did not incur any U.S. federal income tax in order to avoid the imposition of a 4% U.S. federal excise tax. If we fail to qualify as a RIC for any reason and become subject to corporate income tax, the resulting corporate income taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution and the amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us and our stockholders. In addition, we could be required to recognize unrealized gains, incur substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions in order to re-qualify as a RIC. We cannot assure stockholders that they will receive any distributions.
Depending on the level of taxable income earned in a tax year, we may choose to carry forward taxable income in excess of current year distributions into the next tax year and pay a 4% U.S. federal excise tax on such undistributed income. Distributions of any such carryover taxable income must be made through a distribution declared as of the earlier of the filing date of the corporate income tax return related to the tax year in which such taxable income was generated or the 15th day of the ninth month following the end of such tax year, in order to count towards the satisfaction of the Annual Distribution Requirement for the tax year in which such taxable income was generated. We can offer no assurance that we will achieve results that will permit the payment of any cash distributions and, if we issue senior securities, we may be prohibited from making distributions if doing so causes us to fail to maintain the asset coverage stipulated by the 1940 Act or if distributions are limited by the terms of any of our borrowings. See Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations.
We have adopted an opt out DRIP for our common stockholders. As a result, if we make a distribution, then stockholders cash distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock, unless they specifically opt out of the DRIP. If a stockholder opts out, that stockholder receives cash distributions. Although distributions paid in the form of additional shares of common stock are generally subject to U.S. federal, state and local taxes, stockholders participating in our DRIP do not receive any corresponding cash distributions with which to pay any such applicable taxes. We may use newly issued shares to implement the DRIP, or we may purchase shares in the open market in connection with our obligations under the DRIP.
For the three months ended March 31, 2017 and the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012, our ratios of earnings to fixed charges, computed as set forth below, were as follows:
|For the Three Months Ended March 31,||For the Year Ended December 31,|
|Earnings to Fixed Charges(1)||1.9||0.1||3.1||2.8||1.5||2.0|
For purposes of computing the ratios of earnings to fixed charges, earnings represent net increase in net assets resulting from operations plus (or minus) income tax expense (benefit) including excise tax expense and fixed charges. Fixed charges include interest expense, which includes amortization of debt issuance costs and non-use fees.
|(1)||Earnings include net realized and unrealized gains or losses. Net realized and unrealized gains or losses can vary substantially from period to period.|
Excluding the net unrealized gains or losses, the earnings to fixed charges ratio would be (5.3) for the three months ended March 31, 2017, 2.6 for the year ended December 31, 2016, 3.1 for the year ended December 31, 2015, 1.8 for the year ended December 31, 2014, 1.7 for the year ended December 31, 2013 and 3.9 for the year ended December 31, 2012.
Excluding the net realized and unrealized gains or losses, the earnings to fixed charges ratio would be 1.7 for the three months ended March 31, 2017, 3.9 for the year ended December 31, 2016, 3.4 for the year ended December 31, 2015, 2.2 for the year ended December 31, 2014, 2.7 for the year ended December 31, 2013, and 3.9 for the year ended December 31, 2012.
The information contained in this section should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. Amounts are stated in thousands, except shares and per share data and where otherwise noted.
We are a specialty finance company that lends to and invests in development-stage companies in our Target Industries. Our investment objective is to maximize our investment portfolios total return by generating current income from the debt investments we make and capital appreciation from the warrants we receive when making such debt investments. We are focused on making Venture Loans to venture capital backed companies in our Target Industries. We also selectively provide Venture Loans to publicly traded companies in our Target Industries. Our debt investments are typically Senior Term Loans. As of March 31, 2017, 98.8%, or $164.1 million, of our debt investment portfolio at fair value consisted of Senior Term Loans. Venture Lending is typically characterized by (1) the making of a secured debt investment after a venture capital or equity investment in the portfolio company has been made, which investment provides a source of cash to fund the portfolio companys debt service obligations under the Venture Loan, (2) the senior priority of the Venture Loan which requires repayment of the Venture Loan prior to the equity investors realizing a return on their capital, (3) the relatively rapid amortization of the Venture Loan and (4) the lenders receipt of warrants or other success fees with the making of the Venture Loan.
We are an externally managed, closed-end, non-diversified management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a BDC under the 1940 Act. In addition, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we have elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M the Code. As a BDC, we are required to comply with regulatory requirements, including limitations on our use of debt. We are permitted to, and expect to, finance our investments through borrowings. However, as a BDC, we are only generally allowed to borrow amounts such that our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% after such borrowing. The amount of leverage that we employ depends on our assessment of market conditions and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing. As a RIC, we generally are not subject to corporate-level income taxes on our investment company taxable income and our net capital gain that we distribute as dividends to our stockholders as long as we meet certain source-of-income, distribution, asset diversification and other requirements.
Compass Horizon Funding Company LLC, our predecessor company, commenced operations in March 2008. We were formed in March 2010 for the purpose of acquiring Compass Horizon and continuing its business as a public entity.
Our investment activities, and our day-to-day operations, are managed by our Advisor and supervised by the Board, of which a majority of the members are independent of us. Under the Investment Management Agreement, we have agreed to pay our Advisor a base management fee and an incentive fee for its advisory services to us. We have also entered into the Administration Agreement, with our Advisor under which we have agreed to reimburse our Advisor for our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by our Advisor in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement.
The following table shows our portfolio by type of investment as of March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 and 2015:
|March 31, 2017||December 31, 2016||December 31, 2015|
|(Dollars in thousands)|
The following table shows total portfolio investment activity as of and for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015:
|For the Three
|New debt investments||25,916||59,858||123,281|
|Principal received on investments||(11,891||)||(49,403||)||(27,016||)|
|Accretion of debt investment fees||505||1,562||1,350|
|New debt investment fees||(270||)||(931||)||(1,147||)|
|Sale of investments||(1,226||)||(984||)||(1,669||)|
|Net realized loss on investments||(10,845||)||(7,696||)||(1,620||)|
|Net unrealized appreciation (depreciation) on investments||11,131||(12,397||)||(490||)|
We receive payments on our debt investments based on scheduled amortization of the outstanding balances. In addition, we receive repayments of some of our debt investments prior to their scheduled maturity date. The frequency or volume of these repayments may fluctuate significantly from period to period.
The following table shows our debt investments by industry sector as of March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 and 2015:
|March 31, 2017||December 31, 2016||December 31, 2015|
at Fair Value
at Fair Value
at Fair Value
|(Dollars in thousands)|
|Internet and Media||23,075||13.9||7,933||4.2|||||
|Healthcare Information and Services
The largest debt investments in our portfolio may vary from year to year as new debt investments are originated and existing debt investments are repaid. Our five largest debt investments represented 29%, 24% and 21% of total debt investments outstanding as of March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. No single debt investment represented more than 10% of our total debt investments as of March 31, 2017 or December 31, 2016 and 2015.
We use an internal credit rating system which rates each debt investment on a scale of 4 to 1, with 4 being the highest credit quality rating and 3 being the rating for a standard level of risk. A rating of 2 represents an increased level of risk and, while no loss is currently anticipated for a 2-rated debt investment, there is potential for future loss of principal. A rating of 1 represents a deteriorating credit quality and a high degree of risk of loss of principal. Our internal credit rating system is not a national credit rating system. As of March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 and 2015, our debt investments had a weighted average credit rating of 3.0. The following table shows the classification of our debt investment portfolio by credit rating as of March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 and 2015:
|March 31, 2017||December 31, 2016||December 31, 2015|
at Fair Value
at Fair Value
at Fair Value
|(Dollars in thousands)|