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Fitch Learning

Advanced Corporate Credit - Warning Signals

Oct 21—23, 2019
3 days
London, United Kingdom
GBP 2895 ≈USD 3620
GBP 965 per day
Nov 4—6, 2019
3 days
Frankfurt, Germany
EUR 3595 ≈USD 4001
EUR 1198 per day
Dec 2—4, 2019
3 days
Hong Kong
USD 3895
USD 1298 per day
+2 more options

How it works


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The aim of this three-day course is to refine the analytic skills needed to identify the early warning signals of credit deterioration. It will also help participants to determine a company’s ability to improve performance or repair the existing capital structure. The workshop will draw upon lessons learned from the credit crisis to determine sustainable levels of indebtedness, the robustness of deal structures, and how best to respond to problems facing a corporate client. This course is highly interactive allowing participants to practice the key learning points on several case studies and exercises. Current trends in the market place will be examined to highlight any potential pockets of risk.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Uncover the early warning signs or red flags during the life span of the loan or bond: financial and non-financial and market indicators
  • Identify companies most susceptible to credit deterioration and the factors that will impact the likelihood of default or the need for distressed exchange of debt
  • Evaluate the options available to lenders or investors when signs of credit deterioration become apparent
  • Determine the strengths and weaknesses of an existing loan structure to improve loan structures going forward
  • Set the minimum level of transparency acceptable to make a responsible credit decision

Analytic Overview

Apply a structured approach to evaluate the credit standing of a company, specifically looking for signals of weakness or potential danger.

Causes of distress

  • Macro-economic forces and concerns surrounding current issues
  • Sector issues: Sectors most vulnerable to cyclicality, macroeconomic sensitivities and structural changes
  • Company specific factors: Why certain companies are more vulnerable than others to credit deterioration
  • Exercise: debrief of pre-read: participants come prepared with own examples of failed companies

Early Warning signals

  • Symptoms of a deteriorating credit: non-financial indicators, financial indicators and market indicators
  • Credit ratings; credit migration
  • Market pricing during turbulent times: bond, CDS and share prices

Structured analytic approach

  • Application of the four-step approach to credit to expose key early warning signals: Purpose, payback, risks and structure
  • Risks to repayment: current market conditions and their impact on risk
  • Exercise: identify possible purposes and sources of repayment

Themes of Distress

This section aims to identify the themes of distress. The action(s) taken by the companies and/or lenders are explored through discussion and many real-life examples of actual or potential distress. The focus is on concluding upon lessons learned to avoid future problems.

External Macro-economic and Sector indicators

  • Economic cyclicality in various markets and the potential disastrous effect on company performance
  • Vulnerability to foreign exchange movements and the effect of sudden fluctuations
  • Exposure to commodity price instability and the effect on profitability and cash flow
  • Disruptive events that can change the outlook for the sector
  • Emerging market risk and issues specific to small, young economies
  • Exercise: The impact of the economic cycle on a variety of sectors/the impact of changing commodity prices or FX rates

Challenged business models

  • Lack of sufficient scale in an increasing competitive environment; weak part of the supply chain; low added value
  • Excessive growth with inability to finance externally; timing of expansion
  • Higher operating leverage; inability to transfer increased costs
  • Dependency on a small numbers of customers and/or suppliers
  • Financially impaired customers, price competition, CAPEX requirements, reliance on other sectors in distress
  • Exercise: changing business models and identifying red flags

Management and ownership strategy and behaviour

  • Poor management decisions and risk management
  • Deficient financial disclosure or reporting
  • Complex group structures and cross shareholdings
  • Lack of corporate governance, control of executive management
  • Failing of succession planning, management style
  • Lack of integrity: behaviour, relationships, social responsibility
  • Inability of shareholder to support during turbulent times
  • Exercise: assessment management strength and weaknesses and shareholder structure/support

Illustration case study: identify early indicators of deteriorating performance in earnings, asset management and cash flow

Disproportionate leverage

  • Excessive leverage at the top of the economic cycle
  • Debt servicing capability: Anticipating the problem
  • New money needed to restructure or recapitalize
  • Hidden leverage: off balance sheet obligations
  • Exercise: hidden leverage and inappropriate funding structures

Poor loan structure and choice of financial instruments

  • Hybrid financial instruments or complex derivatives
  • Debt denominated in a 'hard currency' while domestic currency weakens
  • Illiquid debt instruments
  • Structural subordination
  • Exercise: anticipate refinancing problems
  • Illustration Case Study: review the financial structure and debt instrument(s)

Crossing the Threshold: Triggers for Action

This segment focuses on the most common events that trigger corporate distress and the need to act.

Cash shortfalls and liquidity problems

  • Define and assess liquidity
  • Quantify the degree of refinancing risk and the potential challenges and costs of raising new capital
  • Reliance on existing ‘committed’ bank facilities or cash as the sole source of liquidity

Covenant breaches

  • Characteristics of effective covenants
  • Financial vs. non-financial covenants: Ability to quantify and assess the degree of protection
  • Exercise: Identify alternatives when companies face refinancing problems

Final Group Case Study

The aim of the final group case study is to allow participants to apply the framework and tools of analysis to a company in the early stages of deteriorating performance.

Who should attend

As this is an advanced course, it is most suitable for analysts with two years practical experience, or for those with a strong familiarity of financial statements. It could also be useful for those in banking and finance who have a strong understanding of macroeconomic drivers. While there is a benefit for anyone in banking in taking this course, there should be a strong understanding of corporate financial statements.


Detailed Description
Detailed Description

Next dates

Oct 21—23, 2019
3 days
London, United Kingdom
GBP 2895 ≈USD 3620
GBP 965 per day
Nov 4—6, 2019
3 days
Frankfurt, Germany
EUR 3595 ≈USD 4001
EUR 1198 per day
Dec 2—4, 2019
3 days
Hong Kong
USD 3895
USD 1298 per day
+2 more options

How it works

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