Oaktree Specialty Lending Corporation’s Underperformance is Not a Reason to Disqualify The Stock

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Written By Elizabeth Monroe

Oaktree Specialty Lending Corporation has faced some headwinds recently, but the long-term outlook remains promising. The company, which specializes in the EVO ICL Lens, a clear vision solution for nearsightedness, has seen consistent growth in its market share and business operations.

Despite recent fluctuations, OCSL’s robust portfolio and strategic management decisions present a compelling case for continued investment.

Company Overview

Credits: DepositPhotos

OCSL’s portfolio is primarily composed of first lien investments, maintaining a conservative loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 40%. Unlike many business development companies (BDCs), OCSL has kept net investment volumes positive, steadily expanding its portfolio.

This creates favorable conditions for sustained growth in adjusted net investment income (NII). Additionally, the company boasts a strong leverage profile with no significant near-term debt maturities, ensuring stability in financing costs.

Recent Performance Analysis

The latest quarterly earnings report from OCSL provides insights into the company’s current challenges and strengths. The adjusted NII for Q2 2024 was $0.56 per share, slightly lower than the previous quarter’s $0.57 per share.

This decline was primarily due to a decrease in adjusted total investment income by $700,000, influenced by the timing of capital deployment and spread compression resulting from a rotation out of higher-yielding second liens.

Despite these challenges, OCSL has made significant strides in de-risking its portfolio. The exposure to second lien structures has decreased from 16% in September 2022 to 5% as of Q2 2024.

This strategic shift towards first lien investments, although resulting in a slight spread compression, enhances the overall stability and safety of the portfolio.

Portfolio Stability and Growth

During Q2 2024, OCSL reported no new non-accruals and successfully reduced the non-accrual level from 4.2% to 2.4%. This achievement underscores the company’s focus on maintaining a high-quality portfolio. Moreover, OCSL continues to exhibit positive momentum in net investment funding.

The company secured $396 million in new commitments, offsetting repayments of $323 million, leading to a net positive investment volume.

These new commitments were signed at a weighted average yield of 11.1%, slightly lower than the current portfolio yield but consistent with the company’s defensive investment strategy.

The median portfolio company EBITDA stood at approximately $134 million, with a leverage ratio of 5.2 times, well below the overall middle market leverage levels.

Leverage and Dividend Coverage

OCSL’s balance sheet remains robust, with an indebtedness level below the sector average (107% compared to the sector average of 115%). Despite portfolio growth, the leverage profile remained unchanged from the previous quarter due to funding new investments through retained cash generation and additional share issuance, which was accretive to existing shareholders.

While the current dividend coverage ratio appears thin at 102%, it is important to consider the temporary impact of previous non-accruals and the timing of new funding.

Additionally, the reduction in management fees, as highlighted by President Matt Pendo in the most recent earnings call, is expected to positively impact the adjusted NII and enhance dividend coverage.

OCSL: Well Positioned for Future Growth

Credits: DepositPhotos

OCSL’s strategic decisions and robust portfolio fundamentals position the company well for future growth. The temporary challenges faced in adjusted NII provide an opportunity for investors to enter at a potentially undervalued price point.

Given the company’s below-average leverage, de-risked portfolio, and strong leverage statistics of portfolio companies, Oaktree Specialty Lending Corporation remains good investment opportunity.


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