One more investing idea to close out the year. And for the first time on this blog, it’s a fixed income security. Central Parking Finance Trust Convertible Preferred Securities offer a very attractive current yield and yield to maturity, plus a valuable embedded put option.
The Central Parking Finance Trust was created in 1998 to invest in junior subordinated deferrable interest convertible debentures issued by Central Parking Corporation. Despite the complicated title, these were essentially just convertible bonds with a provision for temporarily postponing interest payments if necessary. The bonds had a maturity of April 1, 2028, and were convertible into common shares of Central Parking Corporation at 0.4545 shares per $25 par value bond. To finance the purchase of this bond issue, the trust issued convertible preferred securities with substantially identical terms. These preferreds trade over-the-counter with the ticker CRLKP.
CRLKP’s current bid/ask is $19.40/$19.75. Yield-to-maturity in 2028 is a juicy 8.2%. The current yield is 6.8%, adjusting for accrued dividends. Looks like a nice rate of return. But then again, yield never exists in a vacuum. Long-term fixed income securities offer multiple ways to lose. Rising interest rates and widening credit spreads can create a lot of tears for yield-chasing investors.
However, remember the convertible part of these securities’ title? Well, Central Parking Corporation was acquired by a consortium of private equity firms lead by KKR in 2007. As a result of the transaction, the conversion rights of the trust preferred securities were canceled. From the time of the transaction until their maturity in 2028, holders instead have the ability to redeem their shares at any time for $19.18 per share. Currently, these units are the ultimate liability of SP Plus Corporation, which acquired Central Parking from its private equity owners in 2012.
This is a put option, and it dramatically decreases the risk of holding CRLKP. Interest rate risk is all but eliminated. Even a dramatic rise in yields across the curve would produce a maximum loss of 2%, the difference between CRLKP’s current price and the put strike of $19.18. Credit risk is greatly reduced, because holders can effectively choose their own maturity and put the securities back to the company at any time should SP Plus’ financial ratios begin to deteriorate.
If there’s a downside to these securities, it is definitely their illiquidity. By my calculation, only about 60,000 of these securities remain outstanding following years of redemptions by holders. Additionally, SP Plus has been in the market buying CRLKP back. SP Plus’ cost of debt is only around 4.7%, so naturally they are eager to retire these expensive securities. Anyone purchasing these securities should view the investment as long-term.
Alluvial Capital Management, LLC does not hold shares of Central Parking Finance Trust for client accounts. Alluvial may buy or sell shares of Central Parking Finance Trust at any time.
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