Nearly every company in every industry is focusing on business survival. As business operations start to stabilize, many companies are looking hard at their balance sheets to decide whether they need deeper cyclical buffers through additional equity, or should shift their debt away from banks to bonds, or prepare speedy disposals of non-core operations – or, get ready to take advantage of the new opportunities.
In the 2008 financial crisis, banks which were the first to tap the market, did so at relatively attractive pricing, and got the attention of high-quality investors looking to quickly put money to work. Those that waited weren’t so fortunate.
In the context of the Race to Recapitalise, any company that believes it might need to tap the markets, should prepare as quickly as possible. It’s even possible that companies taking the additional time granted by the regulators to gain certainty, ultimately puts them in a worse position. To use an early quote given by Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director at the World Health Organization, “The biggest mistake is to not take action” – a sentiment that could apply to all companies wanting to emerge as winners from the crisis.
A major global crisis is an opportunity to announce overdue clean-up transactions, perhaps even resetting the company’s narrative to the market. Whether this is their M&A intentions, moving a primary listing, amending the guidance on capital structure or the entire business model, or dividends – all of these can be addressed if they complement the company’s new statements on its operations and earnings, and given that ESG portfolios have so far seemed less impacted than others, a company that is quick to market could be viewed even more favourably if it can already demonstrate actions to support customers, suppliers and employees.