What does Brittany Spears, Snow White and MBIA have in Common?

By: Reggie Middleton | Thu, Dec 13, 2007
Print Email

This is part one of a two part response to comments and questions on the recent events concerning the Ambac and MBIA. The second part will be a forensic marking to market of Ambac's portfolio based upon the recent E*Trade sale. Required reading for this article includes:

  1. A Super Scary Halloween Tale of 104 Basis Points Pt I & II, by Reggie Middleton.
  2. Ambac is Effectively Insolvent & Will See More than $8 Billion of Losses with Just a $2.26 Billion Market Cap
  3. Follow up to the Ambac Analysis
  4. Monolines swoon, CDOs go boom & I really wonder why the ratings agencies are given any credibility
  5. Bill Ackman of Pershing Square - How to save the Monolines

Note: this came directly from one of my analysts, who seems to have been infected by my smart ass writing style :-)

MBIA - The company mentioned that "fair value" of their portfolio dropped by $850 million in the one month between September 30 and October 30, 2007. That speaks volumes. As far as equity infusion is concerned, MBIA is merely replacing the capital they have already lost. This may sound simplistic, but this is how it is. The caveat is, they are replacing it by diluting their current shareholders. Thus, those who did not do the math have bid the share price up, instead of down. Given the significant amount of exposure that the company has (MBIA has about $84 billion in residential ABS and CDO exposure), $1 billion of capital infusion at this point may not be sufficient; though it may keep off the immediate rating downgrade concern. The company has also mentioned that they're setting aside $800 million to cover estimated losses on residential mortgage-backed securities in the fourth quarter. This will further impact its bottom line.

Regarding Warburg's investment, although there is not much data available at this point to comment on the additional $500 million commitment based on the current share price or the approximate market price in the first quarter, I read an analyst quoting that based on an option-pricing model, the value of Warburg's warrants range from $3.14 to $6.55 a share which means that Warburg effectively paid less than $28 a share for the stock based on a conservative valuation of the warrants, or as low as $24.45 based on more aggressive estimates (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119730169419019425.html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo). Yet, again, the mathematically challenged bid the price up and above what Warburg was willing to pay.

When it comes to rating agencies "review", I liked what Jonathan Weil said a couple of days back: If MBIA Is AAA, Britney Spears is Snow White J (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aFwZKa2jzPfQ). Last week, credit- default swaps tied to MBIA Insurance Corp.'s bonds were 193 basis points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In other words, it cost about $193,000 to buy a contract protecting $10 million of bonds from default for five years. That implies about a 15% probability of default - for a company rated AAA. Keep in mind that the US treasuries are a AAA benchmark. Compare and contrast!

However, if MBIA (and other bond insurers such as Ambac, Radian, etc.) are able to raise capital to keep up with the losses, and, as the company talked about reviewing its capital management policies, writing more business and resorting to reinsurance, it is likely that the rating agencies may not downgrade the AAA rating. We still don't think the company will fare well with the potential losses coming down the pike, regardless of the rating agencies say.

2) Ambac - As highlighted in the valuation, we were conservative regarding the defaults in the company's consumer finance portfolio since our emphasis was more on the Subprime RMBS and the Structured Finance portfolios. The potential losses in Ambac's auto receivables portfolio, after subordination, ranges from $675 million to $2.5 billion, in different scenarios. In the base case, we estimate default rates in Ambac's Auto Receivables portfolio as 11% which indicates total losses of $1.3 billion. However, like mentioned in the comment below, potential losses could be significantly more than our estimates. A spreadsheet with a full evaluation of this auto portfolio, losses and loss projections are available for premium subscribers.

 


 

Reggie Middleton

Author: Reggie Middleton

Reggie Middleton
Reggie Middleton, LLC
Perpetual Interests, LLCTM
http://boombustblog.com/

Reggie Middleton

Who am I?

Well, I fancy myself the personification of the free thinking maverick, the ultimate non-conformist as it applies to investment and analysis. I am definitively outside the box - not your typical or stereotypical Wall Street investor. I work out of my home, not a Manhattan office. I build my own technology and perform my own research - in lieu of buying it or following the crowd. I create and follow my own macro strategies and am by definition, a contrarian to the nth degree.

Since I use my research as a tool for my own investing to actually put food on my table, I can stand behind it as doing what it is supposed too - educate, illustrate and elucidate. I do not sell advice, I am not a reporter hence do not sell stories, and I do not sell research. I am an entrepreneur who exists just outside of mainstream corporate America and Wall Street. This allows me freedom to do things that many can not. For instance, I pride myself on developing some of the highest quality research available, regardless of price. No conflicts of interest, no corporate politics, no special favors. Just the hard truth as I have found it - and believe me, my team and I do find it! I welcome any and all to peruse my blog, use my custom hacked collaborative social tools, read the articles, download the files, and make a critical comparison of the opinion referencing the situation at hand and the time stamp on the blog post to the reality both at the time of the post and the present. Hopefully, you will be as impressed with the Boom Bust as I am and our constituency.

I pay for significant information and data, and am well aware of the value of quality research. I find most currently available research lacking, in both quality and quantity. The reason why I had to create my own research staff was due to my dissatisfaction with what was currently available - to both individuals and institutions.

So here I am, creating my own research for my own investment activity. What really sets my actions apart is that I offer much of what I produce to the public without charge - free to distribute and redistribute, as long as it is left unaltered and full attribution is given to the author and owner. Why would I do such a thing when others easily charge 5 and 6 digits annually for what some may consider a lesser product? It is akin to open source analysis! My ideas and implementations are actually improved and fine tuned when bounced off of the collective intellect of the many, in lieu of that of the few - no matter how smart those few may believe themselves to be.

Very recently, I have started charging for the forensics portion of my work, which has freed up the resources to develop the site to deliver even more research for free, particularly on the global macro and opinion front. This move has allowed me to serve an more diverse constituency, which now includes the institutional consumer (ie., investment turned consumer banks, hedge funds, pensions, etc,) as well as the newbie individual investor who is just getting started - basically the two polar opposites of the investing spectrum. I am proud to announce major banks as paying clients, and brand new investors who take my book recommendations and opinions on true wealth and success to heart.

So, this is how I use my background and knowledge in new media, distributed computing, risk management, insurance, financial engineering, real estate, corporate valuation and financial analysis to pursue, analyze and capitalize on global macroeconomic opportunities. I have included a more in depth bio at the bottom of the page for those who really, really need to know more about me.

Visit his blog Boom Bust Blog.

Copyright © 2007-2012 Reggie Middleton

All Images, XHTML Renderings, and Source Code Copyright © Safehaven.com

SEARCH





TRUE MONEY SUPPLY

Source: The Contrarian Take http://blogs.forbes.com/michaelpollaro/
austrian-money-supply/