Number of ‘weakest link’ portfolio companies drops sharply

The latest iteration of the S&P “weakest links” report from April 2 totaled 157 companies globally, both sponsored and non-sponsored. The list in its entirety has an affected debt of just over $222 billion.

The 19 companies that were identified as private equity-backed had a combined debt totaling about $82 billion. While the number of “distressed” portfolio companies hovered around the quarterly average of the past four years, the $82 billion in debt volume is the highest since August of 2011 when it reached nearly $135 billion. The beleaguered oil and gas sector is giving sponsors the most trouble, with five portfolio companies in that sector appearing on the list.