Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: AMBC) ("Ambac"), a financial services holding company, today announced that its newly formed special purpose entity, Sitka Holdings, LLC (“Sitka” or the “Issuer””), has launched a private offering, to eligible purchasers, of senior secured notes due 2026 (the “Sitka Senior Secured Notes”).
The Sitka Senior Secured Notes will be secured by all assets of Sitka, which include a secured note issued by Ambac Assurance Corporation (“AAC”) to Sitka (the “Ambac Note”). The Ambac Note will be secured by a pledge of AAC’s right, title and interest in (i) up to $1.4 billion of proceeds from certain litigations involving AAC related to residential mortgage-backed securities (the “RMBS Litigation”) and (ii) the capital stock of Ambac Assurance UK Limited (“Ambac UK”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of AAC. In addition, AAC will issue a financial guaranty insurance policy (the “Sitka Senior Secured Notes Policy”) to the trustee for the Sitka Senior Secured Notes for the benefit of the holders of the Sitka Senior Secured Notes irrevocably guaranteeing all regularly scheduled principal and interest payments in respect of the Sitka Senior Secured Notes as and when such payments become due and owing.
The proceeds from this offering, which are expected to be at least $1,162 million, will be used to fund a portion of the full redemption of approximately $1,625 million of outstanding Ambac LSNI, LLC LIBOR plus 5.00% Insured Secured Notes due 2023 (the “Tier 1 Notes”) and the secured note issued by AAC concurrent with the issuance of the Tier 1 Notes. The remaining balance of the Tier 1 notes will be redeemed utilizing other available sources of liquidity.
The Sitka Senior Secured Notes will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Sitka Senior Secured Notes will be offered only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers in an offering exempt from registration pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act that are also qualified purchasers within the meaning of Section 2(a)(51) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and to non-U.S. persons outside of the United States in compliance with Regulation S under the Securities Act. The Sitka Senior Secured Notes have not been registered under the Securities Act, or any state securities laws, and unless so registered, may not be offered or sold in the United States except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws. There can be no assurance that the proposed offering of Sitka Senior Secured Notes will be completed.
This press release is neither an offer to sell nor the solicitation of an offer to buy any of the Sitka Senior Secured Notes and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.
In this press release, statements that may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “estimate,” “project,” “plan,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “planned,” “potential” and similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “should,” “would,” “could,” and “may,” or the negative of those expressions or verbs, identify forward-looking statements. We caution readers that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our beliefs regarding future events, which may by their nature be inherently uncertain and some of which may be outside our control. These statements may relate to plans and objectives with respect to the future, among other things which may change. We are alerting you to the possibility that our actual results may differ, possibly materially, from the expected objectives or anticipated results that may be suggested, expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our results to differ, possibly materially, from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, those discussed under “Risk Factors”
Any or all of management’s forward-looking statements here or in other publications may turn out to be incorrect and are based on management’s current belief or opinions. AFG’s and its subsidiaries’ (“Ambac”) actual results may vary materially, and there are no guarantees about the performance of Ambac’s securities. Among events, risks, uncertainties or factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are: (1) the highly speculative nature of AFG’s common stock and volatility in the price of AFG’s common stock; (2) Ambac's inability to realize the expected recoveries, including RMBS litigation recoveries, included in its financial statements which would have a materially adverse effect on AAC’s financial condition and may lead to regulatory intervention; (3) failure to recover claims paid on Puerto Rico exposures or realization of losses in amounts higher than expected; (4) increases to loss and loss expense reserves; (5) inadequacy of reserves established for losses and loss expenses and possibility that changes in loss reserves may result in further volatility of earnings or financial results; (6) uncertainty concerning the Company’s ability to achieve value for holders of its securities, whether from AAC and its subsidiaries or from transactions or opportunities apart from AAC and its subsidiaries, including new business initiatives relating to the specialty property and casualty program insurance business, the managing general agency/underwriting business, or related businesses; (7) potential of rehabilitation proceedings against AAC; (8) increased fiscal stress experienced by issuers of public finance obligations or an increased incidence of Chapter 9 filings or other restructuring proceedings by public finance issuers, including an increased risk of loss on revenue bonds of distressed public finance issuers due to judicial decisions adverse to revenue bond holders; (9) our inability to mitigate or remediate losses, commute or reduce insured exposures or achieve recoveries or investment objectives, or the failure of any transaction intended to accomplish one or more of these objectives to deliver anticipated results; (10) insufficiency or unavailability of collateral to pay secured obligations; (11) credit risk throughout Ambac’s business, including but not limited to credit risk related to residential mortgage-backed securities, student loan and other asset securitizations, public finance obligations and exposures to reinsurers; (12) the impact of catastrophic environmental or natural events, including catastrophic public health events like the COVID-19 pandemic, on significant portions of our insured and investment portfolios; (13) credit risks related to large single risks, risk concentrations and correlated risks; (14) the risk that Ambac’s risk management policies and practices do not anticipate certain risks and/or the magnitude of potential for loss; (15) risks associated with adverse selection as Ambac’s insured portfolio runs off; (16) Ambac’s substantial indebtedness could adversely affect its financial condition and operating flexibility; (17) Ambac may not be able to obtain financing or raise capital on acceptable terms or at all due to its substantial indebtedness and financial condition; (18) Ambac may not be able to generate the significant amount of cash needed to service its debt and financial obligations, and may not be able to refinance its indebtedness; (19) restrictive covenants in agreements and instruments may impair Ambac’s ability to pursue or achieve its business strategies; (20) adverse effects on operating results or the Company’s financial position resulting from measures taken to reduce risks in its insured portfolio; (21) disagreements or disputes with Ambac's insurance regulators; (22) default by one or more of Ambac's portfolio investments, insured issuers or counterparties; (23) loss of control rights in transactions for which we provide insurance due to a finding that Ambac has defaulted; (24) adverse tax consequences or other costs resulting from the characterization of the AAC’s surplus notes or other obligations as equity; (25) risks attendant to the change in composition of securities in the Ambac’s investment portfolio; (26) adverse impacts from changes in prevailing interest rates; (27) our results of operation may be adversely affected by events or circumstances that result in the impairment of our intangible assets and/or goodwill that was recorded in connection with Ambac’s acquisition of 80% of the membership interests of Xchange; (28) risks associated with the expected discontinuance of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate; (29) factors that may negatively influence the amount of installment premiums paid to the Ambac; (30) market risks impacting assets in the Ambac’s investment portfolio or the value of our assets posted as collateral in respect of interest rate swap transactions; (31) risks relating to determinations of amounts of impairments taken on investments; (32) the risk of litigation and regulatory inquiries or investigations, and the risk of adverse outcomes in connection therewith, which could have a material adverse effect on Ambac’s business, operations, financial position, profitability or cash flows; (33) actions of stakeholders whose interests are not aligned with broader interests of the Ambac's stockholders; (34) system security risks, data protection breaches and cyber attacks; (35) changes in accounting principles or practices that may impact Ambac’s reported financial results; (36) regulatory oversight of Ambac Assurance UK Limited (“Ambac UK”) and applicable regulatory restrictions may adversely affect our ability to realize value from Ambac UK or the amount of value we ultimately realize; (37) operational risks, including with respect to internal processes, risk and investment models, systems and employees, and failures in services or products provided by third parties; (38) Ambac’s financial position that may prompt departures of key employees and may impact the its ability to attract qualified executives and employees; (39) fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely impact the insured portfolio in the event of loss reserves or claim payments denominated in a currency other than US dollars and the value of non-US dollar denominated securities in our investment portfolio; (40) disintermediation within the insurance industry that negatively impacts our managing general agency/underwriting business; (41) changes in law or in the functioning of the healthcare market that impair the business model of our accident and health managing general underwriter; and (42) other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time.
Lisa A. Kampf
Managing Director, Investor Relations