Intended for professional clients only
product flash June 2009 Natixis Crédit Euro Yields are still attractive in the credit market today. The selection of issuers nevertheless remains a crucial factor in the light of default rates which, although stabilized, remain high. The Natixis Crédit Euro process makes it possible to take advantage of this situation.
A favorable context for credit Macro fundamentals – Although we seem to have passed the low point in terms of macroeconomic fundamentals, we are not expecting a rapid or sudden economic recovery. We nevertheless appear to have entered the phase of a slowing rate of deterioration. Micro fundamentals – The default rate in the Speculative Grade(1) has continued to rise, reaching 8.3% in April over a rolling 12-month period at Moody’s, compared to 7.4% in the previous month. In April, 25 defaults were recorded, taking the total to 112 since the beginning of the year. In Europe, the agency has revised its forecast for the default peak at the end of 2009 downwards from 22.5% two months ago to 19.5% today. Despite everything, the liquidity conditions are improving, with banks showing a greater readiness to renegotiate banking terms. Market conditions – The primary market remains very active. New issues are outperforming instantly, but their spreads are narrowing due to the high demand for this paper, which offers attractive yield rates. Since the primary issues are insufficient to satisfy the buying interest, there is once again a liquid and active secondary market. The decrease in risk aversion is continuing, accompanied by a decrease in volatility, providing support for an easing of assets as a whole. Valuation – May, like April, was marked by a rally in the credit market. Financials once again outperformed all sectors. Within financials, the tightening was greater as seniority decreased. Overall, the market remains attractive.
The advantages of Natixis Crédit Euro in this setting 1- A rigorous investment process based on significant and well-proven resources The management team at Natixis Crédit Euro has the backing of one of the largest bond teams on the Paris market, composed as it is of over 51 experienced professionals (economists, bond strategists, credit analysts, managers and negotiators). n Three performance sources are used: • directional exposure • sectorial allocation (between cyclical, defensive, financial securities and TMT(2)) • bonds selection For each performance driver, groups of experts (sector teams) voice a monthly view (on a scale of -2 to +2) and a degree of belief (high/ low) with a weekly review.
(1) Speculative Grade: A bond is considered speculative grade if its is rated below investment grade at the time of purchase. These bonds have a higher risk of default or other adverse credit events, but typically pay higher yields than better quality bonds in order to make them attractive to investors. (2) TMT : Technology, Media, Telecommunication.
product flash n The selection of issuers, , critical today in view of the market environment, is based on a search for quality credit and the in-depth analysis of valuation made by management.
Investment Ranking Matrix Excellent
The team of senior credit analysts at Natixis Asset Management (each one with the firm for over 10 years) delivers three complementary conclusions: • Credit Opinion (3-5 years), • Target Rating (18-24 months), • Credit Trend (3-6 months).
For each company, credit analysts give a summarized score relative the fundamentals (soundness of balance sheet, etc.). - Analysis of valuation is conducted by credit managers using a proprietary approach developed with the support of dedicated financial engineers at the bonds department of Natixis Asset Management. - A final rating is thus given by the rating matrix of issuers. Exemple: Telecom Italia- ranking 2 (3/2) as of 15/06/09/2009
V a luation I
Highly Overw eight
U nderw eight
V A void
2- Active management of our beliefs Regarding the directional exposure of Natixis Crédit Euro, the N° 1 performance driver, the management team was negative up until the end of March on the credit market, then fell neutral at the beginning of April. The management turned positive at the beginning of May and remained so in June. In terms of sectorial allocation, the 2nd source of the fund’s alpha, managers were negative with financial stock until the end of February, went neutral at the beginning of March and then ended positive at the end of March. With non-financial stock, the portfolio was under-exposed until the end of March, went neutral from the beginning of April by favouring defensive securities and has been overweighted since the end of April. Finally, for the 3rd source of performance, the selection of issuers, the management team selected securities showing both good visibility and an attractive return. An example of a security in the Natixis Crédit Euro portfolio: Telecom Italia rated (3,2). The main characteristics of the issuer Telecom Italia, the Italian telecommunications operator Utilities sector: neutral sector view Good fundamentals (3): 2008 results better than expected, the group is expected to stabilize its revenues and improve its profitability in 2009 (good reduction in CAPEX(3) to preserve its FCF(4) Attractive valuation (2): latest issue attractive in terms of relative value: coupon of 8.25%, due March 2016 issued at 525 bp > Contraction of 230 bp on 15 June 2009.
3- Result: good performances As at 16 June 2009, Natixis Crédit Euro had generated a year-to-date performance of 6.54%, compared to 5.97% in the case of its benchmark, the Barclays Capital Euro Aggregate Corporate index. At the end of May, Natixis Crédit Euro also had a Lipper Rating* of 4 in the Consistent Return category over three years, its recommended investment period. Performances net of fees of Natixis Crédit Euro (I share) as at 16th June 2009
Natixis Crédit Euro
The figures mentioned refer to previous years.Past performance does not guarantee future results. Source: Natixis Asset Management, Lipper * The rating Lipper “Regular Performance” reflects the performance of a fund with a history of 3 years, adjusted by the short-term and long-term risk, with regard to all the funds of the same category Lipper. A noted fund "Leader" means that he is a part of better 20 % of his category and corresponds to the maximum rating 5, the least good funds being a contrario noted 1.
(3) C APEX: capital expenditure, tangible or intangible investments (excluding financial investments), such as the construction or extension of a water system, the purchase of a patent… (4) F CF: free cash flow
product flash Current strategy of Natixis Crédit Euro and management outlook In mid-June, the directional exposure of Natixis Crédit Euro was (+1) with a strong conviction due to the range of positive factors: leading economic indicators marking the low point of the recession, continued very buoyant flows into the primary market, strong appetite among investors, attractive valuations, reduced risk aversion. With regard to the sector allocation: • In financials, the management is maintaining the overweighting which it began in April (+2). It is seeing increased visibility on banks, which are benefiting from improved results (growth in lending, increase in the net interest margin, good performances by primary and secondary markets, etc.). This constitutes a major turnaround after six quarters of heavy losses. In this context, the management is overweight (+2) in senior debt and slightly overweight in subordinated debt. The subordinated debt segment is being revitalized by the issuers themselves, who are redeeming it and thereby increasing their results and equity • In non-financials, the management team is maintaining its slight overweighting (+1), favoring defensive sectors (telecoms, utilities, consumption). Allocation Directional Financial Non Financials
View +1 +2 +1
Conviction Strong Strong Strong
“We feel that the credit market today is still very attractive”, emphasized Hanna Stekelorom, Head of Credit Investment team and portfolio manager of Natixis Crédit Euro.
Written on June 17th 2009
Natixis Asset Management : a major fixed-income player Golden Trophy - Best range of international bonds funds- Trophées des meilleurs SICAV & Fonds - Le Revenu 2009 May 2009 Natixis Asset Management awarded for the performance of its bond range over 3 years in the category “International bonds funds”, “network banks"(5)
Best Bond Group - Lipper Fund Awards 2009 (France) March 2009 Lipper gives Natixis Asset Management top ranking in the generalist category for the performance of its range of funds over 3 years(6)
1st prize Large Bond Group - La Tribune - Morningstar “Victoires des SICAV” Awards 2009 March 2009 France’s leading business and financial newspaper, La Tribune, gives Natixis Asset Management top ranking for the performance of its range of funds in the large bond group category over 5 years(7)
(6) Category "Network banks" with European funds registered for sale in France and rated by EuroPerformance for at least three years as of 03/31/2009 (Source: Le Revenu). (7) Companies with funds registered for sale in France and rated by Lipper for at least three years as of 12/31/2008. (Source: Lipper Thomson Reuters). (8) Companies with more than 15 bond funds registered for sale in France and rated by Morningstar for at least five years as of 06/30/2008. (Source: Morningstar).
Hanna Stekelorom - Head of Credit Investment team and portfolio manager of Natixis Crédit Euro Hanna Stekelorom is Head of Credit Investment team of Natixis Asset Management. Hanna joined the company in 1994 as a Senior Euro Credit Portfolio Manager. She began her career in 1983 with the Chambre Syndicale des Banques Populaires (a banking group) as a Project Manager on macroeconomic forecasts. In 1984, she joined the AFB (the French Banking Association) as a Project Manager on statistics. From 1987 to 1989, she was with Société Générale as an Actuary for fixed income portfolio investments. She then became a Financial Engineer on the capital market for origination of corporate issues in 1989. Hanna Stekelorom graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics and holds a diploma of advanced studies in Operational Research from the University of Paris IX - Dauphine. She also holds a Master's in Finance from the French business school Ecole Supérieure de Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC). She is a CFA charter holder. Hanna has 25 years of professional experience and has been working for our company for 14 years.
C O R P O R AT E B O N D S
For further information n Your usual Natixis Asset Management sales advisers are at your disposal to answer any further questions n Find the Fund Product Profile under “Our Products” on our website at www.am.natixis.com
Natixis Crédit Euro Get the most out of the depth and diversity of the euro Investment Grade bonds universe
Active management combining four sources of performance Mainly invest in euro-denominated Investment Grade* debt securities, Natixis Crédit Euro aims to outperform the Barclays** Capital Euro Aggregate Corporate index, with a comparable level of risk, over a recommended investment period of 3 years. To this end, the investment team applies a conviction-based approach combining four sources of performance (directional exposure, sector allocation, diversification and issuer selection). Using a top-down approach, the investment managers set up strategies in three directions: directional exposure to the credit risk, sector allocation and exposure to diversifying asset classes, in which the fund can also invest up to one third of its assets for diversification and boosting purposes (assets not comprised in the index: money market instruments, government bonds, convertible bonds, high yield bonds). The management team formulates its strategies based on an analysis of macroeconomic factors, the credit market’s attractiveness and the market momentum.
KEY POINTS n An attractive universe: the Euro Investment Grade bonds n A conviction-based strategies based on the expertise of 32 professionals (portfolio managers, credit analysts, traders)
Lastly, for the issuer selection, the investment team combines fundamental analysis of the issuers, relative value of the issues and technical analysis.
Bond-picking: analysis, conviction and risk control
Natixis Asset Management’s Credit Sector Teams are cross-divisional task forces comprising specialist managers, financial analysts, economists and traders. Their task consists in providing technical expertise to all Fixed Income portfolio managers, by expressing opinions on their business macro sector: financial, defensive, cyclical and TMT (technology, media, telecoms). These opinions are expressed every month and consist of a score (-2 to +2) and a degree of conviction (strong or low). The 4 Investment Grade Sector Teams Financials
Banks Insurance Financial Institutions
Utilities Consumer Goods Retail Tobacco Pharmaceuticals Services
Automobile Industry Means of production Energy Real Estate Leisure
Telecommunications Media Technology
An investment universe of ~300 issuers, followed by Natixis Asset Management teams, which represent over 1,100 issues
Investment universe Mainly Investment Grade debt securities, euro-denominated Benchmark Barclays** Capital Euro Aggregate Corporate Minimum recommended investment period 3 years Risk indicator Sensitivity between 0 and 8 * bond issues rated at least BBB- or Baa3 (Standard & Poor’s/Moody’s) ** ex Lehman
For diversifying assets, the team bases its decision on recommendations by other specialised sector teams (e.g convertibles etc). Thanks to Sector teams, portfolio manager takes profit of collegial decision to implement conviction based strategies. The credit analysts closely monitor the eligible issuers and track any changes in notations, alerts, or other warning indicators. The Risk Management Division constantly monitors the respect of the eligibility criteria of securities admitted into the investment universe.
Intended for professional clients only
Disclaimer This document is intended for professional clients. It may not be used for any purpose other than that for which it was intended and may not be reproduced, disseminated or disclosed to third parties, whether in part on in whole without prior authorization in writing from Natixis Asset Management. No information contained in this document may be interpreted as being contractual in any way. This document is produced purely for informational purposes. It is a presentation created and prepared by Natixis Asset Management based on sources considered to be reliable. Natixis Asset Management reserves the right to change the information in this document at any time without notice, and in particular anything relating to the description of the investment process, which under no circumstances constitutes a commitment from Natixis Asset Management. Natixis Asset Management will not be held liable for any decision taken or not taken on the basis of the information in this document, nor for any use that a third party might make of the information. The Fund is authorized for sale in France and possibly in other countries where the sale is not contrary to local legislation. Prior to any investment, investors must check that they are legally authorized to invest in a Fund. The risks and fees connected to investment in a Fund are described in the relevant prospectus. The prospectus and periodic documents are available from Natixis Asset Management upon request. The prospectus must be given to the investor prior to the subscription.