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Capitalising on Falling Interest Rates: Strategies for Businesses with Debt

With interest rates already starting to decline in Europe and expected to follow suit in the US and the UK, businesses with debt are presented with a strategic opportunity. Falling interest rates can significantly impact a company's financial health, particularly those with substantial debt obligations. Understanding how to leverage this changing economic landscape can provide a competitive edge. Here's how your business can capitalise on this trend.



Reviewing Your Fixed-Float Mix


The first step is to review your current debt structure, specifically your mix of fixed and floating rate debt. This assessment will help you understand your exposure to interest rate fluctuations and prepare you to make informed decisions.


Predominantly Floating Rate Debt


If your business predominantly carries floating rate debt, the immediate impact of falling interest rates is beneficial. Your interest payments will decrease in line with the falling rates, thereby reducing your overall cost of borrowing. However, it's crucial to remain vigilant and consider the potential risk of future rate hikes. Regularly review your fixed-float mix to ensure that your business is not overly exposed to the tail risk of rising rates.


Predominantly Fixed Rate Debt


For businesses with mostly fixed rate debt, the current environment presents an opportunity to reassess and potentially adjust your debt structure. One effective strategy is to enter into an interest rate swap agreement. By swapping fixed rate debt for floating rate debt, you can position your company to benefit from the anticipated decrease in interest rates. This strategic move can lead to significant savings on interest payments and improve your overall financial position.


Implementing an Interest Rate Swap


An interest rate swap is a financial derivative that allows you to exchange your fixed rate debt for floating rate debt or vice versa. Here’s how it works:


  1. Agreement: You enter into a contract with a counterparty (usually a financial institution) where you agree to swap interest rate payments.

  2. Payments: Under this contract, you will pay a floating interest rate (typically linked to a benchmark rate such as SONIA or SOFR) and receive fixed rate payments in return.

  3. Hedge Against Rising Rates: This swap not only allows you to take advantage of falling interest rates but also provides flexibility to hedge against potential future rate increases.


Benefits of Interest Rate Swaps

  • Cost Savings: With falling interest rates, your floating rate payments will decrease, leading to lower interest expenses.

  • Flexibility: Swaps can be tailored to your specific needs, including the duration and notional amount.

  • Hedging: They provide a hedge against interest rate volatility, offering protection against the risk of rising rates in the future.


Final Considerations


When considering adjustments to your debt structure, it is important to conduct a thorough analysis of your financial situation and market conditions. Consulting with financial advisors and leveraging tools such as interest rate swaps can provide the necessary insight and expertise to make informed decisions.


Please note, this is not financial advice or any offer, invitation or inducement to sell or provide financial products or services or to engage in any form of investment activity.


Q&A Section


Q: What is a fixed-float mix?

A: The fixed-float mix refers to the proportion of a company's debt that is subject to fixed interest rates versus floating interest rates. This mix affects how sensitive the company is to changes in market interest rates.


Q: What is floating rate debt?

A: Floating rate debt is a type of loan or debt instrument where the interest rate can change periodically, based on a reference rate or index, such as SONIA or SOFR.


Q: What is fixed rate debt?

A: Fixed rate debt is a type of loan or debt instrument where the interest rate remains constant throughout the life of the loan, providing predictability in interest payments.


Q: What is an interest rate swap?

A: An interest rate swap is a financial derivative in which two parties agree to exchange one stream of interest payments for another, typically swapping fixed rate payments for floating rate payments or vice versa.


Q: What is a tail event?

A: A tail event refers to a rare and extreme event that lies on the far ends of the probability distribution curve. In the context of interest rates, it could mean a sudden and significant rise in rates contrary to market expectations.


Q: What is SOFR?

A: SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate) is a benchmark interest rate for dollar-denominated derivatives and loans, which is based on the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralised by Treasury securities.


Enquiries

For further information, please contact info@langdoncap.com.


About the Author


Sabbir Rahman is Managing Director of Langdon Capital. He has held prior roles with Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Barclays Investment Bank. He has executed over £60 billion in notional value of debt, equity, M&A and derivatives transactions with global corporates, private equity funds and financial sponsor groups.


About Langdon Capital


Langdon Capital assists SMEs and mid-market companies with capital raising, M&A and disposals up to £250m in transaction size; and innovative, high-growth companies with >£1m in annual revenue and >30% in annual revenue growth raise debt or equity, at Series A and later funding rounds, from a network of alternative investors spanning private equity firms, venture capital funds, corporate VC arms, family offices, venture debt funds, private credit funds, real estate funds and hedge funds.




This is not financial advice or any offer, invitation or inducement to sell or provide financial products or services or to engage in any form of investment activity.

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