Home Capital says exploring options, stock up

TORONTO — Home Capital Group Inc. shares regained some ground on Thursday after it secured a $2-billion credit line and said it’s exploring its strategic options, suggesting it could be up for sale.

The stock (TSX:HCG) rose nearly 34 per cent to close at $8.02 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the mortgage lender said it hired RBC Capital Markets and BMO Capital Markets “to advise on further financing and strategic options.”

Toronto-based Home Capital lost more than half its value on Wednesday after it warned it would miss financial targets and was seeking the credit line to offset withdrawals from savings accounts at its Home Trust subsidiary.

Some savers pulled their deposits in the wake of allegations by Ontario’s securities regulator that the company, two former CEOs and the current CFO broke the law in their handling of a scandal involving falsified loan applications. The company has said the allegations are without merit and vowed to defend itself.

Home Capital said Home Trust expects to have a high-interest savings account balance of approximately $814 million on Thursday, after settlement of transactions Wednesday. That’s down from the roughly $1.4 billion the company said it had Monday.

The company said the new credit line, combined with Home Trust’s current available liquidity, provides it with access to approximately $3.5 billion in total funding.

“The company will work closely with the lender to have the funds available as soon as possible,” Home Capital said of the credit line.

Home Capital did not identify the provider of the line of credit. The Globe and Mail and Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, said it was the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) which manages more than $70 billion in net assets for more than 320,000 members. The fund did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kevin Smith, chief executive of St. Joseph’s Health System, is chairman of Home Capital and a member of HOOPP’s board. HOOPP chief executive Jim Keohane is also a member of Home Capital’s board.

The $2-billion line of credit is secured against a portfolio of mortgages originated by Home Trust and matures in 364 days, at the option of Home Trust.

Under the deal, Home Trust has agreed to paying a non-refundable commitment fee of $100 million and will make an initial draw of $1 billion.

The interest rate on outstanding balances is 10 per cent, and the standby fee on undrawn funds is 2.5 per cent.

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