LEAWOOD, Kan. – Oct. 09, 2008 – Tortoise Energy Capital Corp. (NYSE: TYY) is providing an update for stockholders regarding its leverage coverage ratios due to broad based concerns over the recent decline in MLP values. Over the past several weeks we have witnessed one of the most volatile periods on Wall Street since the Great Depression, and the most volatile period ever experienced in the MLP sector. The market values of MLP equity securities, along with many other equity securities, have been experiencing substantial declines as a result of the ongoing financial crisis. From June 1 through October 8, 2008, the Wachovia MLP Total Return Index has declined by 39.3 percent. For the first three days of this week, the Index declined by 18.4 percent. We believe these declines have not been driven by fundamental weakness in the energy infrastructure sector; rather we believe the unwinding of leverage and liquidity concerns in the broader financial market have driven a sell-off of MLP's.
TYY has used leverage to acquire MLPs consistent with its investment philosophy. The terms of TYY leverage are governed by regulatory and contractual asset coverage requirements that arise from the use of leverage. Under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the 1940 Act), the company may not pay distributions to its common stockholders if it does not meet a 300 percent asset coverage ratio for notes and 200 percent asset coverage ratio for preferred shares after payment of the distribution, and it may not pay distributions on its preferred shares if the company fails to meet the 200 percent asset coverage ratio on its senior notes and preferred. Further, under the terms of its senior notes and preferred shares, if the company fails to meet basic maintenance ratios as of any valuation date (generally Fridays) or fails to satisfy the 1940 Act asset coverage ratio as of the last business day of any month, the company could be subject to mandatory redemption of the senior notes or preferred shares if such failure is not waived or cured. In some cases the company may be delayed in paying common stock or preferred share distributions until such coverage ratios can be met. The cure period is 30 days for the senior notes and 10 business days for the preferred shares.
As of Friday, October 3, the company passed all of the tests indicated on that valuation date. TYY's asset coverage ratio under the 1940 Act with respect to senior securities representing indebtedness was 313 percent, and its coverage ratio for preferred shares was 209 percent. Its senior notes and preferred shares basic maintenance coverage ratios (1.00 times required) were 1.36 times and 1.11 times, respectively. (For more information on calculation of coverage ratios, please refer to our most recent applicable prospectus.) However, as a result of the decline in portfolio company market values during this week, the company may not have sufficient coverage ratios to meet one or all of these tests at its next valuation date.
In response to these conditions, management will continue to work toward meeting asset coverage requirements on an ongoing basis; however, we will not be reporting on every valuation date. Several things could favorably impact asset coverage ratios, including: an increase in market values of portfolio holdings, issuance of additional equity (if the market and 1940 Act requirements permit), the sale of portfolio investments and repayment of leverage, or a delay in the payment of common or preferred distributions. The non-payment of common distributions would allow the company to de-lever and sell less of its investments at a time when we find the relative value for MLPs to be attractive. TYY paid its third quarter distribution on September 2, and normally declares its fourth quarter distribution during the second week in November. While the current market conditions have been challenging, we maintain our long-term positive outlook for MLPs. These companies have generally continued to report growth in distributions to their investors, and, we believe are fundamentally strong, providing critical services to our country. We believe investors will be rewarded in the long run by continued investment in the MLP sector and TYY.
About Tortoise Energy Capital Corp.
Tortoise Energy Capital Corp. provides financing for master limited partnerships (MLPs) in the energy infrastructure sector, focusing on crude oil and refined petroleum products MLPs and natural gas and natural gas liquids pipelines MLPs. Tortoise Energy Capital Corp. seeks to provide its stockholders a high level of total return with an emphasis on current distributions.
About Tortoise Capital Advisors
Tortoise Capital Advisors, LLC is a pioneer in capital markets for master limited partnership (MLP) investment companies and a leader in closed-end funds and separately managed accounts focused on MLPs in the energy sector. As of Sept. 30, 2008, the adviser had approximately $2.2 billion of assets under management. For more information, visit our Web site at www.tortoiseadvisors.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the laws of such state or jurisdiction.
This press release contains certain statements that may include "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein are "forward-looking statements." Although the company and Tortoise Capital Advisors believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, they do involve assumptions, risks and uncertainties, and these expectations may prove to be incorrect. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including those discussed in the funds' reports that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Other than as required by law, the company and Tortoise Capital Advisors do not assume a duty to update this forward-looking statement.
Contact information: Tortoise Capital Advisors, LLC Pam Kearney, Investor Relations, (866) 362-9331, firstname.lastname@example.org