On the heels of the Greek financial crisis, Puerto Rico had a crisis of its own. The country announced that it would not be able to pay its debts to its bondholders which hit close to home for some investors on Wall Street. In fact the market lost a fair amount of confidence that Puerto Rico would be able to repay the debt.
However, this changed on Wednesday when Governor Alejandro García Padilla issued a statement in response to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) announcement regarding an agreement with the Ad Hoc Group of PREPA bondholders. The agreement is comprised of traditional municipal bond investors and hedge funds and it holds roughly 35% of PREPA’s outstanding bonds.
The governor said:
Today’s [Wednesday] announcement of the agreement reached by PREPA and the Ad Hoc Group upon restructuring PREPA’s Revenue Bonds is illustrative of the common benefits that are to be gained from a willingness to contribute towards a long-term, comprehensive plan for the economic recovery of the Commonwealth. The terms announced today are the next step towards PREPA obtaining the necessary liquidity to invest in its infrastructure, which will also have the impact of creating jobs, further spurring economic growth. These are all critical aspects of the Island’s economic recovery plan and I appreciate the hard work demonstrated by both the Ad Hoc Group and PREPA’s leadership to reach this point. Moreover, I hope this process – and its outcome – will further confirm our commitment to work collaboratively with our creditors to find satisfactory solutions for them and the people of Puerto Rico and their families.
As a result, a few companies jumped on the announcement and are cheering on the debt negotiation. 24/7 Wall St. has picked a few companies that were representative of the Puerto Rican sentiment.
Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE: AGO) provides credit protection products to public finance, infrastructure, and structured finance markets in the United States and internationally. It offers financial guaranty insurance that protects holders of debt instruments and other monetary obligations from defaults in scheduled payments. This company is a large insurer of the Puerto Rican debt. Shares of Assured Guaranty were up 4.6% at $25.93 on Wednesday afternoon. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $33.40 and a 52-week trading range of $20.02 to $29.75.
First Bancorp (NYSE: FBP) is one of the main banks based in Puerto Rico. It provides a range of financial products and services to retail, commercial, and institutional clients. Shares of First Bancorp were up 8.5% at $3.98. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $6.19 and a 52-week trading range of $3.14 to $6.76.
MBIA Inc. (NYSE: MBI) provides financial guarantee insurance services to public finance markets in the United States and internationally. This is one of the larger insurers of Puerto Rican debt. Shares of MBIA were up 12% at $7.58. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $8.50 and a 52-week trading range of $4.94 to $10.58.
OFG Bancorp (NYSE: OFG) is another bank based in Puerto Rico. It provides a range of financial products and services to retail, commercial, and institutional clients. Shares of OFG were up nearly 20% at $8.85 on its 52-week trading range of $6.64 to $17.83. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $12.33.
Popular, Inc. (NASDAQ: BPOP) provides various retail and commercial banking products and services primarily to institutional and retail customers. At the end of 2014, it operated roughly 63 branch premises and other facilities in Puerto Rico. Shares of Popular were up 6.3% at $29.93 on its 52-week trading range of $26.53 to $35.83. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $39.00.