USD $70 million of debt securities affected
New York, October 01, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service announced today that it has upgraded the ratings
of the following notes issued by Westwood CDO II, Ltd.:
U.S.$237,825,000 Class A-1 Floating
Rate Notes due 2022 (current outstanding balance of $223,647,892),
Upgraded to Aa2 (sf); previously on June 23, 2009 Downgraded
to A1 (sf);
U.S.$26,425,000 Class A-2 Floating
Rate Notes due 2022, Upgraded to Baa1 (sf); previously on June
23, 2009 Downgraded to Baa2 (sf);
U.S.$8,750,000 Class B Floating Rate
Notes due 2022, Upgraded to Baa3 (sf); previously on June 23,
2009 Downgraded to Ba1 (sf);
U.S.$19,250,000 Class C Deferrable Floating
Rate Notes due 2022, Upgraded to Ba3 (sf); previously on June
23, 2009 Downgraded to B1 (sf).
According to Moody's, the rating actions taken on the notes
result primarily from improvement in the credit quality of the underlying
portfolio and an increase in the overcollateralization ratios of the notes
since the last rating action in June 2009.
Improvement in the credit quality is observed through an improvement in
the average credit rating (as measured by the weighted average rating
factor) and a decrease in the proportion of securities from issuers rated
Caa1 and below. In particular, as of the latest trustee report
dated September 13, 2010, the weighted average rating factor
is currently 2609 compared to 3096 in the May 2009 report, and securities
rated Caa1/CCC+ or lower make up approximately 10.5%
of the underlying portfolio versus 19.1% in May 2009.
Additionally, defaulted securities total about $18.3
million of the underlying portfolio compared to $29.0 million
in May 2009.
The overcollateralization ratios of the rated notes have also increased
since the last rating action. The Class A/B, Class C,
Class D and Class E overcollateralization ratios are reported at 114.2%,
106.3%, 99.8%, and 95.1%,
respectively, versus May 2009 levels of 106.9%,
99.7%, 94.0%, and 89.9%,
respectively. Moody's also notes that the Class C Notes are
no longer deferring interest and that all previously deferred interest
has been paid in full.
Additionally, the rating action taken on the Class A-1 notes
considers the benefit from the continued delevering of the notes as a
result of the diversion of excess interest proceeds due to the failure
of the Class C, Class D, and Class E overcollateralization
Due to the impact of revised and updated key assumptions referenced in
"Moody's Approach to Rating Collateralized Loan Obligations" and
"Annual Sector Review (2009): Global CLOs," key
model inputs used by Moody's in its analysis, such as par,
weighted average rating factor, diversity score, and weighted
average recovery rate, may be different from the trustee's reported
numbers. In its base case, Moody's analyzed the underlying
collateral pool to have a performing par and principal proceeds of $293.5
million, defaulted par of $18.8 million, weighted
average default probability of 26.9% (implying a WARF of
3447), a weighted average recovery rate upon default of 43.64%,
and a diversity score of 50. These default and recovery properties
of the collateral pool are incorporated in cash flow model analysis where
they are subject to stresses as a function of the target rating of each
CLO liability being reviewed. The default probability is derived
from the credit quality of the collateral pool and Moody's expectation
of the remaining life of the collateral pool. The average recovery
rate to be realized on future defaults is based primarily on the seniority
of the assets in the collateral pool. In each case, historical
and market performance trends, and collateral manager latitude for
trading the collateral are also factors.
Westwood CDO II, Ltd., issued in April 2007,
is a collateralized loan obligation backed primarily by a portfolio of
senior secured loans.
The principal methodologies used in rating Westwood CDO II, Ltd.
were "Moody's Approach to Rating Collateralized Loan Obligations"
published in August 2009, and "Using the Structured Note Methodology
to Rate CDO Combo-Notes" published in February 2004.
Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process
of rating this issuer can also be found on Moody's website.
Moody's Investors Service did not receive or take into account a
third party due diligence report on the underlying assets or financial
instruments related to the monitoring of this transaction in the past
Moody's modeled the transaction using the Binomial Expansion Technique,
as described in Section 126.96.36.199 of the "Moody's Approach
to Rating Collateralized Loan Obligations" rating methodology published
in August 2009.
In addition to the base case analysis described above, Moody's also
performed a number of sensitivity analyses to test the impact on all rated
notes, including the following:
1. Various default probabilities to capture potential defaults
in the underlying portfolio.
2. A range of recovery rate assumptions for all assets to capture
variability in recovery rates.
Below is a summary of the impact of different default probabilities (expressed
in terms of WARF levels) on all rated notes (shown in terms of the number
of notches' difference versus the current model output, where
a positive difference corresponds to lower expected losses), assuming
that all other factors are held equal:
Moody's Adjusted WARF -- 20% (2758)
Class A-1: +2
Class A-2: +2
Class B: +3
Class C: +2
Class D: +4
Class E: +1
Combination Notes: +4
Moody's Adjusted WARF + 20% (4136)
Class A-1: -2
Class A-2: -2
Class B: -1
Class C: -1
Class D: -2
Class E: 0
Combination Notes: -2
Below is a summary of the impact of different recovery rate levels on
all rated notes (shown in terms of the number of notches' difference
versus the current model output, where a positive difference corresponds
to lower expected losses), assuming that all other factors are held
Moody's Adjusted WARR + 2% (45.64%)
Class A-1: +1
Class A-2: +1
Class B: +1
Class C: +1
Class D: +1
Class E: 0
Combination Notes: +1
Moody's Adjusted WARR - 2% (41.64%)
Class A-1: 0
Class A-2: 0
Class B: 0
Class C: 0
Class D: -1
Class E: 0
Combination Notes: -1
Moody's notes that this transaction is subject to a high level of
macroeconomic uncertainty, as evidenced by 1) uncertainties of credit
conditions in the general economy and 2) the large concentration of speculative-grade
debt maturing between 2012 and 2014 which may create challenges for issuers
to refinance. CDO notes' performance may also be impacted
by 1) the managers' investment strategies and behavior, 2)
divergence in legal interpretation of CDO documentation by different transactional
parties due to embedded ambiguities.
Sources of additional performance uncertainties are described below:
1) Recovery of defaulted assets: Market value fluctuations in defaulted
assets reported by the trustee and those assumed to be defaulted by Moody's
may create volatility in the deals' overcollateralization levels.
Further, the timing of recoveries and the manager's decision
to work out versus selling defaulted assets create additional uncertainties.
Moody's analyzed defaulted recoveries assuming the lower of the
market price and the recovery rate in order to account for potential volatility
in market prices.
2) Weighted average life: The notes' ratings are sensitive
to the weighted average life assumption of the portfolio, which
may be extended due to the manager's decision to reinvest into new
issue loans or other loans with longer maturities and/or participate in
amend-to-extend offerings. Moody's tested for
a possible extension of the actual weighted average life in its analysis.
3) Other collateral quality metrics: The deal is allowed to reinvest
and the manager has the ability to deteriorate the collateral quality
metrics' existing cushions against the covenant levels. Moody's
analyzed the impact of assuming lower of reported and covenanted values
for weighted average rating factor, weighted average spread,
weighted average coupon, and diversity score.
Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following:
parties involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential
and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.
Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available
on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining
a credit rating.
Further information on Moody's analysis of this transaction is available
on www.moodys.com. In addition, Moody's publishes
a weekly summary of structured finance credit, ratings and methodologies,
available to all registered users of our web site, at www.moodys.com/SFQuickCheck.
MOODY'S adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses
in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources
MOODY'S considers to be reliable including, when appropriate,
independent third-party sources. However, MOODY'S
is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or
validate information received in the rating process.
Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com
for the last rating action and the rating history.
The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to
a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized
and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's
Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable
and accurate based on the information that is available to it.
Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com
for further information.
Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies
used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning
of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Structured Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
Ramon O. Torres
Senior Vice President
Structured Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's upgrades the ratings of CLO notes issued by Westwood CDO II, Ltd.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007