Allied Capital Corporation (NYSE:ALD) is a business development company with $4.4 billion invested in private companies and $5.1 billion in total assets. ALD typically makes investments up to $250 million in buyouts, acquisitions, recapitalizations, growth capital and middle market debt and equity.
As a business development company, Allied Capital is required to invest at least 70% of its assets in private U.S. companies and provides investors with the opportunity to become a part of the private equity industry by issuing stock.
Allied Capital targets companies with strong cash flow and high returns on invested capital, providing debt and equity financing with senior debt loans and subordinated debt, as well as managerial advising for invested companies. The company has a low 67% debt to equity ratio, which lets it to take larger risks than other financial institutions. Due to the difficulty of evaluating the private companies it invests in, this ratio is useful in making the illiquid long-term investments Allied Capital typically undertakes.
Allied Capital relies on low interest rates to decrease the cost of loans and increase profit margins. Also, it is difficult for Allied to evaluate the companies it invests in, since there is no public information on these private companies. As such, Allied relies on its own valuation techniques to determine good long-term investments, which increases the risk involved. These long-term investments can prove detrimental to the liquidity of Allied Capital's assets.
Allied Capital's portfolio included 124 companies that generate aggregate annual revenues of over $13 billion and employ over 98,000 people.
Allied Capital Corporation is a private equity firm that specializes in buyouts, acquisitions, and middle market equity and Long Term Debt investments in companies from various industries. Allied focuses on private middle market companies in the U.S.. 
Allied Capital maintains a diversified investments portfolio in companies from numerous industries, with no single asset comprising of over 4% of total assets. This diversified approach helps protect against risk and loss in any particular industry.
Allied Capital usually offers long-term investments and does not exit them until the companies are sold, recapitalized or carry out an Initial Public Offering.
In 2009, ALD earned a total negative revenue of $258 million in 2009. This was a huge decline from its 2008 total positive revenues of $518 million in 2008. Remarkably, ALD was able to decrease its net loss from a net loss of $1.0 billion in 2008 to $522 million in 2009.
A business development company is founded with the purpose of lending and investing in private companies. As a business development company (BDC), Allied is required to invest at least 70% of its assets in private U.S. companies. Allied Capital focuses primarily on American companies that are not investment companies. Allied also provides managerial assistance to any companies in need of it.
A business development company provides shareholders the ability to retain the liquidity of a publicly traded stock, while sharing in the possible benefits, if any, of investing in primarily privately owned companies.
Allied Capital's primary strategy is based on making long-term investments in the debt and equity of middle market companies. These long-term investments are illiquid, since they cannot be traded. However, long-term investments can provide persistent cash flow. Allied realized $1.4 billion in cumulative net gains from its investment portfolio.
Capital is generally used to fund buyouts, acquisitions, recapitalizations, growth, and note purchases. Allied Capital generally invests in middle market companies, which are those with $50 to $500 million in revenues. Industries of interest typically include business services, financial services, consumer products, and retail, among others. The corporation balances debt investments and buyout investments, and usually targets debt investments of between $10 and $150 million dollars, and buyout investments of up to $300 million.
73.3% of the private finance portfolio consists of loans and debt securities, whereas the other 23.7% consists of equity securities.
Since 2001, dividends have increasingly come from net capital gains, with a decreasing amount coming from ordinary income.
As interest rates rise, the cost of borrowing also rises. As a private equity firm, Allied Capital depends on loans in order to invest in other companies. When the interest rates are low, Allied would be able to realize greater profit margins since it would have to pay back less. As interest rates rise, Allied would see a slimmer profit margin. Lower interest rates allow Allied Capital to borrow at lower interest rates.
As Allied Capital invests primarily in private companies, there is no readily available market value for its investments. There is often no public information on these companies, and thus there is no standard method in determining the fair value of the companies. Allied relies on the Board of Directors of the companies as well as on its own employees to effectively evaluate the companies. They are also forced to obtain correct information about the target companies by comparisons with other public firms and on the basis of expected cash flow.
Most transactions are privately negotiated and there is no established trading market. Allied's problem of illiquidity hurts its ability to get rid of debt and equity securities. Without access to equity capital, Allied's dividend growth will decrease. However, since Allied is a BDC, it is able to generate more liquidity through the sale of publicly traded stock.
Allied Capital invests primarily in private middle-market companies over the long term. Investing in private companies brings with it a large amount of risk. There is often no public information on these companies, and thus Allied relies on the efficiency of its own employees to obtain correct information about the target companies by comparisons with other public firms and on the basis of expected cash flow.
Below is a list of Allied Capital's main competitors. Allied Capital is generally more diverse than these competitors, and besides American Capital Strategies, Allied is the only publicly traded BDC in existence.