Mortgage REIT Insider: Impac Gets Creative in Face of Cash Crunch

It may or may not be on the ropes, depending on who you believe, but former Alt-A powerhouse Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. (IMH) certainly scored some points for ingenuity this past week. The lender, which reported a disastrous $2 billion quarterly loss last week, said late this week that it is asking its preferred shareholders to give up their dividends. In a bold move, the Company announced that it is considering making an offer to the holders of its Series B and Series C preferred stock to exchange those shares for common stock of the company. Impac said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission after market close Wednesday that if the exchange is completed on favorable terms it may have the effect of increasing common stockholders’ equity. Impac shares bounced on the news, but any upswing appears to have been short-lived: after rising to as high as $1.23 earlier this week, shares were trading at $1.12 on Friday morning. Agency action Agency mortgage REITs dominated the news in this shortened trading week. A bullish note from JMP Securities appearing in Barron’s over the weekend suggested that the agency mREITs still have room to run, as they have now been able to digest a full quarter of lowered funding rates and been able to fully deploy the capital they raised in the first quarter. Speaking of capital raises, MFA Mortgage Investments Inc. (MFA) might not have been able to bring affiliate MFResidential public last week (no update is available on when the IPO is expected to launch), but it did bring a 40 million share offering of its own to the table this week. The company is expected to net about $278 million from the offering to pay down its repo lines and grow the portfolio; the offering prompted Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Bose George to boost his rating and price target on the stock. George predicted the move will add 2.5 cents to quarterly earnings, and boosted the stock’s price target to $8 per share. Shares were at $7.27 in early trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. As cheery as things look over at MFA, Hatteras Financial Corp. (HTS) might have had the Best Week Ever of its short-lived history thus far as a publicly-traded firm. Kind words from Sy Jacobs, who is the founder and managing member of the Jacobs Asset Management hedge funds, lifted shares to a 52-week high on Wednesday. In an interview with Barron’s over the weekend, Jacobs said his fund is long Hatteras, based on an expected yield of 19 percent and potential to run to $30/share. Shares were at $26.60 on the New York Stock Exchange early Friday morning. Reverse, reverse New York Mortgage Trust completed a one-for-two reverse split this week, the company’s second such reverse split in less than a year. NYMT is actively seeking a listing on a national exchange — most likely the American Stock Exchange, sources suggest. The stock price must be above $3/share for an initial listing, which is what likely drove the most recent reverse split. Shares last traded at $5.10 Thursday, according to available data, so it may be full steam ahead for the former high flyer. Editor’s note: Patrick Harden is a Certified Public Accountant with three years of experience in auditing publicly-traded real estate investment trusts. For the past two years, he has been involved in the mortgage finance industry as a member of the financial reporting group at a publicly-traded mortgage bank. His column covering mortgage REITs runs every Friday. Disclosure: The author held no positions in publicly-traded firms mentioned in this story when it was originally published. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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