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Earnings in U.S. Middle Market Grew By 9% in First Two Months of Q1 2022

April 14, 2022, 07:47 AM
Filed Under: Economic Commentary

Middle market private companies in the Golub Capital Altman Index experienced year-over-year earnings growth of 9% and revenue growth of 18% during the first two months of the first quarter of 2022. This report marks a return to the typical year-over-year comparisons now that the impact of widespread Covid-related lockdowns throughout much of 2020 are not affecting the data.
Lawrence E. Golub, CEO of Golub Capital, said, “The boom part of 2021 boomflation has started to decelerate in the first quarter of 2022. The economy is still strong, and the 18% nominal growth in revenue year-over-year is good but it is not great. Earnings growth of 9% was closer to flat in real dollars after adjusting for the nearly 8% increase in consumer prices during the same period. Higher input costs and labor costs are weighing down profitability, even in our portfolio of market-leading businesses in resilient industries. Demand remains robust, and companies will continue to adapt if inflation remains high.”
Dr. Edward I. Altman said, “The margin compression we’ve seen in the last three quarters marks a reversal of trend from the considerable margin expansion during the recovery from Covid lockdowns. Although the acceleration in labor costs and employee turnover is a headwind for most companies, it is also an opportunity for technology firms that deliver productivity-enhancing solutions. Looking forward, with the Fed on track to raise interest rates, probably substantially, in the coming quarters, our data suggests that investors would do well to prepare for a possible scenario of stagflation. We will continue to monitor our data for early economic signs of recovery or recession.”
The Golub Capital Altman Index (“GCAI”), which is produced by Golub Capital in collaboration with renowned credit expert Dr. Edward I. Altman, is the first and longest-running index based on actual revenue and earnings (defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or “EBITDA”) for middle market companies. It measures the median revenue and earnings growth of more than 150 private U.S. companies in the loan portfolio of Golub Capital, a leading middle market lender. Reported shortly before public company quarterly earnings season, the GCAI has served as a reliable indicator of the overall growth rates in revenue and earnings of public companies in market indexes such as the S&P 500 and S&P SmallCap 600 (“S&P 600”), as well as quarterly Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”), according to statistical back-testing dating back to 2012, when data began to be tracked.
The size and diversity of the Golub Capital loan portfolio ensure that the confidentiality of all company-specific information used in the index is maintained in both the aggregate and industry segment data.
We believe the results (1) are representative of the general performance of middle market companies, which are a major contributor to U.S. private sector employment; (2) can be easily compared to the performance of the public companies that make up major stock indexes; (3) are relevant to the aggregate economic performance of the U.S. economy and (4) provide timely information for the investment community.
The companies in the GCAI operate in a wide range of industries. Results are provided for the total universe of GCAI constituents and by industry segment. Given the index’s limited exposure to Financials, Utilities, Energy and Materials, comparisons are made to the S&P 500 and S&P 600 as well as to “adjusted” versions of those indexes that exclude the aforementioned sectors.
The Golub Capital Middle Market Report analyzes the results of the Golub Capital Altman Index (“GCAI”), which measures the median revenue and earnings growth of more than 150 privately owned companies in the Golub Capital loan portfolio for the first two months of each calendar quarter. It compares these results to the financial performance of well-known market indexes, including the S&P 500 and S&P SmallCap 600. The GCAI is produced by Golub Capital in collaboration with credit expert Dr. Edward I. Altman.
A leading expert on credit markets, Dr. Edward I. Altman is the Max L. Heine Professor of Finance, Emeritus at the NYU Stern School of Business, and Director of Research in Credit and Debt Markets at the NYU Salomon Center for the Study of Financial Institutions. He is currently an advisor to several foreign central banks. Professor Altman has published or edited two-dozen books and over 150 articles in scholarly finance, accounting and economic journals. He has been inducted into the Fixed Income Analysts Society Hall of Fame, served as President of the Financial Management Association, was an FMA Fellow, and was amongst the inaugural inductees into the Turnaround Management Association Hall of Fame. He received his MBA and Ph.D. in Finance from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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