Patient Yet Opportunistic Investors

"Patient yet opportunistic investors" is how Apollo Investment's (Nasdaq: AINV  ) chief investment officer characterized the company during its fiscal third-quarter conference call. The company continued to put capital to work during the quarter, and its total invested capital since its 2004 IPO now exceeds $5 billion. But because of the company's financial results for the quarter, there are undoubtedly some investors who need some encouragement.

For the quarter, Apollo reported a bottom-line loss of $0.21. This was driven by $148 million worth of mark-to-market losses on investments, but offset to some extent by $81 million of realized gains during the quarter. Looking solely at investment income -- and backing out the extra management incentive fees that were paid thanks to the realized gains in the quarter -- the company earned $0.40 per share, just shy of the $0.41 that Wall Street was expecting.

The unrealized losses on the portfolio also drove a dip in the net asset value (NAV) at the end of the quarter. The NAV finished the quarter at $17.71, versus $18.44 last quarter and $17.87 at the end of the last fiscal year in March.

While they certainly don't remove the sting of the drop in NAV, troubles have been cascading through the market as a whole; a broad swath of financial players from Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) and Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER  ) to Countrywide (NYSE: CFC  ) and MBIA (NYSE: MBI  ) have been feeling the heat. Apollo also seems confident that the mark-to-market adjustments are simply a reflection of current market conditions and not a fundamental decline in the value of their holdings.

With all the turmoil of late, the balance of power has tipped in the direction of those -- like Apollo -- that still have access to capital and are able to pick up marked-down assets. On the conference call, the Apollo team sounded very optimistic about the potential to find some great deals in this market.

On the valuation side, at $14.65, Apollo is now trading at around 17% below its NAV, and its $0.52 quarterly dividend works out to a 14%-plus yield. While this shows investors' expectation that Apollo will end up marking down its portfolio further and/or cutting its dividend, it could also be a nice entry point for those who think the investors at Apollo are savvy enough to deliver on their "patient yet opportunistic" promise.

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