Strait Trippin’: Iran Seizes Tanker, US Downs Drone

A month ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned American drone in the Strait of Hormuz.  Later that week, President Trump called off a retaliatory military attack on Iran at the last minute.  He explained the next day that he did not believe the loss of Iranian lives to be proportionate to the loss of a machine.  On Thursday, the United States appeared to level the score.  US Marines jammed an unmanned Iranian drone in the Strait, downing the aircraft and destroying it.  The incident reignited tensions between the two countries, which seem to be stumbling toward war.

Paper Bottles: A True Eco-Friendly Bottle to Keep the Environment Clean

Today, we fight a crucial battle against plastic pollution. We have technologies capable enough to suppress air pollution and clear water pollution. However, we still lack behind when comes to treat the plastic. The major reason that accelerates plastic pollutions is the over the manufacturing of plastic bottles for packaged drinking water and other beverages.

House Puts Partisan Differences Aside, Votes to Kill Cadillac Tax

It’s been a busy week on Capitol HillMaybe you’d heard.  Lost in the presidential politics and Democratic din, the House paused on Wednesday to finally deliver a bipartisan whooping to an unpopular element of the Affordable Care Act.  By a vote of 419-6, the so-called “Cadillac Tax” is no more, dead before it was allowed to begin.  The tax, designed to keep health care costs down, had early supporters in each party, but was widely opposed by both.

Rory McIlroy (8-1) Favorite in Loaded Open Championship

An absolutely loaded field heads to Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim this weekend to play for one of the oldest trophies in sports.  Amazingly, the Open Championship’s visit to Northern Ireland will be its first in 68 years.  So, it should come as little surprise that Ulsterman, and 2014 winner, Rory McIlroy, enters as the favorite (8-1) to lift the Claret Jug for the second time.  A field including fifteen former champions, and world #1 Brooks Koepka, will have to battle the challenging links course, some typically Irish weather, and themselves.

El Chapo: Life Imprisonment for the Mexican “Drug Emperor”

Today, a Mexican drug tycoon Joaquin Guzman, a 62-year-old,  known as El Chapo, has been sentenced to life in prison. Guzman managed to escape from a Mexican prison through a tunnel in 2015 but was later arrested and handed over to the United States in 2017. Guzman was the leader of the Sinaloa drug trafficking group in northern Mexico, which officials say it was the largest supplier of drugs to the United States.

99 Cents Only Stores Update – Restructuring News

This week, Durig Capital provides a brief update on 99 Cents Only Stores LLC, a deep discount retailer whose bonds we have reviewed in the past for our Fixed Income 2 (FX2) High Yield Managed Income Portfolio. 99 Cents Only Stores has recently been challenged by its outstanding debt obligations. Here are some of the highlights:

 

  • Deep discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores recently completed an arrangement with creditors which would eliminate many of their short term debt obligations.

  • Debt to equity swaps are a common method  companies use to improve liquidity.

  • Under the newly agreed upon terms, 99 Cents Only Stores will issue common and preferred stock for some of its outstanding debt.

 Recent Financial Statements

 

Founded in 1982, 99 Cents Only Stores LLC is the leading operator of extreme value stores in California and the Southwestern United States. The Company currently operates 391 stores located in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada. 99 Cents Only Stores LLC offers a broad assortment of name brand and other attractively priced merchandise and compelling seasonal product offerings

 Bridging the Cash Gap
 

After taking a bridge loan (short term loan) of $10 M and completing a recent rights offering, the company saw a cash infusion totaling $44 M.

 

The Debt to Equity Swap

 

In the agreement with its creditors, 99 Cents Only Stores appears to have resolved many near term debt issues and liquidity problems through a combination of rolling over some of their outstanding debt, a recent rights offering, and a bridge loan.

 

Under the terms of the debt to equity swap creditors agreed on, 99 Cents Only Stores will issue (Class A, B) and preferred stock for some of its outstanding $146 M second-lien term loan facility and $143 M of their 2022 secured bonds.
 

Improved Cash Flow + Liquidity
 

Receiving $34 M from their recent rights offering, the $10 M bridge loan and eliminating much of their debt obligations in a recent debt to equity swap has allowed 99 Cents Only Stores to not only reduce their annual cash / interest burden by $15 M, but should also improve their liquidity position and overall cash flow, and should result in improvements of their balance sheet.

 

No Longer in the 30-Day Grace Period
 

99 Cents Only Stores exercised its 30-day grace period to make the delayed payment of interest on its 11% Senior Notes due December of 2019.  It is the belief of some that the grace period was used to allow the company more time to reach an agreement with its creditors, with the bridge loan potentially aiding in the delayed payment of interest on their 2019 notes.
 

Although Standard & Poor’s recently lowered the company’s credit rating from CCC+ to CC,  it is very common for this to occur in the midst of a restructuring as credit rating agencies view any form of divergence from the credit agreement / prospectus as a technical default, even in the event of a restructuring where the company’s balance sheet is greatly improved as a result.
 

99 Cents Only Stores is an American price-point retailer chain based in Commerce, California. Previously, the store offered all products at 99¢ or less. Most products are now priced at “99.99¢ or less, but certain products are sold at higher price points.” Founded by Dave Gold in 1982, there are stores are located in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. The company also operates Bargain Wholesale, which sells wholesale to retailers across the United States and exports to more than 15 countries from showrooms in Los Angeles. It also exhibits at trade shows in Las Vegas and Chicago.

An Improved Outlook

 

In 99 Cents Only Stores’ recent earnings call, the company reported continued growth in the company’s ongoing operations and a significant deleveraging arrangement which should help to reduce some of the company’s outstanding debt obligations and position them for continued  execution of their strategic initiatives.

 

Another potential positive for 99 Cents Only Stores is that it operates within a growing sector, and has a similar business model to The Dollar General, another extreme discount retailer whose business has not appeared to have been hurt by Amazon’s online presence, nor Walmart’s massive space in the retail sector. Whether this trend continues is anyone’s guess, but at present it appears these types of deep discount retailers are still in strong demand.

Sign up to receive updates on 99 Cents Only Stores, Free Leading Financial News, Market Research, and much more!

captcha

Summary & Conclusion

 

Now, 99 Cents Only Stores appears to be in a very exciting position. The company’s recent influx of new cash and the completion of a significant reduction of some of its outstanding debt appear to have all come together and should result in higher cash generation and increased cash flow, an improved liquidity position, and clean up their balance sheet. 99 Cents Only Stores now looks to be positioned for solid execution of their ongoing business and continued growth.

 

Issuer:  99 Cents Only Stores

 

Disclosure: Durig Capital and certain clients may hold positions in 99 Cents Only Stores’ December 2019 bonds.

Disclaimer: Please note that all yield and price indications are shown from the time of our research.  Our reports are never an offer to buy or sell any security. We are not a broker/dealer, and reports are intended for distribution to our clients. The high yield strategies presented in this review by Durig Capital may not be suitable for all investors. This is not investment advice from Durig Capital, nor a specific recommendation to buy or sell securities. If you have any questions or concerns about its suitability for your personal investment, you should seek specific investment advice from a registered professional before making an investment decision.

Iran Refuses to Negotiate Its Ballistic Missile Program

The Iranian mission to the United Nations, Ali Reza Mir Yusuf, said Tehran’s ballistic missile program is not negotiable. His remarks came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of the Iranians’ readiness to discuss their missile program.

US President Donald Trump also said progress has been made in an effort to reduce tensions with Iran. Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically after Trump withdrew last year from the nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. In response, Iran began to breach some of the terms of the agreement.

Second Quarter Fundraising Separates Democratic Contenders and Pretenders

Following the first debates last month, polling for the Democratic presidential contenders coalesced around five main candidates.  Former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg put some distance between themselves and the rest of the two-dozen strong field.  Monday was Disclosure Day for the field, and sure enough, Biden, Bernie, Buttigieg, Warren, and Harris came out on top of the money race.  Money talks, of course.  Not always on its own, but often in echoes.  With debate requirements tightening in the fall, the second quarter numbers offer the best picture yet as to who will go the furthest and who might be going home the soonest.

Is Elizabeth Warren Taking the Leading in California?

The big prize for Democrats is California and many people thought Sen. Kamala Harris would be favored, especially after her strong debate performance. If not Harris, than possibly former Vice President Joe Biden or even Sen. Bernie Sanders who had good showing in the 2016 primary election, in the State of California. However, the latest poll had Sen. Elizabeth Warren in first place, Harris in second by only a very thin margin, with Biden now down to third. If Harris can’t secure her home state in the Primary, her chances of success are thin.

US Migrant Crisis: Donald Trump Toughens Asylum Rules

The United States government said yesterday it will never grant asylum to immigrants who did not request it in a “safe third country” in a new attempt to reduce the flow of migrants along the border with Mexico, mainly from Central America. Strict measures should reach migrants arriving along the Mexican border. Strict rules are making it difficult to grant benefits to applicants who have transited through other countries before arriving in the US.

Jon Corzine: After Overseeing One of America’s Worst Financial Failures, He’s in Charge of People’s Money Again!

After gaining one of the highest levels of public trust, and producing one of America’s worst ethical and financial failures, Jon Corzine is back working with client’s money again.

When I was growing up, I believed America was fair and honest and if you worked hard you could move ahead– and those who get caught cheating will pay a price. Well, now it appears you can get caught cheating, be in charge while over $800 million dollars of client’s money is lost forever, but if you’re well connected you’ll be back in business with a new hedge fund in a just few years. What a country!

As Debt Ceiling Approaches, Both Sides Scramble for July Deal

Just before the weekend, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dropped a bombshell to those paying attention to Friday news: the federal government may run out of cash by early September.  “Based on updated projections, there is a scenario in which we run out of cash in early September, before Congress reconvenes,” the secretary wrote in a letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.  “As such, I request that Congress increase the debt ceiling before Congress leaves for summer recess.”  Since then, Mnuchin and Pelosi have become besties, negotiating directly, and almost continuously, by phone.  Both sides want a deal before July 26, yet both sides remain far apart.

“It’s a Conspiracy Against Me” – South Africa’s Jacob Zuma Rejects Allegations of Crimes

In court testimony, Former South African President Jacob Zuma rejects allegations of crimes and claims to be the target of conspiracies to get him out of the picture. He is accused of corruption and involvement with entrepreneurs who had an influence in his government. Zuma denied a number of accusations against him on Monday. He said that for years he has been the target of conspiracies and attempts to destroy his reputation.

The Chief Rabbi of Sfat Defends Rafi Peretz for His Opposition to Parts of the Gay Agenda

The LBGTQ community went out July 14 in protest against the statements of Rafi Peretz, the newly selected Minister of Education in the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Minister Peretz, an Orthodox Jew, is firmly against Israel supporting surgeries for people to change their genders. As Minister of Education, Rafi Peretz feels it is important to provide therapy to those that are influenced to change their lives drastically and even to go through surgery to change their bodies to become transgender.

Donald Trump Accused of Racism for Attacking Congresswomen

US President Donald Trump faces a flurry of criticism following statements deemed racist about women politicians in the Democratic Party. Trump wrote in his Twitter account on Sunday:

“So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

As U.S.-Iran Tensions Mount, Europe Tries to Save the Deal

Amid ongoing saber rattling between the United States and Iran, two European envoys have been dispatched to attempt to save the Iran Nuclear Deal.  Emmanuel Bonne, representing French President Emmanuel Macron, was in Tehran this week, and British Foreign Minister (and Prime Ministerial candidate) Jeremy Hunt is headed for Brussels.  Meanwhile, Iran says it’s ready to talk, conditionally.  It seems unlikely the United States will be as willing to listen.

President Rouhani: Iran Will Negotiate If US Lifts Sanctions

President Hassan Rohani is ready for negotiations with the United States in order to stop efforts to punish his country economically. Amid tensions between Washington and Tehran, Germany, France and the United Kingdom called for responsible action. Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Sunday his country is ready to resume talks with the United States if Washington removes heavy economic sanctions against the country and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Right vs Left – Democracy in Israel is Tested Too

Democracy which is enjoyed by America, Israeli and the free world continually faces conflicts between the two sides left and right.  Democracy gives the right of both sides to interact peacefully but there is always conflicts over political control.  After President Trump won the election he revealed himself as a conservative Republican.  Republicans are generally more conservative than Democrats who are more liberal. Republicans can be conservative or liberal republican and democrats can be more or less liberal.

Britain Offers to Release Iranian Oil Tanker – Deescalating Tensions

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said an Iranian oil tanker being held by the British Royal Navy in the Straits of Gibraltar could be released if the United Kingdom will be guaranteed by Iran that the oil tanker would not go to Syria to deliver its cargo. The minister added that he had a “constructive” telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who informed him of Tehran’s desire to resolve the issue, and not to escalate the situation.

New Study Reveals Best Foods to Fight Malnutrition in Children

A diet rich in bananas, chickpeas, and peanuts improves intestinal bacteria in malnourished children, helping them to grow, according to scientific research published today: “Effects of microbiota-directed foods in gnotobiotic animals and undernourished children.” An American study of children in Bangladesh concluded that these foods specifically have the potential to promote healthy microbes in the body, which in turn help to grow bones, brain, and body.

Hurricane Barry: Tropical Storms and Floods Hits New Orleans

Hurricane Barry struck the mainland Saturday on Louisiana coast, causing heavy rains and high winds off the coast, southern United States. The natural phenomenon weakened into a tropical storm after it reached the Intracoastal City region, with winds up to 70 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The cities of New Orleans and Lafayette registered the first floods in streets and avenues, while thousands of people were removed from areas considered risky. Authorities have issued an announcement that the entire population remain inside their homes.

British Police Launch Investigation of Kim Darroch Memos Leak

British police have launched an investigation into an alleged leak of e-mails from the British ambassador in Washington criticizing the administration of US President Donald Trump. Deputy police commissioner Neil Basu said there was “clear public interest” in bringing officials to justice. Sir Kim Darroch resigned as an ambassador on Wednesday, saying it was “not possible” for him to continue.

380 Injured, Including School Children and 162 Killed this Week by Islamic Terrorists

One hundred and sixty two people were killed by Islamic terrorist attacks with a massive 380 injured in 34 attacks over the last week.  The number injured took a savage leap with the knowledge that a susuide car bomb went off next a school. The number of attacks per day increase from 32 over six days to 34 over the last seven days. The overall number of deaths decrease but the number by a single event was unconscionable.

Portland Mayor Criticized From the Right; Receives Challenger from the Left

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler did a lot of talking on Monday, but didn’t end up saying very much in his first press conference following an overseas vacation.  He said the dueling protests between far-left and far-right demonstrators, which frequently devolve in to violent street brawls, are a black mark against Portland’s reputation, yet offered no ideas on how to repair it.  He said he plans to discuss ways to better control future protests, yet offered no ideas of his own.  He offered no timetable for any solutions or ideas he might have alluded to, yet the city’s next outdoor MMA fight is scheduled for next Saturday.  While Wheeler has withstood a barrage of criticism, much of it from the out-of-state right, his battle for re-election was joined this week from the left.

New Study: Sugary Drinks May Raise Cancer Risk

French scientists say drinking sugary drinks such as juices and sodas may increase the risk of cancer. The results of the study were published in the British Medical Journal. The study tracked more than 100,000 people over five years. The research team at the Sorbonne-Western University in Paris speculated that sugary drinks may increase the risk of cancer because of blood sugar levels.

Wewgo Ball Bearings 608-2RS: Over 70% Fake Reviews on Amazon – by a Fake Company

We went through the reviews of Wewgo Ball Bearing 608-2RS and they had an incredible rating of 4.4 stars by Amazon. For this very high rating they were awarded an Amazon Choice Badge.

Having 4.4 stars made everything about this product look great, but there’s one major issue: The reviews were bought. Worst yet, over 70% of the total reviews for the Wewgo Ball Bearing 608-2RS were fake. Wewgo is another cheater!  It appears everything about Wewgo was set up from day one to be a consumer scam, more on that later.  Wewgo never deserved the Amazon Choice Badge.  We’ve asked Amazon publicly to remove fake advertisers /reviews from their platform but after many complaints about Ebanel (so far the most successful at being a serial perpetrator of consumer fraud), they haven’t even removed the Amazon verified fake reviews or Amazon’s Choice Badge!

Operation Ghost Stories: The True Story of the Russian Illegals Portrayed in FX’s The Americans

Russian state sponsored television aired a spook program this week. Russia (the government’s official channel) televised an exclusive interview with retired Colonel Elena Vavilova (aka Tracey Foley) and her husband Andrey Bezrukov (aka Donald Hattfield). These two agents were arrested by the FBI on June 27, 2010 at their residence in Massachusetts and charged with espionage.

House Votes to Restrain Presidential War Powers; Trump Threatens Veto

On Friday, in “the most important foreign policy vote in the United States Congress,” the Democrat-controlled House voted to reauthorize the often-contentious National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)— and tied President Trump’s war-making hands in doing so.  Twenty Republicans voted with the majority on a bipartisan amendment to require the president to get congressional approval before attacking Iran.  The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces long odds, and the threat of a presidential veto.

Turkey Risks US Sanctions After Buying Russian S-400 Missiles

The Turkish Defense Ministry said on Friday that they have received the first Russian air defense system S-400. The delivery was made earlier today with the equipment reaching an air base northwest of the capital Ankara, the ministry said. The purchase angered the United States, Turkey’s ally. The United States has warned Turkey that it may face sanctions because of the purchase, including denial of access to US F-35 fighter jets.

Egyptian Independence Days Celebrated in Israel – 1952 and 2013

Egypt celebrated Independence Day on July 11 the 66th year when Egypt became a republic. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Riblin of Israel attended celebrations at the Egyptian embassy. Egypt is a peaceful neighbor of Israel since the peace treaty of 1979. Netanyahu spoke that they are working forward toward expanding the Gas line from Israel to Egypt and their commitments to prosperity security and peace in the Middle East.

Norway Detects Radiation Leak From Soviet Nuclear Submarine

Norway has detected a radiation level 800,000 times greater than normal in the sinking of a Russian military submarine. The Soviet-era vessel sank in the Norwegian Sea in 1989, when a fire on board killed 42 sailors.

The Norwegian team’s analysis showed radioactive cesium leaking from a ventilation tube on the submarine, called Komsomolets. According to Hilde Elise Heldal researcher, the problem is not alarming for the time being, as Arctic waters rapidly dilute radioactive material. Komsomolets is also located in a very deep sea, at 1680m deep, and there are few fish in the area, says Heldal.

Sudan Crisis: Ruling Military Foils Coup Attempt

Sudan’s ruling transitional military has foiled a “coup attempt” aimed at “blocking the deal” with opposition representatives. The head of the Security Committee Council, Jamal Omar Ibrahim, said that a number of officers and soldiers has been arrested.

The announcement of the attempted coup failed after the agreement of the military council and opposition representatives to end the political deadlock in the country. Ibrahim said that 12 officers were arrested, including seven in service and five in pensions and four officers were detained.

Trapped at a Wisconsin Technical College! Provost Slams Teachers and Donors; “Our Only Choices Are to Retire or Die”

Gateway Technical College sits on the banks of Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin. The college covers three counties in southeastern Wisconsin including Kenosha, Racine and Walworth. Gateway bills itself as a “model college,” offering 65 programs and claiming to have a “near 100% student satisfaction rate” with its 21,000 students. With these kinds of numbers it’s easy to assume the college is a dynamic and innovate place to study and work.

Southwest Border Migration Recorded a Sharp Drop of 28% in 2019

Is President Donald Trump’s new policy with Mexico working?  Or is the seasonal drop in migration due to the weather?

First, if you take the May to June average for the last five years of Southern Border illegal migration and end prior to this year or 2018, the average seasonal drop is 9%. Without a doubt, there seems to be something real going on because it just dropped around 300% more than the average season decline.

Four Arrested in Puerto Rico Corruption Probe; Federal Funds in Danger

Two former government officials were arrested Wednesday as a massive corruption indictment was unsealed by U.S. authorities.  Julia Keleher, former secretary of education on the island, and Angela Avila-Marrero, who managed Puerto Rico’s Health Insurance Administration, were arrested by FBI agents, along with four other people.  The two are accused of directing $15.5 million in government contracts to businesses with which they had ties.  Corruption has plagued the island for years, and could complicate matters as it asks for disaster assistance and money to fund basic services.

Birth Canal Bacteria Linked to Risk of Female Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is terrible because it is more deadly once it develops, and it is often too late to find it. With breast cancer, regular screening and prevention can be done early and early treatment can be effective.

However, the researchers said that vaginal swabs can be used to understand the bacteria in women’s vagina. Therefore, researchers hope that this new discovery can be used in the future to identify which women are at higher risk. The findings were published in the Lancet Oncology journal.

France Approves Digital Tax on Google and Facebook

France’s parliament approved legislation to impose a three-percent tax on Internet and technology companies like Google and Facebook to re-establishing financial justice, says Justice Minister Bruno Le Mayer. The 3% tax will be levied on the sales of multinational companies in France. The French Senate passed a new tax on Thursday, one week after the National Assembly approved it.

Med Hurricane “Medicane” in Greece Leaves Dozens with Injuries

Six tourists died and more than 30 were injured during a small hurricane, which unexpectedly struck late on Wednesday at Halkidiki resorts in northern Greece, near Thessaloniki. Powerful wind gusts, rain, and storm tore the roofs off buildings, overturned cars and caused flooding in hotels. Authorities declared an emergency with more than 100 rescue workers at the disaster’s site.