Hercules Capital
HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL INC (Form: 10-K, Received: 03/29/2011 17:03:45)
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010

OR

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from              to             

Commission File No. 814-00702

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Maryland   74-3113410

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310 Palo Alto, California 94301

(Address of principal executive offices)

(650) 289-3060

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12 (b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Shares, par value $0.001 per share   NASDAQ Global Select Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes   ¨     No   x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes   ¨     No   x

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days:    YES   x     NO   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S- during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes   ¨     No   ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of “accelerated filer, large accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

Large accelerated filer   ¨       Accelerated filer   x       Non-accelerated filer   ¨       Smaller reporting company   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes   ¨     No   x

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter was approximately $270.5 million based upon a closing price of $9.21 reported for such date on the NASDAQ Select Global Market. Common shares held by each executive officer and director and by each person who owns 5% or more of the outstanding common shares have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not intended and shall not be deemed to be an admission that such persons are affiliates of the Registrant.

The number of outstanding common shares of the registrant as of March 25, 2011 was 43,507,791

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Documents incorporated by reference: Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for its 2011 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed within 120 days after the close of the registrant’s year end are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL, INC. FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT

 

            Page  
Part I.   
Item 1.    Business      1   
Item 1A.    Risk Factors      26   
Item 1B.    Unresolved SEC Staff Comments      52   
Item 2.    Properties      52   
Item 3.    Legal Proceedings      52   
Item 4.    Reserved      52   
Part II.   
Item 5.   

Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

     53   
Item 6.    Selected Consolidated Financial Data      57   
Item 7.    Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations      58   
Item 7A.    Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk      82   
Item 8.    Financial Statements and Supplementary Data      84   
Item 9.    Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.      141   
Item 9A.    Controls and Procedures      141   
Item 9B.    Other Information      143   
Part III.   
Item 10.    Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance      144   
Item 11.    Executive Compensation      144   
Item 12.   

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

     144   
Item 13.    Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence      144   
Item 14.    Principal Accountant Fees and Services      144   
Part IV.   
Item 15.    Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules      145   
Signatures      150   

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc., our logo and other trademarks of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. are the property of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. All other trademarks or trade names referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective owners.


Table of Contents

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or Annual Report, the “Company,” “HTGC,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries and its affiliated securitization trusts unless the context otherwise requires.

PART I

 

Item 1. Business

GENERAL

We are a specialty finance company that provides debt and equity growth capital to technology-related companies at various stages of development from seed and emerging growth to expansion and established stages of development, which include select publicly listed companies and lower middle market companies. We primarily finance privately-held companies backed by leading venture capital and private equity firms and also may finance certain select publicly-traded companies that lack access to public capital or are sensitive to equity ownership dilution. We source our investments through our principal office located in Silicon Valley, as well as through our additional offices in Boston and Boulder.

We also make investments in qualifying small businesses through two wholly-owned, small business investment company (“SBIC”) subsidiaries, Hercules Technology II, L.P. (“HT II”) and Hercules Technology III, L.P. (“HT III”). As SBICs, HT II and HT III are subject to a variety of regulations concerning, among other things, the size and nature of the companies in which they may invest and the structure of those investments. As of December 31, 2010, we held investments in HT II in 51 companies with a fair value of approximately $155.3 million. HT II’s portfolio companies accounted for approximately 32.9% of our total portfolio at December 31, 2010. As of December 31, 2010, we held investments in HT III in eight companies with a fair value of approximately $50.3 million. HT III’s portfolio accounted for approximately 10.7% of our total portfolio at December 31, 2010.

Our goal is to be the leading structured debt financing provider of choice for venture capital and private equity-backed technology-related companies requiring sophisticated and customized financing solutions. Our strategy is to evaluate and invest in a broad range of technology-related companies including clean technology, life sciences and lower middle market companies and to offer a full suite of growth capital products up and down the capital structure. We invest primarily in structured debt with warrants and, to a lesser extent, in senior debt and equity investments. We use the term “structured debt with warrants” to refer to any debt investment, such as a senior or subordinated secured loan, that is coupled with an equity component, including warrants, options or rights to purchase common or preferred stock. Our structured debt with warrants investments will typically be secured by select or all of the assets of the portfolio company.

We focus our investments in companies active in the technology industry sub-sectors characterized by products or services that require advanced technologies, including, but not limited to, computer software and hardware, networking systems, semiconductors, semiconductor capital equipment, information technology infrastructure or services, Internet consumer and business services, telecommunications, telecommunications equipment, renewable or alternative energy, media and life sciences. Within the life sciences sub-sector, we generally focus on medical devices, bio-pharmaceutical, drug discovery, drug delivery, health care services and information systems companies. Within the clean technology sub-sector, we focus on sustainable and renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency and monitoring technologies. We refer to all of these companies as “technology-related” companies and intend, under normal circumstances, to invest at least 80% of the value of our assets in such businesses.

Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolio total return by generating current income from our debt investments and capital appreciation from our equity-related investments. Our primary business objectives

 

1


Table of Contents

are to increase our net income, net operating income and net asset value by investing in structured debt with warrants and equity of venture capital and private equity backed technology-related companies with attractive current yields and the potential for equity appreciation and realized gains. Our structured debt investments typically include warrants or other equity interests, giving us the potential to realize equity-like returns on a portion of our investments. Our equity ownership in our portfolio companies may represent a controlling interest. In some cases, we receive the right to make additional equity investments in our portfolio companies in connection with future equity financing rounds. Capital that we provide directly to venture capital and private equity backed technology-related companies is generally used for growth and general working capital purposes as well as in select cases for acquisitions or recapitalizations.

Our portfolio is comprised of, and we anticipate that our portfolio will continue to be comprised of, investments in technology-related companies at various stages of development. Consistent with regulatory requirements, we invest primarily in United States based companies and to a lesser extent in foreign companies. Since 2007, our investing emphasis has been primarily on private companies following or in connection with a subsequent institutional round of equity financing, which we refer to as expansion-stage companies and private companies in later rounds of financing and certain public companies, which we refer to as established-stage companies and lower middle market companies. We have also historically focused our investment activities in private companies following or in connection with the first institutional round of financing, which we refer to as emerging-growth companies.

CURRENT ECONOMIC AND MARKET ENVIRONMENT

The global capital markets have experienced a period of disruption as evidenced by a lack of liquidity in the debt capital markets, write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk and the failure of certain major financial institutions. Despite actions of the United States federal government and foreign governments, these events contributed to worsening general economic conditions that have materially and adversely impacted the broader financial and credit markets and reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and financial services firms in particular. While indicators suggest improvement in the capital markets, these conditions could deteriorate in the future. During such market disruptions, we may have difficulty raising debt or equity capital especially as a result of regulatory constraints.

At the same time, the venture capital market for the technology-related companies in which we invest has been active and is continuing to show signs of increased investment activity in 2010 as compared to 2009. Therefore, to the extent we have capital available, we believe this is an opportune time to invest in the structured lending market for technology-related companies. Today’s economy creates potentially new attractive lending opportunities and we believe that the market for technology-related companies in 2011 is improving as evidenced by the improved IPO market in 2010 as compared to the previous two years.

CORPORATE HISTORY AND OFFICES

We are a Maryland Corporation formed in December 2003 that began investment operations in September 2004. We are an internally managed, non-diversified, closed-end investment company that has elected to be treated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act, as amended, or the “1940 Act”. As a business development company, we are required to meet various regulatory tests. A business development company is required to invest at least 70% of its total assets in “qualifying assets,” including securities of private and thinly traded public U.S. companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. A business development company also must meet a coverage ratio of total net assets to total senior securities, which include all of our borrowings (including accrued interest payable) except for debentures issued by the Small Business Administration, and any preferred stock we may issue in the future, of at least 200% subsequent to each borrowing or issuance of senior securities. See “Item 1. Business—Regulation as a Business Development Company”.

 

2


Table of Contents

From incorporation through December 31, 2005, we were taxed as a corporation under Subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended, or the “Code”. We have elected to be treated for federal income tax purposes as a regulated investment company, or “RIC,” under the Code. In order to continue to qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes, we must meet certain requirements, including certain minimum distribution requirements. See “Item 1. Business—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.”

Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310, Palo Alto, California 94301 and our telephone number is (650) 289-3060. We also have additional offices in Boston and Boulder. We maintain a website on the Internet at www.herculestech.com . Information contained in our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report, and you should not consider that information as part of this Annual Report. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our current reports on Form 8-K, as well as any amendments to those reports, are available free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file them with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). These reports are also available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov .

OUR MARKET OPPORTUNITY

We believe that technology-related companies compete in one of the largest and most rapidly growing sectors of the U.S. economy and that continued growth is supported by ongoing innovation and performance improvements in technology products as well as the adoption of technology across virtually all industries in response to competitive pressures. We believe that an attractive market opportunity exists for a specialty finance company focused primarily on investments in structured debt with warrants in technology-related companies for the following reasons:

 

   

Technology-related companies have generally been underserved by traditional lending sources;

 

   

Unfulfilled demand exists for structured debt financing to technology-related companies as the number of lenders has declined due to the recent financial market turmoil;

 

   

Structured debt with warrants products are less dilutive and complement equity financing from venture capital and private equity funds; and

 

   

Valuations currently assigned to technology-related companies in private financing rounds generally decreased since 2008 as a result of the turmoil in the general market and should provide a good opportunity for attractive capital returns.

Technology-Related Companies are Under served by Traditional Lenders. We believe many viable technology-related companies backed by financial sponsors have been unable to obtain sufficient growth financing from traditional lenders, including financial services companies such as commercial banks and finance companies because traditional lenders have continued to consolidate and have adopted a more risk-averse approach to lending. More importantly, we believe traditional lenders are typically unable to underwrite the risk associated with financial sponsor-backed emerging growth or expansion stage companies effectively.

The unique cash flow characteristics of many technology-related companies include significant research and development expenditures and high projected revenue growth thus often making such companies difficult to evaluate from a credit perspective. In addition, the balance sheets of emerging-growth and expansion-stage companies often include a disproportionately large amount of intellectual property assets, which can be difficult to value. Finally, the speed of innovation in technology and rapid shifts in consumer demand and market share add to the difficulty in evaluating technology-related companies.

Due to the difficulties described above, we believe traditional lenders are generally refraining from entering the structured mezzanine marketplace, instead preferring the risk-reward profile of asset based lending. Traditional lenders generally do not have flexible product offerings that meet the needs of technology-related

 

3


Table of Contents

companies. The financing products offered by traditional lenders typically impose on borrowers many restrictive covenants and conditions, including limiting cash outflows and requiring a significant depository relationship to facilitate rapid liquidation.

Unfulfilled Demand for Structured Debt Financing to Technology-Related Companies. Private debt capital in the form of structured debt financing from specialty finance companies continues to be an important source of funding for technology-related companies. We believe that the level of demand for structured debt financing is a function of the level of annual venture equity investment activity. In 2010, venture capital-backed companies received, in 2,799 transactions, equity financing in an aggregate amount of approximately $26.3 billion, representing an 11.4% increase from the preceding year, as reported by Dow Jones VentureSource. In addition, overall, the median round size in 2010 was approximately $4.5 million, down from $5.0 million in 2009. Even though the median round of financing has decreased, we believe the larger number of companies provides us a greater opportunity to provide debt financing to these venture backed companies. Overall, seed- and first-round deals made up 37% of the deal flow in 2010, and later-stage deals made up roughly 42% of all capital invested.

We believe that demand for structured debt financing is currently under served, in part because of the credit market collapse in 2008 and the resulting exit of debt capital providers to technology-related companies during 2008 and 2009. The venture capital market for the technology-related companies in which we invest has been active and is continuing to show signs of increased investment activity in 2010 as compared to 2009. In addition, lending requirements of traditional lenders have become more stringent due to the significant write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk in the broadly syndicated market and the financial turmoil affecting the banking system and financial market, which have negatively impacted the debt and equity capital market in the United States and most other markets. At the same time, the venture capital market for the technology-related companies in which we invest has continued to be active. Therefore, to the extent we have capital available, we believe this is an opportune time to be active in the structured lending market for technology-related companies.

Structured Debt with Warrants Products Complement Equity Financing From Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds. We believe that technology-related companies and their financial sponsors will continue to view structured debt securities as an attractive source of capital because it augments the capital provided by venture capital and private equity funds. We believe that our structured debt with warrants product provides access to growth capital that otherwise may only be available through incremental investments by existing equity investors. As such, we provide portfolio companies and their financial sponsors with an opportunity to diversify their capital sources. Generally, we believe technology-related companies at all stages of development target a portion of their capital to be debt in an attempt to achieve a higher valuation through internal growth. In addition, because financial sponsor-backed companies have reached a more mature stage prior to reaching a liquidity event, we believe our investments could provide the debt capital needed to grow or recapitalize during the extended period prior to liquidity events.

OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY

Our strategy to achieve our investment objective includes the following key elements:

Leverage the Experience and Industry Relationships of Our Management Team and Investment Professionals. We have assembled a team of experienced investment professionals with extensive experience as venture capitalists, commercial lenders, and originators of structured debt and equity investments in technology-related companies. Our managing directors have, on average, more than 15 years of experience as equity investors in, and/or lenders to, technology-related companies. Our team members have originated structured debt, debt with warrants and equity investments in over 150 technology-related companies, representing over $2.1 billion in commitments, and have developed a network of industry contacts with investors and other participants within the venture capital and private equity communities. In addition, members of our management team also

 

4


Table of Contents

have operational, research and development and finance experience with technology-related companies. We have established contacts with leading venture capital and private equity fund sponsors, public and private companies, research institutions and other industry participants, which should enable us to identify and attract well-positioned prospective portfolio companies.

We concentrate our investing activities generally in industries in which our investment professionals have investment experience. We believe that our focus on financing technology-related companies will enable us to leverage our expertise in structuring prospective investments, to assess the value of both tangible and intangible assets, to evaluate the business prospects and operating characteristics of technology-related companies and to identify and originate potentially attractive investments with these types of companies.

Mitigate Risk of Principal Loss and Build a Portfolio of Equity-Related Securities. We expect that our investments have the potential to produce attractive risk adjusted returns through current income, in the form of interest and fee income, as well as capital appreciation from equity-related securities. We believe that we can mitigate the risk of loss on our debt investments through the combination of loan principal amortization, cash interest payments, relatively short maturities, security interests in the assets of our portfolio companies, and on select investment covenants requiring prospective portfolio companies to have certain amounts of available cash at the time of our investment and the continued support from a venture capital or private equity firm at the time we make our investment.

Historically our structured debt investments to technology-related companies typically include warrants or other equity interests, giving us the potential to realize equity-like returns on a portion of our investment. In addition, in some cases, we receive the right to make additional equity investments in our portfolio companies in connection with future equity financing rounds. We believe these equity interests will create the potential for meaningful long-term capital gains in connection with the future liquidity events of these technology-related companies.

Provide Customized Financing Complementary to Financial Sponsors’ Capital. We offer a broad range of investment structures and possess expertise and experience to effectively structure and price investments in technology-related companies. Unlike many of our competitors that only invest in companies that fit a specific set of investment parameters, we have the flexibility to structure our investments to suit the particular needs of our portfolio companies. We offer customized financing solutions ranging from senior debt to equity capital, with a focus on structured debt with warrants.

We use our relationships in the financial sponsor community to originate investment opportunities. Because venture capital and private equity funds typically invest solely in the equity securities of their portfolio companies, we believe that our debt investments will be viewed as an attractive and complimentary source of capital, both by the portfolio company and by the portfolio company’s financial sponsor. In addition, we believe that many venture capital and private equity fund sponsors encourage their portfolio companies to use debt financing for a portion of their capital needs as a means of potentially enhancing equity returns, minimizing equity dilution and increasing valuations prior to a subsequent equity financing round or a liquidity event.

Invest at Various Stages of Development. We provide growth capital to technology-related companies at all stages of development, from emerging-growth companies, to expansion-stage companies and established-stage companies, including select publicly listed companies and lower middle market companies. We believe that this provides us with a broader range of potential investment opportunities than those available to many of our competitors, who generally focus their investments on a particular stage in a company’s development. Because of the flexible structure of our investments and the extensive experience of our investment professionals, we believe we are well positioned to take advantage of these investment opportunities at all stages of prospective portfolio companies’ development.

Benefit from Our Efficient Organizational Structure. We believe that the perpetual nature of our corporate structure enables us to be a long-term partner for our portfolio companies in contrast to traditional mezzanine and

 

5


Table of Contents

investment funds, which typically have a limited life. In addition, because of our access to the equity markets, we believe that we may benefit from a lower cost of capital than that available to private investment funds. We are not subject to requirements to return invested capital to investors nor do we have a finite investment horizon. Capital providers that are subject to such limitations are often required to seek a liquidity event more quickly than they otherwise might, which can result in a lower overall return on an investment.

Deal Sourcing Through Our Proprietary Database. We have developed a proprietary and comprehensive structured query language-based (SQL) database system to track various aspects of our investment process including sourcing, originations, transaction monitoring and post-investment performance. As of December 31, 2010, our proprietary SQL-based database system included over 20,000 technology-related companies and approximately 4,800 venture capital, private equity sponsors/investors, as well as various other industry contacts. This proprietary SQL system allows us to maintain, cultivate and grow our industry relationships while providing us with comprehensive details on companies in the technology-related industries and their financial sponsors.

OUR INVESTMENTS AND OPERATIONS

We principally invest in debt securities and, to a lesser extent, equity securities, with a particular emphasis on structured debt with warrants.

We generally seek to invest in companies that have been operating for at least six to 12 months prior to the date of our investment. We anticipate that such entities may, at the time of investment, be generating revenues or will have a business plan that anticipates generation of revenues within 24 to 48 months. Further, we anticipate that on the date of our investment we will generally obtain a lien on available assets, which may or may not include intellectual property, and these companies will have sufficient cash on their balance sheet to operate as well as potentially amortize their debt for at least three to nine months following our investment. We generally require that a prospective portfolio company, in addition to having sufficient capital to support leverage, demonstrate an operating plan capable of generating cash flows or raising the additional capital necessary to cover its operating expenses and service its debt, for an additional six to 12 months subject to market conditions.

We expect that our investments will generally range from $1.0 million to $25.0 million. We typically structure our debt securities to provide for amortization of principal over the life of the loan, but may include an interest-only period of three to 12 months for emerging growth and expansion-stage companies and longer for established-stage companies. Our loans will be collateralized by a security interest in the borrower’s assets, although we may not have the first claim on these assets and the assets may not include intellectual property. Our debt investments carry fixed or variable contractual interest rates which generally range from Prime to 14.02% as of December 31, 2010. As of December 31, 2010, 81.6% of our loans were at floating rates or floating rates with a floor and 18.4% of the loans were at fixed rates. In addition to the cash yields received on our loans, in some instances, certain loans may also include any of the following: end of term payments, exit fees, balloon payment fees, success fees, payment-in-kind (“PIK”) provisions or prepayment fees, which we may be required to include in income prior to receipt. We also generate revenue in the form of commitment and facility fees.

In addition, the majority of our venture capital-backed companies structured debt investments generally have equity enhancement features, typically in the form of warrants or other equity-related securities designed to provide us with an opportunity for potential capital appreciation. The warrants typically will be immediately exercisable upon issuance and generally will remain exercisable for the lesser of five to seven years or one to three years after completion of an initial public offering. The exercise prices for the warrants varies from nominal exercise prices to exercise prices that are at or above the current fair market value of the equity for which we receive warrants. We may structure warrants to provide minority rights provisions or on a very select basis put rights upon the occurrence of certain events. We generally target a total annualized return (including interest, fees and value of warrants) of 12% to 25% for our debt investments.

 

6


Table of Contents

Typically, our structured debt and equity investments take one of the following forms:

 

   

Structured debt with warrants. We seek to invest a majority of our assets in structured debt with warrants of prospective portfolio companies. Traditional “mezzanine” debt is a layer of high-coupon financing between debt and equity that most commonly takes the form of subordinated debt coupled with warrants, combining the cash flow and risk characteristics of both senior debt and equity. However, our investments in structured debt with warrants may be the only debt capital on the balance sheet of our portfolio companies, and in many cases we have a first priority security interest in all of our portfolio company’s assets, or in certain investments we may have a negative pledge on intellectual property. Our structured debt with warrants typically have maturities of between two and seven years, with full amortization after an interest only period for emerging-growth or expansion-stage companies and longer deferred amortization for select established-stage companies. Our structured debt with warrants generally carry a contractual interest rate between Prime and 14.02% and may include an additional end-of-term payment or PIK between $1.0 million and $25.0 million. In most cases we collateralize our investments by obtaining security interests in our portfolio companies’ assets, which may include their intellectual property. In other cases we may prohibit a company from pledging or otherwise encumbering their intellectual property. We may structure our structured debt with warrants with restrictive affirmative and negative covenants, default penalties, prepayment penalties, lien protection, equity calls, change-in-control provisions or board observation rights.

 

   

Senior Debt. We seek to invest a limited portion of our assets in senior debt. Senior debt may be collateralized by accounts receivable and/or inventory financing of prospective portfolio companies. Senior debt has a senior position with respect to a borrower’s scheduled interest and principal payments and holds a first priority security interest in the assets pledged as collateral. Senior debt also may impose covenants on a borrower with regard to cash flows and changes in capital structure, among other items. We generally collateralize our investments by obtaining security interests in our portfolio companies’ assets, which may include their intellectual property. In other cases we may obtain a negative pledge covering a company’s intellectual property. Our senior loans, in certain instances, may be tied to the financing of specific assets. In connection with a senior debt investment, we may also provide the borrower with a working capital line-of-credit that will carry an interest rate ranging from Prime or LIBOR plus a spread with a floor, generally maturing in one to three years, and will be secured by accounts receivable and/or inventory.

 

   

Equipment Loans. We intend to invest a limited portion of our assets in equipment-based loans to early-stage prospective portfolio companies. Equipment-based loans are secured by a first priority security interest in only the specific assets financed. These loans are generally for amounts up to $3.0 million but may be up to $15.0 million for certain clean technology venture investments, carry a contractual interest rate between Prime and Prime plus 10%, and have an average term between three and four years. Equipment loans may also include end of term payments.

 

   

Equity-Related Securities. The equity-related securities we hold consist primarily of warrants or other equity interests generally obtained in connection with our structured debt investments. In addition to the warrants received as a part of a structured debt financing, we typically receive the right to make equity investments in a portfolio company in connection with that company’s next round of equity financing. We may also on certain debt investments have the right to convert a portion of the debt investment into equity. These rights will provide us with the opportunity to further enhance our returns over time through opportunistic equity investments in our portfolio companies. These equity-related investments are typically in the form of preferred or common equity and may be structured with a dividend yield, providing us with a current return, and with customary anti-dilution protection and preemptive rights. In the future, we may achieve liquidity through a merger or acquisition of a portfolio company, a public offering of a portfolio company’s stock or by exercising our right, if any, to require a portfolio company to buy back the equity-related securities we hold. We may also make stand alone direct equity investments into portfolio companies in which we may not have any debt investment in the company. As of December 31, 2010, we held equity interests in 42 portfolio companies.

 

7


Table of Contents

A comparison of the typical features of our various investment alternatives is set forth in the chart below.

 

      Senior Debt   Structured debt with
warrants
  Equipment Loans   Equity related
Securities

Typical Structure

  Term or revolving
debt
 

Term debt with
warrants

 

  Term debt with
warrants
  Preferred stock or
common stock

Investment
Horizon

  Usually under 3
years
 

Long term, ranging
from 2 to 7 years,
with an average of
3 years

 

  Ranging from 3 to 4
years
  Ranging from 3 to 7
years

Ranking/Security

  Senior/First lien  

Senior secured,
either first out or
last out, or second lien

 

  Secured only by
underlying
equipment
  None/unsecured

Covenants

 

Generally

borrowing base
and financial

 

Less restrictive;
Mostly financial;
Maintenance-based

 

  None   None

Risk Tolerance

  Low  

Medium/High

 

  High   High

Coupon/Dividend

  Cash pay—floating
or fixed rate
 

Cash pay—fixed
and floating rate;
Payment-in-kind in
limited cases

 

  Cash pay-floating
or fixed rate and
may include
Payment-in-kind
  Generally none

Customization or Flexibility

 

  Little to none   More flexible   Little to none   Flexible

Equity Dilution

  None to low  

Low to medium

 

  Low   High

Investment Criteria

We have identified several criteria, among others, that we believe are important in achieving our investment objective with respect to prospective portfolio companies. These criteria, while not inclusive, provide general guidelines for our investment decisions.

Portfolio Composition. While we generally focus our investments in venture capital and private equity-backed technology-related companies, we seek to diversify across various financial sponsors as well as across various stages of companies’ development and various technology industry sub-sectors and geographies. During 2010, we began increasing our investments in lower middle market companies that may be or are approaching an operational level where they are EBITDA positive and possibly cash flow positive thereby decreasing their reliance on additional venture capital or private equity investments. At December 31, 2010, our investments in lower middle market companies accounted for approximately 40% of our total investments.

Continuing Support from One or More Financial Sponsors. We generally invest in companies in which one or more established financial sponsors have previously invested and continue to make a contribution to the management of the business. We believe that having established financial sponsors with meaningful commitments to the business is a key characteristic of a prospective portfolio company. In addition, we look for representatives of one or more financial sponsors to maintain seats on the Board of Directors of a prospective portfolio company as an indication of such commitment.

 

8


Table of Contents

Company Stage of Development. While we invest in companies at various stages of development, we generally require that prospective portfolio companies be beyond the seed stage of development and generally have received or anticipate to have commitments for their first institutional round of equity financing for early stage companies. Starting in 2008, we began shifting our focus to expansion and established-stage companies that have revenues or significant anticipated revenue growth. We expect a prospective portfolio company to demonstrate progress in its product development or demonstrate a path towards revenue generation or increase its revenues and operating cash flow over time. The anticipated growth rate of a prospective portfolio company is a key factor in determining the value that we ascribe to any warrants or other equity securities that we may acquire in connection with an investment in debt securities.

Operating Plan. We generally require that a prospective portfolio company, in addition to having potential access to capital to support leverage, demonstrate an operating plan capable of generating cash flows or the ability to potentially raise the additional capital necessary to cover its operating expenses and service its debt for a specific period. Specifically, we require that a prospective portfolio company demonstrate at the time of our proposed investment that it has cash on its balance sheet, or is in the process of completing a financing so that it will have cash on its balance sheet, sufficient to support its operations for a minimum of three to nine months.

Security Interest. In many instances we seek a first priority security interest in all of the portfolio company’s tangible and intangible assets as collateral for our debt investment, subject in some cases to permitted exceptions. In other cases we may obtain a negative pledge prohibiting a company from pledging or otherwise encumbering their intellectual property. Although we do not intend to operate as an asset-based lender, the estimated liquidation value of the assets, if any, collateralizing the debt securities that we hold is an important factor in our credit analysis and subject to assumptions that may change over the life of the investment especially when attempting to estimate the value of intellectual property. We generally evaluate both tangible assets, such as accounts receivable, inventory and equipment, and intangible assets, such as intellectual property, customer lists, networks and databases.

Covenants. Our investments may include one or more of the following covenants; cross-default, or material adverse change provisions, require the portfolio company to provide periodic financial reports and operating metrics and will typically limit the portfolio company’s ability to incur additional debt, sell assets, dividend recapture, engage in transactions with affiliates and consummate an extraordinary transaction, such as a merger or recapitalization without our consent. In addition, we may require other performance or financial based covenants, as we deem appropriate.

Exit Strategy. Prior to making a debt investment that is accompanied by an equity-related security in a prospective portfolio company, we analyze the potential for that company to increase the liquidity of its equity through a future event that would enable us to realize appreciation in the value of our equity interest. Liquidity events may include an initial public offering, a private sale of our equity interest to a third party, a merger or an acquisition of the company or a purchase of our equity position by the company or one of its stockholders.

Investment Process

We have organized our management team around the four key elements of our investment process:

 

   

Origination;

 

   

Underwriting;

 

   

Documentation; and

 

   

Loan and Compliance Administration.

 

9


Table of Contents

Our investment process is summarized in the following chart:

LOGO

Origination

The origination process for our investments includes sourcing, screening, preliminary due diligence and deal structuring and negotiation, all leading to an executed non-binding term sheet. Our investment origination team, which consists of approximately 27 investment professionals, is headed by our Senior Managing Directors of Technology and Life Science, and our Chief Executive Officer. The origination team is responsible for sourcing potential investment opportunities and members of the investment origination team use their extensive relationships with various leading financial sponsors, management contacts within technology-related companies, trade sources, technology conferences and various publications to source prospective portfolio companies. Our investment origination team is divided into middle market, technology and life sciences sub-teams to better source potential portfolio companies.

In addition, we have developed a proprietary and comprehensive SQL-based database system to track various aspects of our investment process including sourcing, originations, transaction monitoring and post-investment performance. As of December 31, 2010, our proprietary SQL-based database system included over 20,000 technology-related companies and approximately 4,800 venture capital private equity sponsors/investors, as well as various other industry contacts. This proprietary SQL system allows our origination team to maintain, cultivate and grow our industry relationships while providing our origination team with comprehensive details on companies in the technology-related industries and their financial sponsors.

If a prospective portfolio company generally meets certain underwriting criteria, we perform preliminary due diligence, which may include high level company and technology assessments, evaluation of its financial sponsors’ support, market analysis, competitive analysis, identify key management, risk analysis and transaction size, pricing, return analysis and structure analysis. If the preliminary due diligence is satisfactory, and the origination team recommends moving forward, we then structure, negotiate and execute a non-binding term sheet with the potential portfolio company. Upon execution of a term sheet, the investment opportunity moves to the underwriting process to complete formal due diligence review and approval.

 

10


Table of Contents

Underwriting

The underwriting review includes formal due diligence and approval of the proposed investment in the portfolio company.

Due Diligence. Our due diligence on a prospective investment is typically completed by two or more investment professionals whom we define as the underwriting team. The underwriting team for a proposed investment consists of the deal sponsor who typically possesses general industry knowledge and is responsible for originating and managing the transaction, other investment professional(s) who perform due diligence, credit and corporate financial analyses and, as needed, our Chief Legal Officer and other legal professionals. To ensure consistent underwriting, we generally use our standardized due diligence methodologies, which include due diligence on financial performance and credit risk as well as an analysis of the operations and the legal and applicable regulatory framework of a prospective portfolio company. The members of the underwriting team work together to conduct due diligence and understand the relationships among the prospective portfolio company’s business plan, operations and financial performance.

As part of our evaluation of a proposed investment, the underwriting team prepares an investment memorandum for presentation to the investment committee. In preparing the investment memorandum, the underwriting team typically interviews with select key management of the company and select financial sponsors and assembles information necessary to the investment decision. If and when appropriate, the investment professionals may also contact industry experts and customers, vendors or, in some cases, competitors of the company.

Approval Process. The sponsoring managing director or principal presents the investment memorandum to our investment committee for consideration. The approval of a majority of our investment committee and an affirmative vote by our Chief Executive Officer is required before we proceed with any investment. The members of our investment committee are our Chief Executive Officer, our Chief Legal Officer, our Chief Financial Officer, our Chief Credit Officer and the Senior Managing Directors of Technology and Life Science. The investment committee generally meets weekly and more frequently on an as-needed basis. The Senior Managing Directors abstain from voting with respect to investments they originate.

Documentation

Our documentation group, headed by our Chief Legal Officer, administers the front-end documentation process for our investments. This group is responsible for documenting the term sheet approved by the investment committee to memorialize the transaction with a prospective portfolio company. This group negotiates loan documentation and, subject to the approval of the Chief Legal Officer and/or the Associate General Counsel, final documents are prepared for execution by all parties. The documentation group generally uses the services of external law firms to complete the necessary documentation.

Loan and Compliance Administration

Our loan and compliance administration group, headed by our Chief Financial Officer and Chief Credit Officer, administers loans and tracks covenant compliance, if applicable, of our investments and oversees periodic reviews of our critical functions to ensure adherence with our internal policies and procedures. After funding of a loan in accordance with the investment committee’s approval, the loan is recorded in our loan administration software and our SQL-based database system. The loan and compliance administration group is also responsible for ensuring timely interest and principal payments and collateral management as well as advising the investment committee on the financial performance and trends of each portfolio company, including any covenant violations that occur, to aid us in assessing the appropriate course of action for each portfolio company and evaluating overall portfolio quality. In addition, the loan and compliance administration group advises the investment committee and the Valuation Committee of our Board of Directors, accordingly, regarding the credit and investment grading for each portfolio company as well as changes in the value of collateral that may occur.

 

11


Table of Contents

The loan and compliance administration group monitors our portfolio companies in order to determine whether the companies are meeting our financing criteria and their respective business plans and also monitors the financial trends of each portfolio company from its monthly or quarterly financial statements to assess the appropriate course of action for each company and to evaluate overall portfolio quality. In addition, our management team closely monitors the status and performance of each individual company through our SQL-based database system and periodic contact with our portfolio companies’ management teams and their respective financial sponsors.

Credit and Investment Grading System. Our loan and compliance administration group uses an investment grading system to characterize and monitor our outstanding loans. Our loan and compliance administration group monitors and, when appropriate, recommends changes to investment grading. Our investment committee reviews the recommendations and/or changes to the investment grading, which are submitted on a quarterly basis to the Valuation Committee and our Board of Directors for approval.

From time to time, we will identify investments that require closer monitoring or become workout assets. We develop a workout strategy for workout assets and our investment committee monitors the progress against the strategy. We may incur losses from our investing activities, however, we work with our troubled portfolio companies in order to recover as much of our investments as is practicable, including possibly taking control of the portfolio company. There can be no assurance that principal will be recovered.

We use the following investment grading system approved by our Board of Directors:

 

  Grade 1. Loans involve the least amount of risk in our portfolio. The borrower is performing above expectations, and the trends and risk profile is generally favorable.

 

  Grade 2. The borrower is performing as expected and the risk profile is neutral to favorable. All new loans are initially graded 2.

 

  Grade 3. The borrower may be performing below expectations, and the loan’s risk has increased materially since origination. We increase procedures to monitor a borrower that may have limited amounts of cash remaining on the balance sheet, is approaching its next equity capital raise within the next three to six months, or if the estimated fair value of the enterprise may be lower than when the loan was originated. We will generally lower the loan grade to a level 3 even if the company is performing in accordance to plan as it approaches the need to raise additional cash to fund its operations. Once the borrower closes its new equity capital raise, we may increase the loan grade back to grade 2.

 

  Grade 4. The borrower is performing materially below expectations, and the loan risk has substantially increased since origination. Loans graded 4 may experience some partial loss or full return of principal but are expected to realize some loss of interest which is not anticipated to be repaid in full, which, to the extent not already reflected, may require the fair value of the loan to be reduced to the amount we anticipate will be recovered. Grade 4 investments are closely monitored.

 

  Grade 5. The borrower is in workout, materially performing below expectations and a significant risk of principal loss is probable. Loans graded 5 will experience some partial principal loss or full loss of remaining principal outstanding is expected. Grade 5 loans will require the fair value of the loans be reduced to the amount, if any, we anticipate will be recovered.

At December 31, 2010, our investments had a weighted average investment grading of 2.21.

 

12


Table of Contents

Managerial Assistance

As a business development company, we are required to offer, and provide upon request, managerial assistance to our portfolio companies. This assistance could involve, among other things, monitoring the operations of our portfolio companies, participating in board and management meetings, consulting with and advising officers of portfolio companies and providing other organizational and financial guidance. We may receive fees for these services.

COMPETITION

Our primary competitors provide financing to prospective portfolio companies and include non-bank financial institutions, federally or state chartered banks, venture debt funds, financial institutions, venture capital funds, private equity funds, investment funds and investment banks. Many of these entities have greater financial and managerial resources than we have, and the 1940 Act imposes certain regulatory restrictions on us as a business development company to which many of our competitors are not subject. However, we believe that few of our competitors possess the expertise to properly structure and price debt investments to venture capital and private equity backed technology-related companies. We believe that our specialization in financing technology-related companies will enable us to determine a range of potential values of intellectual property assets, evaluate the business prospects and operating characteristics of prospective portfolio companies and, as a result, identify investment opportunities that produce attractive risk-adjusted returns. For additional information concerning the competitive risks we face, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Business and Structure—We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities, and we may not be able to compete effectively.”

CORPORATE STRUCTURE

We are a Maryland corporation and an internally managed, non-diversified closed-end investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company (“BDC”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). From incorporation through December 31, 2005, the Company was taxed as a corporation under Subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, (the “Code”). Effective January 1, 2006, the Company has elected to be treated for tax purposes as a regulated investment company, or RIC, under the Code (see Note 5 of the notes to our consolidated financial statements).

We formed Hercules Technology II, L.P. (“HT II”), which was licensed on September 27, 2006, and Hercules Technology III, L.P. (“HT III”), which was licensed on May 26, 2010 to operate as small business investment companies (“SBICs”) under the authority of the Small Business Administration (the “SBA”). As SBICs, HT II and HT III are subject to a variety of regulations concerning, among other things, the size and nature of the companies in which they may invest and the structure of those investments. The Company also formed Hercules Technology SBIC Management, LLC (“HTM”), a limited liability company. HTM is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. The Company is the manager and member of HT II and HT III and HTM is the general partner of HT II and HT III (see Note 4 of the notes to our consolidated financial statements).

We also use wholly owned subsidiaries, all of which are structured as Delaware corporations and limited liability companies, to permit us to hold portfolio companies organized as limited liability companies, or LLCs (or other forms of pass-through entities) and still satisfy the RIC tax requirement that at least 90% of our gross income for income tax purposes is investment income. Our wholly owned subsidiary, Hercules Funding II, LLC, functions as a vehicle to collateralize loans under our securitized facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance.

Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310, Palo Alto, California 94301. We also have offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Boulder, Colorado.

 

13


Table of Contents

BROKERAGE ALLOCATIONS AND OTHER PRACTICES

Because we generally acquire and dispose of our investments in privately negotiated transactions, we rarely use brokers in the normal course of business. In those cases where we do use a broker, we do not execute transactions through any particular broker or dealer, but will seek to obtain the best net results for Hercules, taking into account such factors as price (including the applicable brokerage commission or dealer spread), size of order, difficulty of execution, and operational facilities of the firm and the firm’s risk and skill in positioning blocks of securities. While we generally seek reasonably competitive execution costs, we may not necessarily pay the lowest spread or commission available. Subject to applicable legal requirements, we may select a broker based partly upon brokerage or research services provided to us. In return for such services, we may pay a higher commission than other brokers would charge if we determine in good faith that such commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.

EMPLOYEES

As of December 31, 2010, we had 52 employees, including approximately 27 investment and portfolio management professionals, all of whom have extensive experience working on financing transactions for technology-related companies.

REGULATION AS A BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

The following discussion is a general summary of the material prohibitions and descriptions governing business development companies. It does not purport to be a complete description of all of the laws and regulations affecting business development companies.

A business development company primarily focuses on investing in or lending to private companies and making managerial assistance available to them. A business development company provides stockholders with the ability to retain the liquidity of a publicly-traded stock, while sharing in the possible benefits of investing in emerging-growth, expansion-stage or established-stage companies. The 1940 Act contains prohibitions and restrictions relating to transactions between business development companies and their directors and officers and principal underwriters and certain other related persons and requires that a majority of the directors be persons other than “interested persons,” as that term is defined in the 1940 Act. In addition, the 1940 Act provides that we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or to withdraw our election as, a business development company unless approved by a majority of our outstanding voting securities. A majority of the outstanding voting securities of a company is defined under the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of such company’s shares present at a meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding shares of such company are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of such company.

Qualifying Assets

Under the 1940 Act, a business development company may not acquire any asset other than assets of the type listed in Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act, which are referred to as qualifying assets, unless, at the time the acquisition is made, qualifying assets represent at least 70% of the company’s total assets. The principal categories of qualifying assets relevant to our proposed business are the following:

 

  (1) Securities purchased in transactions not involving any public offering from the issuer of such securities, which issuer (subject to certain limited exceptions) is an eligible portfolio company, or from any person who is, or has been during the preceding 13 months, an affiliated person of an eligible portfolio company, or from any other person, subject to such rules as may be prescribed by the SEC. An eligible portfolio company is defined in the 1940 Act as any issuer which:

 

  (a) is organized under the laws of, and has its principal place of business in, the United States;

 

14


Table of Contents
  (b) is not an investment company (other than a small business investment company wholly owned by the business development company) or a company that would be an investment company but for certain exclusions under the 1940 Act; and

 

  (c) does not have any class of securities listed on a national securities exchange; or if it has securities listed on a national securities exchange such company has a market capitalization of less than $250 million; is controlled by the business development company and has an affiliate of a business development company on its board of directors; or meets such other criteria as may be established by the SEC.

 

  (2) Securities purchased in a private transaction from a U.S. issuer that is not an investment company or from an affiliated person of the issuer, or in transactions incident thereto, if the issuer is in bankruptcy and subject to reorganization or if the issuer, immediately prior to the purchase of its securities was unable to meet its obligations as they came due without material assistance other than conventional lending or financing arrangements.

 

  (3) Securities of an eligible portfolio company purchased from any person in a private transaction if there is no ready market for such securities and we already own 60% of the outstanding equity of the eligible portfolio company.

 

  (4) Securities received in exchange for or distributed on or with respect to securities described in (1) through (4) above, or pursuant to the exercise of warrants or rights relating to such securities.

 

  (5) Cash, cash equivalents, U.S. Government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment.

Control, as defined by the 1940 Act, is presumed to exist where a business development company beneficially owns more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of the portfolio company.

We do not intend to acquire securities issued by any investment company that exceed the limits imposed by the 1940 Act. Under these limits, we generally cannot acquire more than 3% of the voting stock of any investment company (as defined in the 1940 Act), invest more than 5% of the value of our total assets in the securities of one such investment company or invest more than 10% of the value of our total assets in the securities of such investment companies in the aggregate. With regard to that portion of our portfolio invested in securities issued by investment companies, it should be noted that such investments might subject our stockholders to additional expenses.

Significant Managerial Assistance

In order to count portfolio securities as qualifying assets for the purpose of the 70% test discussed above, a business development company must either control the issuer of the securities or must offer to make available significant managerial assistance; except that, where the business development company purchases such securities in conjunction with one or more other persons acting together, one of the other persons in the group may make available such managerial assistance. Making available significant managerial assistance means, among other things, any arrangement whereby the business development company, through its directors, officers or employees, offers to provide and, if accepted, does so provide, significant guidance and counsel concerning the management, operations or business objectives and policies of a portfolio company through monitoring of portfolio company operations, selective participation in board and management meetings, consulting with and advising a portfolio company’s officers or other organizational or financial guidance.

Temporary Investments

Pending investment in other types of qualifying assets, as described above, our investments may consist of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or high quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment, which we refer to, collectively, as temporary investments, so that 70% of our assets

 

15


Table of Contents

are qualifying assets. Typically, we invest in U.S. treasury bills or in repurchase agreements, provided that such agreements are fully collateralized by cash or securities issued by the U.S. government or its agencies. A repurchase agreement involves the purchase by an investor, such as us, of a specified security and the simultaneous agreement by the seller to repurchase it at an agreed upon future date and at a price which is greater than the purchase price by an amount that reflects an agreed-upon interest rate. There is no percentage restriction on the proportion of our assets that may be invested in such repurchase agreements. However, if more than 25% of our total assets constitute repurchase agreements from a single counterparty, we would not meet the diversification tests imposed on us by the Code in order to qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes. Thus, we do not intend to enter into repurchase agreements with a single counterparty in excess of this limit. We will monitor the creditworthiness of the counterparties with which we enter into repurchase agreement transactions.

Warrants and Options

Under the 1940 Act, a business development company is subject to restrictions on the amount of warrants, options, restricted stock or rights to purchase shares of capital stock that it may have outstanding at any time. In particular, the amount of capital stock that would result from the conversion or exercise of all outstanding warrants, options or rights to purchase capital stock cannot exceed 25% of the business development company’s total outstanding shares of capital stock. This amount is reduced to 20% of the business development company’s total outstanding shares of capital stock if the amount of warrants, options or rights issued pursuant to an executive compensation plan would exceed 15% of the business development company’s total outstanding shares of capital stock. We have received exemptive relief from the SEC permitting us to issue stock options and restricted stock to our employees and directors subject to the above conditions, among others. For a discussion regarding the conditions of this exemptive relief, see Note 6 to our consolidated financial statements.

Senior Securities; Coverage Ratio

We will be permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of stock senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 200% immediately after each such issuance. In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or purchase price. We may also borrow amounts up to 5% of the value of our total assets for temporary or emergency purposes. For a discussion of the risks associated with the resulting leverage, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business & Structure—Because we borrow money, there could be increased risk in investing in our company.”

Capital Structure

We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock, or sell warrants, options or rights to acquire such common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of the Company and our stockholders have approved the practice of making such sales.

At our Annual Meeting of Stockholders on June 9, 2010, our stockholders approved a proposal authorizing us to sell up to 20% of our common stock at a price below the Company’s net asset value per share, subject to Board approval of the offering. If we were to issue shares at a price below net asset value, such sales would result in an immediate dilution to existing common stockholders, which would include a reduction in the net asset value per share as a result of the issuance. This dilution would also include a proportionately greater decrease in a stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. In addition, if we determined to conduct additional offerings in the future there may be even greater discounts if we determine to conduct such offerings at prices below net asset value.

 

16


Table of Contents

As a result, investors will experience further dilution and additional discounts to the price of our common stock. In any such case, the price at which our securities are to be issued and sold may not be less than a price which, in the determination of our board of directors, closely approximates the market value of such securities (less any distributing commission or discount).

Code of Ethics

We have adopted and will maintain a code of ethics that establishes procedures for personal investments and restricts certain personal securities transactions. Personnel subject to the code may invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, including securities that may be purchased or held by us, so long as such investments are made in accordance with the code’s requirements. Our code of ethics will generally not permit investments by our employees in securities that may be purchased or held by us. We may be prohibited under the 1940 Act from conducting certain transactions with our affiliates without the prior approval of our directors who are not interested persons and, in some cases, the prior approval of the SEC.

Our code of ethics is posted on our website at www.herculestech.com and was filed with the SEC as an exhibit to the registration statement (Registration No. 333-126604) for our initial public offering. You may read and copy the code of ethics at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. In addition, the code of ethics is available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov . You may obtain copies of the code of ethics, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following email address: publicinfo@sec.gov , or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, D.C. 20549.

Privacy Principles

We are committed to maintaining the privacy of our stockholders and safeguarding their non-public personal information. The following information is provided to help you understand what personal information we collect, how we protect that information and why, in certain cases, we may share information with select other parties.

Generally, we do not receive any non-public personal information relating to our stockholders, although certain non-public personal information of our stockholders may become available to us. We do not disclose any non-public personal information about our stockholders or former stockholders, except as permitted by law or as is necessary in order to service stockholder accounts (for example, to a transfer agent).

We restrict access to non-public personal information about our stockholders to our employees with a legitimate business need for the information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards designed to protect the non-public personal information of our stockholders.

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

We vote proxies relating to our portfolio securities in the best interest of our stockholders. We review on a case-by-case basis each proposal submitted to a stockholder vote to determine its impact on the portfolio securities held by us. Although we generally vote against proposals that may have a negative impact on our portfolio securities, we may vote for such a proposal if there exists compelling long-term reasons to do so.

Our proxy voting decisions are made by our investment committee, which is responsible for monitoring each of our investments. To ensure that our vote is not the product of a conflict of interest, we require that: (i) anyone involved in the decision making process disclose to our Chief Compliance Officer any potential

conflict that he or she is aware of and any contact that he or she has had with any interested party regarding a proxy vote; and (ii) employees involved in the decision making process or vote administration are prohibited from revealing how we intend to vote on a proposal in order to reduce any attempted influence from interested parties.

 

17


Table of Contents

Exemptive Relief

On June 21, 2005, we filed a request with the SEC for exemptive relief to allow us to take certain actions that would otherwise be prohibited by the 1940 Act, as applicable to business development companies. Specifically, we requested that the SEC permit us to issue stock options to our non-employee directors as contemplated by Section 61(a)(3)(B)(i)(II) of the 1940 Act. On February 15, 2007, we received approval from the SEC on this exemptive request. In addition, in June 2007, we filed an amendment to the February 2007 order to adjust the number of shares issued to the non-employee directors. On October 10, 2007, we received approval from the SEC on this amended exemptive request.

On April 5, 2007, we received an exemptive relief from the SEC that permits us to exclude the indebtedness of our wholly-owned subsidiaries that are small business investment companies from the 200% asset coverage requirement applicable to us.

On May 2, 2007, we received approval from the SEC on our exemptive request permitting us to issue restricted stock to our employees, officers and directors. On June 21, 2007, our shareholders approved amendments to the 2004 Equity Incentive Plan and 2006 Non-Employee Incentive Plan permitting such restricted grants.

On June 22, 2010 we received approval from the SEC regarding our request for exemptive relief that would permit our employees to exercise their stock options and restricted stock and pay any related income taxes using a cashless exercise program.

Other

We will be periodically examined by the SEC for compliance with the 1934 Act and the 1940 Act.

We are required to provide and maintain a bond issued by a reputable fidelity insurance company to protect us against larceny and embezzlement. Furthermore, as a business development company, we are prohibited from protecting any director or officer against any liability to our stockholders arising from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such person’s office.

We are required to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the federal securities laws, review these policies and procedures annually for their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation. We have designated Mr. Harvey, our Chief Legal Officer, as our Chief Compliance Officer who is responsible for administering these policies and procedures.

Small Business Administration Regulations

HT II and HT III, our wholly-owned subsidiaries, are licensed by the SBA as SBICs under Section 301(c) of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958. Under the Small Business Investment Company Act and current SBA policy applicable to SBICs, a SBIC can have outstanding at any time SBA guaranteed debentures up to twice the amount of its regulatory capital.

As of December 31, 2010, the maximum statutory limit on the dollar amount of outstanding SBA guaranteed debentures issued by a single SBIC is $150.0 million, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. With our net investment of $75.0 million in HT II as of December 31, 2010, HT II has the current capacity to issue up to a total of $150.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, of which $150.0 million was outstanding. Currently, HT II has paid commitment fees of approximately $1.5 million. As of December 31, 2010, the maximum statutory limit on the dollar amount of combined outstanding SBA guaranteed debentures is $225.0 million, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. As of December 31, 2010, HT III had the potential to borrow up to $75.0 million of SBA-guaranteed debentures under the SBIC program. With our net investment of $37.5 million in HT III as of December 31, 2010, HT III has the capacity to issue a total of $75.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, subject to SBA approval, of which $20.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2010.

 

18


Table of Contents

Currently, HT III has paid commitment fees of approximately $750,000. There is no assurance that HT II or HT III will be able to draw up to the maximum limit available under the SBIC program.

SBICs are designed to stimulate the flow of private equity capital to eligible small businesses. Under present SBA regulations, eligible small businesses include businesses that have a tangible net worth not exceeding $18.0 million and have average annual fully taxed net income not exceeding $6.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. In addition, SBICs must devote 25.0% of its investment activity to “smaller” concerns as defined by the SBA. A smaller concern is one that has a tangible net worth not exceeding $6.0 million and has average annual fully taxed net income not exceeding $2.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. SBA regulations also provide alternative size standard criteria to determine eligibility, which depend on the industry in which the business is engaged and are based on such factors as the number of employees and gross sales. According to SBA regulations, SBICs may make long-term loans to small businesses, invest in the equity securities of such businesses and provide them with consulting and advisory services. Through our wholly-owned subsidiaries HT II and HT III, we plan to provide long-term loans to qualifying small businesses, and in connection therewith, make equity investments.

HT II and HT III are periodically examined and audited by the SBA’s staff to determine their compliance with SBA regulations. If HT II or HT III fails to comply with applicable SBA regulations, the SBA could, depending on the severity of the violation, limit or prohibit HT II’s or HT III’s use of debentures, declare outstanding debentures immediately due and payable, and/or limit HT II or HT III from making new investments. In addition, HT II or HT III may also be limited in their ability to make distributions to us if they do not have sufficient capital in accordance with SBA regulations. Such actions by the SBA would, in turn, negatively affect us because HT II and HT III are our wholly owned subsidiaries. HT II and HT III were in compliance with the terms of the SBIC’s leverage as of December 31, 2010 as a result of having sufficient capital as defined under the SBA regulations.

As of December 31, 2010, HT III could draw up to $55.0 million of additional leverage from SBA, as noted above. The rates of borrowings under various draws from the SBA beginning in April 2007 and set semiannually in March and September range from 3.22% to 5.73%. In addition, the SBA charges a fee that is set annually, depending on the Federal fiscal year the leverage commitment was delegated by the SBA, regardless of the date that the leverage was drawn by the SBIC. The annual fees related to HT II debentures that pooled on September 22, 2010 were 0.406% and 0.285%, depending upon the year the underlying commitment was closed in. The annual fees on other debentures have been set at 0.906%. The average amount of debentures outstanding for the year ended December 31, 2010 for HT II was approximately $139.4 million with an average interest rate of approximately 5.11%. The average amount of debentures outstanding for the year ended December 31, 2010 for HT III was approximately $13.9 million with an average interest rate of approximately 3.215%. Interest is payable semiannually and there are no principal payments required on these issues prior to maturity. Debentures under the SBA generally mature ten years after being borrowed. Based on the initial draw down date of April 2007, the initial maturity of SBA debentures will occur in April 2017.

The SBA restricts the ability of SBICs to repurchase their capital stock. SBA regulations also include restrictions on a “change of control” or transfer of an SBIC and require that SBICs invest idle funds in accordance with SBA regulations. In addition, HT II and HT III may also be limited in their ability to make distributions to us if they do not have sufficient capital, in accordance with SBA regulations.

Our SBIC subsidiaries are subject to regulation and oversight by the SBA, including requirements with respect to maintaining certain minimum financial ratios and other covenants. Receipt of an SBIC license does not assure that our SBIC subsidiaries will receive SBA guaranteed debenture funding, which is dependent upon our SBIC subsidiaries continuing to be in compliance with SBA regulations and policies. The SBA, as a creditor, will have a superior claim to our SBIC subsidiaries’ assets over our stockholders in the event we liquidate our SBIC subsidiaries or the SBA exercises its remedies under the SBA-guaranteed debentures issued by our SBIC subsidiaries upon an event of default.

 

19


Table of Contents

In January 2011, we repaid $25.0 million of SBA debentures under our first license, priced at approximately 6.63%, including annual fees. In February 2011, we submitted a request to the SBA to borrow $25.0 million under a new capital commitment which is subject to SBA approval. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Subsequent Events.”

CERTAIN UNITED STATES FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following is a general summary of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to us.

Election to be Taxed as a RIC

Through December 31, 2005, we were subject to Federal income tax as an ordinary corporation under subchapter C of the Code. Effective beginning on January 1, 2006 we met the criteria specified below to qualify as a RIC, and elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code with the filing of our federal income tax return for 2006. As a RIC, we generally will not have to pay corporate taxes on any income we distribute to our stockholders as dividends, which allows us to reduce or eliminate our corporate level tax. On December 31, 2005, immediately before the effective date of our RIC election, we held assets with “built-in gain,” which are assets whose fair market value as of the effective date of the election exceeded their tax basis as of such date. We elected to recognize all of our net built-in gains at the time of the conversion and paid tax on the built-in gain with the filing of our 2005 tax return. In making this election, we marked our portfolio to market at the time of our RIC election and paid approximately $294,000 in federal income tax on the resulting gains.

Taxation as a Regulated Investment Company

For any taxable year in which we:

 

   

qualify as a RIC; and

 

   

distribute at least 90% of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any (the “Annual Distribution Requirement”);

we generally will not be subject to federal income tax on the portion of our investment company taxable income and net capital gain ( i.e. , net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses) we distribute to stockholders with respect to that year. As described above, we made the election to recognize built-in gains as of the effective date of our election to be treated as a RIC and therefore will not be subject to built-in gains tax when we sell those assets. However, if we subsequently acquire built-in gain assets from a C corporation in a carryover basis transaction, then we may be subject to tax on the gains recognized by us on dispositions of such assets unless we make a special election to pay corporate-level tax on such built-in gain at the time the assets are acquired. We will be subject to United States federal income tax at the regular corporate rates on any income or capital gain not distributed (or deemed distributed) to our stockholders.

In order to qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes and obtain the tax benefits of RIC status, in addition to satisfying the Annual Distribution Requirement, we must, among other things:

 

   

have in effect at all times during each taxable year an election to be regulated as business development company under the 1940 Act;

 

   

derive in each taxable year at least 90% of our gross income from (a) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale of stock or other securities, or other income derived with respect to our business of investing in such stock or securities and (b) net income derived from an interest in a “qualified publicly traded partnership” (the “90% Income Test”); and

 

   

diversify our holdings so that at the end of each quarter of the taxable year:

 

   

at least 50% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs, and other securities if such other securities of any one issuer do not represent

 

20


Table of Contents
 

more than 5% of the value of our assets or more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer; and

 

   

no more than 25% of the value of our assets is invested in (i) securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other RICs) of one issuer, (ii) securities of two or more issuers that are controlled, as determined under applicable tax rules, by us and that are engaged in the same or similar or related trades or businesses or (iii) securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (the “Diversification Tests”).

Qualified earnings may exclude such income as management fees received in connection with our SBIC or other potential outside managed funds and certain other fees.

Pursuant to a recent revenue procedure issued by the IRS, the IRS has indicated that it will treat distributions from certain publicly traded RICs (including BDCs) that are paid part in cash and part in stock as dividends that would satisfy the RIC’s annual distribution requirements and qualify for the dividends paid deduction for income tax purposes. In order to qualify for such treatment, the revenue procedure requires that at least 10% of the total distribution be paid in cash and that each shareholder have a right to elect to receive its entire distribution in cash. If the number of shareholders electing to receive cash would cause cash distributions in excess of 10%, then each shareholder electing to receive cash would receive a proportionate share of the cash to be distributed (although no shareholder electing to receive cash may receive less than 10% of such shareholder’s distribution in cash). This revenue procedure applies to distributions made with respect to taxable years ending prior to January 1, 2012. Taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income (or as long-term capital gain to the extent such distribution is properly reported as a capital gain dividend) to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for United States federal income tax purposes. In situations where this revenue procedure is not applicable, the Internal Revenue Service has also issued private letter rulings on cash/stock dividends paid by RICs and real estate investment trusts using a 20% cash standard (instead of the 10% cash standard of the revenue procedure) if certain requirements are satisfied. As a result, a U.S. stockholder may be required to pay tax with respect to such dividends in excess of any cash received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock it receives as a dividend in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the dividend, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale.

As a RIC, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible federal excise tax on certain undistributed income unless we distribute in a timely manner an amount at least equal to the sum of (1) 98% of our ordinary income for each calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gain net income for the 1-year period ending October 31 in that calendar year and (3) any income realized, but not distributed, in the preceding year (the “Excise Tax Avoidance Requirements”). We will not be subject to excise taxes on amounts on which we are required to pay corporate income tax (such as retained net capital gains). Depending on the level of taxable income earned in a tax year, we may choose to carry over taxable income in excess of current year distributions from such taxable income into the next tax year and pay a 4% excise tax on such income, as required. The maximum amount of excess taxable income that may be carried over for distribution in the next year under the Code is the total amount of dividends paid in the following year, subject to certain declaration and payment guidelines. To the extent we choose to carry over taxable income into the next tax year, dividends declared and paid by us in a year may differ from taxable income for that year as such dividends may include the distribution of current year taxable income, the distribution of prior year taxable income carried over into and distributed in the current year, or returns of capital.

We may be required to recognize taxable income in circumstances in which we do not receive cash. For example, if we hold debt obligations that are treated under applicable tax rules as having original issue discount (such as debt instruments with payment-in-kind interest or back-end fee interest, in certain cases, increasing interest rates or issued with warrants), we must include in income each year a portion of the original issue discount that accrues over the life of the obligation, regardless of whether cash representing such income is received by us in the same taxable year. Because any original issue discount accrued will be included in our

 

21


Table of Contents

investment company taxable income for the year of accrual, we may be required to make a distribution to our stockholders in order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement and the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement, even though we will not have received any corresponding cash amount.

Gain or loss realized by us from the sale or exchange of warrants acquired by us as well as any loss attributable to the lapse of such warrants generally will be treated as capital gain or loss. Such gain or loss generally will be long-term or short-term, depending on how long we held a particular warrant.

We are authorized to borrow funds and to sell assets in order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement and the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement (collectively, the “Distribution Requirements”). However, under the 1940 Act, we are not permitted to make distributions to our stockholders while our debt obligations and other senior securities are outstanding unless certain “asset coverage” tests are met. See “Regulation—Senior Securities; Coverage Ratio.” We may be restricted from making distributions under the terms of debt obligations themselves unless certain conditions are satisfied. Moreover, our ability to dispose of assets to meet the Distribution Requirements may be limited by (1) the illiquid nature of our portfolio, or (2) other requirements relating to our status as a RIC, including the Diversification Tests. If we dispose of assets in order to meet the Distribution Requirements, we may make such dispositions at times that, from an investment standpoint, are not advantageous. If we are prohibited from making distributions or are unable to obtain cash from other sources to make the distributions, we may fail to qualify as a RIC, which would result in us becoming subject to corporate-level federal income tax.

In addition, we will be partially dependent on our SBIC subsidiaries for cash distributions to enable us to meet the RIC Distribution Requirements. Our SBIC subsidiaries may be limited by the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and SBA regulations governing SBICs, from making certain distributions to us that may be necessary to maintain our status as a RIC. We may have to request a waiver of the SBA’s restrictions for our SBIC subsidiary to make certain distributions to maintain our RIC status. We cannot assure you that the SBA will grant such waiver. If our SBIC subsidiaries are unable to obtain a waiver, compliance with the SBA regulations may cause us to fail to qualify as a RIC, which would result in us becoming subject to corporate-level federal income tax.

Any transactions in options, futures contracts, constructive sales, hedging, straddle, conversion or similar transactions, and forward contracts will be subject to special tax rules, the effect of which may be to accelerate income to us, defer losses, cause adjustments to the holding periods of our investments, convert long-term capital gains into short-term capital gains, convert short-term capital losses into long-term capital losses or have other tax consequences. These rules could affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to stockholders. We do not currently intend to engage in these types of transactions.

A RIC is limited in its ability to deduct expenses in excess of its “investment company taxable income” (which is, generally, ordinary income plus net realized short-term capital gains in excess of net realized long-term capital losses). If our expenses in a given year exceed gross taxable income (e.g., as the result of large amounts of equity-based compensation), we would experience a net operating loss for that year. However, a RIC is not permitted to carry forward net operating losses to subsequent years and such net operating losses do not pass through to the RIC’s stockholders. In addition, expenses can be used only to offset investment company taxable income, not net capital gain. A RIC may not use any net capital losses (that is, realized capital losses in excess of realized capital gains) to offset the RIC’s investment company taxable income, but may carry forward such losses, and use them to offset capital gains indefinitely. Due to these limits on the deductibility of expenses and net capital losses, we may for tax purposes have aggregate taxable income for several years that we are required to distribute and that is taxable to our stockholders even if such income is greater than the aggregate net income we actually earned during those years. Such required distributions may be made from our cash assets or by liquidation of investments, if necessary. We may realize gains or losses from such liquidations. In the event we realize net capital gains from such transactions, you may receive a larger capital gain distribution than you would have received in the absence of such transactions.

 

22


Table of Contents

Investment income received from sources within foreign countries, or capital gains earned by investing in securities of foreign issuers, may be subject to foreign income taxes withheld at the source. In this regard, withholding tax rates in countries with which the United States does not have a tax treaty are often as high as 35% or more. The United States has entered into tax treaties with many foreign countries that may entitle us to a reduced rate of tax or exemption from tax on this related income and gains. The effective rate of foreign tax cannot be determined at this time since the amount of our assets to be invested within various countries is not now known. We do not anticipate being eligible for the special election that allows a RIC to treat foreign income taxes paid by such RIC as paid by its shareholders.

If we acquire stock in certain foreign corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, rents, royalties or capital gain) or hold at least 50% of their total assets in investments producing such passive income (“passive foreign investment companies”), We could be subject to federal income tax and additional interest charges on “excess distributions” received from such companies or gain from the sale of stock in such companies, even if all income or gain actually received by us is timely distributed to our shareholders. We would not be able to pass through to our shareholders any credit or deduction for such a tax. Certain elections may, if available, ameliorate these adverse tax consequences, but any such election requires us to recognize taxable income or gain without the concurrent receipt of cash. We intend to limit and/or manage our holdings in passive foreign investment companies to minimize our tax liability.

Foreign exchange gains and losses realized by us in connection with certain transactions involving non-dollar debt securities, certain foreign currency futures contracts, foreign currency option contracts, foreign currency forward contracts, foreign currencies, or payables or receivables denominated in a foreign currency are subject to Code provisions that generally treat such gains and losses as ordinary income and losses and may affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to our stockholders. Any such transactions that are not directly related to our investment in securities (possibly including speculative currency positions or currency derivatives not used for hedging purposes) could, under future Treasury regulations, produce income not among the types of “qualifying income” from which a RIC must derive at least 90% of its annual gross income.

Failure to Qualify as a Regulated Investment Company

If we fail to satisfy the 90% Income Test or the Diversification Tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless continue to qualify as a RIC for such year if certain relief provisions are applicable (which may, among other things, require us to pay certain corporate-level federal taxes or to dispose of certain assets).

If we were unable to qualify for treatment as a RIC and the foregoing relief provisions are not applicable, we would be subject to tax on all of our taxable income at regular corporate rates. We would not be able to deduct distributions to stockholders, nor would they be required to be made. Such distributions (if made in a taxable year beginning on or before December 31, 2012) would be taxable to our stockholders and, provided certain holding period and other requirements were met, could qualify for treatment as “qualified dividend income” eligible for the 15% maximum rate to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. Subject to certain limitations under the Code, corporate distributions would be eligible for the dividends-received deduction. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s tax basis, and any remaining distributions would be treated as a capital gain. To requalify as a RIC in a subsequent taxable year, we would be required to satisfy the RIC qualification requirements for that year and dispose of any earnings and profits from any year in which we failed to qualify as a RIC. Subject to a limited exception applicable to RICs that qualified as such under Subchapter M of the Code for at least one year prior to disqualification and that requalify as a RIC no later than the second year following the nonqualifying year, we could be subject to tax on any unrealized net built-in gains in the assets held by us during the period in which we failed to qualify as a RIC that are recognized within the subsequent 10 years, unless we made a special election to pay corporate-level tax on such built-in gain at the time of our requalification as a RIC.

 

23


Table of Contents

DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

Our investments are carried at fair value in accordance with the 1940 Act and Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) topic 820 Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures, (formerly known as SFAS No. 157, Fair Value Measurements). At December 31, 2010, approximately 79.8% of the Company’s total assets represented investments in portfolio companies that are valued at fair value by the Board of Directors. Value, as defined in Section 2(a) (41) of the 1940 Act, is (i) the market price for those securities for which a market quotation is readily available and (ii) for all other securities and assets, fair value is as determined in good faith by the Board of Directors. Since there is typically no readily available market value for the investments in the Company’s portfolio, it values substantially all of its investments at fair value as determined in good faith pursuant to a the Company’s valuation policy and the Company’s Board of Directors in accordance with the provisions of ASC 820 and the 1940 Act. Due to the inherent uncertainty in determining the fair value of investments that do not have a readily available market value, the fair value of the Company’s investments determined in good faith by its Board may differ significantly from the value that would have been used had a ready market existed for such investments, and the differences could be material.

Our Board of Directors may from time to time engage an independent valuation firm to provide us with valuation assistance with respect to certain of our portfolio companies on a quarterly basis. We intend to continue to engage an independent valuation firm to provide us with assistance regarding our determination of the fair value of selected portfolio investments each quarter unless directed by the Board of Directors to cancel such valuation services. The scope of the services rendered by an independent valuation firm is at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors is ultimately and solely responsible for determining the fair value of our investments in good faith.

With respect to investments for which market quotations are not readily available or when such market quotations are deemed not to represent fair value, our board of directors has approved a multi-step valuation process each quarter, as described below:

(1) our quarterly valuation process begins with each portfolio company or investment being initially valued by the investment professionals responsible for the portfolio investment;

(2) preliminary valuation conclusions are then documented and discussed with our investment committee;

(3) the valuation committee of the board of directors reviews the preliminary valuation of the investment committee and that of the independent valuation firm and responds to the valuation recommendation of the independent valuation firm to reflect any comments, if any; and

(4) the board of directors discusses valuations and determines the fair value of each investment in our portfolio in good faith based on the input of, where applicable, the respective independent valuation firm and the valuation committee.

We adopted ASC 820 on January 1, 2008. ASC 820 establishes a framework for measuring the fair value of the assets and liabilities and outlines a fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value and the effect of fair value measures on earnings. ASC 820 also enhances disclosure requirements for fair value measurements based on the level within the hierarchy of the information used in the valuation. ASC 820 applies whenever other standards require (or permit) assets or liabilities to be measured at fair value but doesn’t expand the use of fair value in any new circumstances. ASC 820 defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.

The Company has categorized all investments recorded at fair value in accordance with ASC 820 based upon the level of judgment associated with the inputs used to measure their fair value. Hierarchical levels, defined by ASC 820 and directly related to the amount of subjectivity associated with the inputs to fair valuation of these assets and liabilities, are as follows:

Level 1—Inputs are unadjusted, quoted prices in active markets for identical assets at the measurement date. The types of assets carried at Level 1 fair value generally are equities listed in active markets.

 

24


Table of Contents

Level 2—Inputs (other than quoted prices included in Level 1) are either directly or indirectly observable for the asset in connection with market data at the measurement date and for the extent of the instrument’s anticipated life. Fair valued assets that are generally included in this category are warrants held in a public company.

Level 3—Inputs reflect management’s best estimate of what market participants would use in pricing the asset at the measurement date. It includes prices or valuations that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable. Generally, assets carried at fair value and included in this category are the debt investments and warrants and equities held in a private company.

Debt Investments

The Company follows the guidance set forth in ASC 820 which establishes a framework for measuring the fair value of assets and liabilities and outlines a fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value and the effect of fair value measures on earnings. The Company’s debt securities are primarily invested in equity sponsored technology, life science and clean technology companies. Given the nature of lending to these types of businesses, the Company’s investments in these portfolio companies are considered Level 3 assets under ASC 820 because there is no known or accessible market or market indexes for these investment securities to be traded or exchanged.

During the quarter ended December 31, 2010, and in connection with the year-end audit process, the Company corrected the valuation process to refine its application of ASC 820. We applied a new procedure that assumes a sale of investment in a hypothetical market to a hypothetical market participant where buyers and sellers are willing participants. The hypothetical market does not include scenarios where the underlying security was simply repaid or extinguished, but includes an exit concept. Under the new process, the Company has continued to evaluate the collateral for recoverability of the debt investments as well as apply all of its historical fair value analysis excluding its interest rate sensitivity analysis, which was replaced by the hypothetical market participant method, as discussed above. The Company uses pricing on recently issued comparable debt securities to determine the baseline hypothetical market yields as of the measurement date. The Company considers each portfolio company’s credit rating, security liens and other characteristics of the investment to adjust the baseline yield to derive a hypothetical yield for each investment. The anticipated future cash flows from each investment are then discounted at the hypothetical yield to estimate each investment’s fair value as of the measurement date.

The Company’s audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2010 reflect the fair value of its debt investments in accordance with ASC 820 using the new valuation procedures described above. The Company determined that if it had analyzed the fair value of its investments for the year ended December 31, 2009 using this procedure, the result to the 2009 consolidated financial statements would not have been material. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company recognized additional unrealized depreciation of $803,000 which is not material to the 2010 consolidated financial statements.

In addition, amounts previously recorded as deferred fee income ($2.4 million at December 31, 2009) and accrued back-end fees ($6.6 million at December 31, 2009) are no longer shown separately on the consolidated Balance Sheets because these amounts are a component of fair value of the investments on the consolidated Schedule of Investments.

Under the new valuation methodology, the Company’s process includes the examination of criteria similar to those used in its original investment decision, including, among other things, the underlying investment performance, the current portfolio company’s financial condition and market changing events that impact valuation, estimated remaining life, current market yield and interest rate spreads of similar securities as of the measurement date. If there is a significant deterioration of the credit quality of a debt investment, the Company may consider other factors to estimate fair value, including the proceeds that would be received in a liquidation analysis.

 

25


Table of Contents

The Company records unrealized depreciation on investments when it believes that an investment has decreased in value, including where collection of a loan is doubtful or if under the in exchange premise when the value of a debt security were to be less than amortized cost of the investment. Conversely, where appropriate, the Company records unrealized appreciation if it believes that the underlying portfolio company has appreciated in value and, therefore, that its investment has also appreciated in value or if under the in exchange premise the value of a debt security were to greater than amortized cost.

When originating a debt instrument, the Company generally receives warrants or other equity-related securities from the borrower. The Company determines the cost basis of the warrants or other equity-related securities received based upon their respective fair values on the date of receipt in proportion to the total fair value of the debt and warrants or other equity-related securities received. Any resulting discount on the loan from recordation of the warrant or other equity instruments is accreted into interest income over the life of the loan.

Equity-Related Securities and Warrants

Securities that are traded in the over-the-counter markets or on a stock exchange will be valued at the prevailing bid price at period end. We have a limited number of equity securities in public companies. In accordance with the 1940 Act, unrestricted publicly traded securities for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the closing market quote on the valuation date.

The Company estimates the fair value of warrants using a Black Scholes pricing model. At each reporting date, privately held warrant and equity related securities are valued based on an analysis of various factors including, but not limited to, the portfolio company’s operating performance and financial condition and general market conditions, price to enterprise value or price to equity ratios, discounted cash flow, valuation comparisons to comparable public companies or other industry benchmarks. When an external event occurs, such as a purchase transaction, public offering, or subsequent equity sale, the pricing indicated by that external event is utilized to corroborate the Company’s valuation of the warrant and equity related. The Company periodically reviews the valuation of its portfolio companies that have not been involved in a qualifying external event to determine if the enterprise value of the portfolio company may have increased or decreased since the last valuation measurement date.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks described below and all other information contained in this Annual Report, including our financial statements and the related notes and the schedules and exhibits to this Annual Report. The risks set forth below are not the only risks we face. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, our net asset value and the trading price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to our Business Structure and Current Economic and Market Conditions

We have a limited operating history as a business development company, which may affect our ability to manage our business and may impair your ability to assess our prospects.

The 1940 Act and the Code impose numerous constraints on the operations of BDCs and RICs. For example, under the 1940 Act, BDCs are required to invest at least 70% of their total assets primarily in securities of private or thinly traded U.S. public companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and other high quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. Moreover, qualification for taxation as a RIC under subchapter M of the Code requires satisfaction of source-of-income and diversification requirements and our ability to avoid corporate-level taxes on our income and gains depends on our satisfaction of distribution requirements. The failure to comply with these provisions in a timely manner could prevent us from qualifying as a BDC or RIC or could force us to pay unexpected taxes and penalties, which could be material. These constraints, among others, may hinder our ability to

 

26


Table of Contents

take advantage of attractive investment opportunities and to achieve our investment objective. Our experience operating under these constraints is limited to the period since our inception.

Capital markets have experienced a period of disruption and instability and we cannot predict whether these conditions will reoccur.

The global capital markets have experienced a period of disruption as evidenced by a lack of liquidity in the debt capital markets, write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk and the failure of certain major financial institutions. Despite actions of the United States federal government and foreign governments, these events contributed to worsening general economic conditions that have materially and adversely impacted the broader financial and credit markets and reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and financial services firms in particular. While indicators suggest improvement in the capital markets, these conditions could deteriorate in the future. During such market disruptions, we may have difficulty raising debt or equity capital especially as a result of regulatory constraints.

Market conditions may in the future make it difficult to extend the maturity of or refinance our existing indebtedness and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if required. As a result, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we have recorded our investments. In addition, significant changes in the capital markets, including the disruption and volatility, have had, and may in the future have, a negative effect on the valuations of our investments and on the potential for liquidity events involving our investments. An inability to raise capital, and any required sale of our investments for liquidity purposes, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, and our business and stock price may be adversely affected if we have not adequately addressed the weakness.

As a result of our evaluation of our internal control over financial reporting for the year ended December 31, 2010, management identified a material weakness related to our valuation process specifically involving debt investments. As described in “Item 9A. Controls and Procedures- Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting,” we have corrected the valuation process to refine our application of ASC 820 and believe that the audited consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report reflect the fair value of our debt investments. Our audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2010 reflect the fair value of our debt investments in accordance with ASC 820 using the new valuation procedure. We determined that if we had analyzed the fair value of our investments for the year ended December 31, 2009 using this procedure, the result to the 2009 consolidated financial statements would not have been material. During the year ended December 31, 2010, we recognized additional unrealized depreciation of $803,000, which is not material to the 2010 consolidated financial statements. If we cannot produce reliable financial reports, investors could lose confidence in our reported financial information, the market price of our stock could decline significantly, we may be unable to obtain additional financing to operate and expand our business, and our business and financial condition could be harmed.

Our business is subject to increasingly complex corporate governance, public disclosure and accounting requirements that could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We are subject to changing rules and regulations of federal and state government as well as the stock exchange on which our common stock is listed. These entities, including the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the SEC and the Nasdaq Stock Market, have issued a significant number of new and increasingly complex requirements and regulations over the course of the last several years and continue to develop additional regulations and requirements in response to laws enacted by Congress. On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, was enacted. There are significant corporate governance and executive compensation-related provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act that require the SEC

 

27


Table of Contents

to adopt additional rules and regulations in these areas such as “say on pay” and proxy access. Our efforts to comply with these requirements have resulted in, and are likely to continue to result in, an increase in expenses and a diversion of management’s time from other business activities.

The impact of recent financial reform legislation on us is uncertain.

In light of current conditions in the U.S. and global financial markets and the U.S. and global economy, legislators, the presidential administration and regulators have increased their focus on the regulation of the financial services industry. The Dodd-Frank Act institutes a wide range of reforms that will have an impact on all financial institutions. Many of these provisions are subject to rule making procedures and studies that will be conducted in the future. Accordingly, we cannot predict the effect the Dodd-Frank Act or its implementing regulations will have on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

We have and may in the future choose to pay dividends in our own stock, in which case you may be required to pay tax in excess of the cash you receive.

Under a revenue procedure issued by the Internal Revenue Service, RICs are permitted to treat certain distributions made with respect to tax years ending prior to January 1, 2012, and payable in up to 90% in their stock, as taxable dividends that will satisfy their annual distribution obligations for federal income tax and excise tax purposes. In situations where this revenue procedure is not applicable, the Internal Revenue Service has also issued private letter rulings on cash/stock dividends paid by RICs and real estate investment trusts using a 20% cash standard (instead of the 10% cash standard of the revenue procedure) if certain requirements are satisfied. We previously determined to pay 90% of our first quarter 2009 dividend in shares of newly issued common stock, and we may in the future determine to distribute taxable dividends that are payable in part in our common stock. Taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income (or as long-term capital gain to the extent such distribution is properly designated as a capital gain dividend) to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for United States federal income tax purposes. As a result, a U.S. stockholder may be required to pay tax with respect to such dividends in excess of any cash received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock it receives as a dividend in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the dividend, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold U.S. tax with respect to such dividends, including in respect of all or a portion of such dividend that is payable in stock. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our stock in order to pay taxes owed on dividends, then any such sales may put downward pressure on the trading price of our stock.

We are dependent upon key management personnel for our future success, particularly Manuel A. Henriquez, and if we are not able to hire and retain qualified personnel, or if we lose any member of our senior management team, our ability to implement our business strategy could be significantly harmed.

We depend upon the members of our senior management, particularly Mr. Henriquez, as well as other key personnel for the identification, final selection, structuring, closing and monitoring of our investments. These employees have critical industry experience and relationships on which we rely to implement our business plan. If we lose the services of Mr. Henriquez, or of any other senior management members, we may not be able to operate the business as we expect, and our ability to compete could be harmed, which could cause our operating results to suffer. We believe our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to identify, attract and retain sufficient numbers of highly skilled employees. If we do not succeed in identifying, attracting and retaining such personnel, we may not be able to operate our business as we expect.

Our business model depends to a significant extent upon strong referral relationships with venture capital and private equity fund sponsors, and our inability to develop or maintain these relationships, or the failure of these relationships to generate investment opportunities, could adversely affect our business.

We expect that members of our management team will maintain their relationships with venture capital and private equity firms, and we will rely to a significant extent upon these relationships to provide us with our deal

 

28


Table of Contents

flow. If we fail to maintain our existing relationships, our relationships become strained as a result of enforcing our rights with respect to non-performing portfolio companies in protecting our investments or we fail to develop new relationships with other firms or sources of investment opportunities, then we will not be able to grow our investment portfolio. In addition, persons with whom members of our management team have relationships are not obligated to provide us with investment opportunities and, therefore, there is no assurance that such relationships will lead to the origination of debt or other investments.

We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities, and we may not be able to compete effectively.

A number of entities compete with us to make the types of investments that we plan to make in prospective portfolio companies. We compete with a large number of venture capital and private equity firms, as well as with other investment funds, investment banks and other sources of financing, including traditional financial services companies such as commercial banks and finance companies. Many of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and/or access to funding sources that are not available to us. This may enable some competitors to make commercial loans with interest rates that are comparable to or lower than the rates that we typically offer. We may lose prospective portfolio companies if we do not match competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. If we do match competitors’ pricing, terms or structure, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit losses. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments, establish more relationships and build their market shares. Furthermore, many potential competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a business development company or that the Code would impose on us as a RIC. If we are not able to compete effectively, our business, financial condition, and results of operations will be adversely affected. As a result of this competition, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify and take advantage of attractive investment opportunities that we identify, or that we will be able to fully invest our available capital.

Because we intend to distribute substantially all of our income to our stockholders in order to qualify as a RIC, we will continue to need additional capital to finance our growth. If additional funds are unavailable or not available on favorable terms, our ability to grow will be impaired.

In order to satisfy the tax requirements applicable to a RIC, to avoid payment of excise taxes and to minimize or avoid payment of income taxes, we intend to distribute to our stockholders substantially all of our ordinary income and realized net capital gains except for certain realized net long-term capital gains, which we may retain, pay applicable income taxes with respect thereto and elect to treat as deemed distributions to our stockholders. As a business development company, we generally are required to meet a coverage ratio of total assets to total borrowings and other senior securities, which includes all of our borrowings and any preferred stock that we may issue in the future, of at least 200%. This requirement limits the amount that we may borrow. This limitation may prevent us from incurring debt and require us to raise additional equity at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. We cannot assure you that debt and equity financing will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all, and debt financings may be restricted by the terms of any of our outstanding borrowings. If we are unable to incur additional debt, we may be required to raise additional equity at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, shares of closed-end investment companies have recently traded at discounts to their net asset values. This characteristic of closed-end investment companies is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value per share may decline. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our net asset value. If our common stock trades below its net asset value, we generally will not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. If additional funds are not available to us, we could be forced to curtail or cease new lending and investment activities, and our net asset value could decline.

 

29


Table of Contents

Because we borrow money, there could be increased risk in investing in our company.

Lenders have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of stockholders, and we have granted, and may in the future grant, lenders a security interest in our assets in connection with borrowings. In the case of a liquidation event, those lenders would receive proceeds before our stockholders. In addition, borrowings, also known as leverage, magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and, therefore, increase the risks associated with investing in our securities. Leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique. If the value of our assets increases, then leveraging would cause the net asset value attributable to our common stock to increase more than it otherwise would have had we not leveraged. Conversely, if the value of our assets decreases, leveraging would cause the net asset value attributable to our common stock to decline more than it otherwise would have had we not leveraged. Similarly, any increase in our revenue in excess of interest expense on our borrowed funds would cause our net income to increase more than it would without the leverage. Any decrease in our revenue would cause our net income to decline more than it would have had we not borrowed funds and could negatively affect our ability to make distributions on common stock. Our ability to service any debt that we incur will depend largely on our financial performance and will be subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. We and, indirectly our stockholders will bear the cost associated with our leverage activity. Our secured credit facilities with Wells Fargo Capital Finance LLC and Union Bank, N.A. contain financial and operating covenants that could restrict our business activities, including our ability to declare dividends if we default under certain provisions.

As of December 31, 2010, Hercules did not have any outstanding borrowings under either of its credit facilities with Wells Fargo or Union Bank. In addition, as of December 31, 2010, we had approximately $170.0 million outstanding under the SBA debenture program.

As a business development company, generally we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or purchase price. If this ratio declines below 200%, we may not be able to incur additional debt and may need to sell a portion of our investments to repay some debt when it is disadvantageous to do so, and we may not be able to make distributions. As of December 31, 2010 our asset coverage for senior indebtedness is in excess of 200% since we exclude SBA leverage from this ratio and we have no other borrowings outstanding.

If we cannot obtain additional capital because of either regulatory or market price constraints, we could be forced to curtail or cease our new lending and investment activities, our net asset value could decrease and our level of distributions and liquidity could be affected adversely.

As of December 31, 2010, we had no outstanding borrowings under the Wells Facility or the Union Bank Facility and $170.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures under the SBA debenture program. As of December 31, 2010, we have been unable to secure additional lenders under our Wells Facility. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining any additional debt capital on terms acceptable to us or at all. If we are unable to obtain debt capital, then our equity investors will not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage to the extent that our investment strategy is successful and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or fundings to our portfolio companies.

Because most of our investments typically are not in publicly-traded securities, there is uncertainty regarding the value of our investments, which could adversely affect the determination of our net asset value.

At December 31, 2010, portfolio investments, which are valued at fair value by the Board of Directors, were approximately 79.8% of our total assets. We expect our investments to continue to consist primarily of securities issued by privately-held companies, the fair value of which is not readily determinable. In addition, we are not permitted to maintain a general reserve for anticipated loan losses. Instead, we are required by the 1940 Act to

 

30


Table of Contents

specifically value each investment and record an unrealized gain or loss for any asset that we believe has increased or decreased in value.

There is no single standard for determining fair value in good faith. We value these securities at fair value as determined in good faith by our Board of Directors, based on the recommendations of our Valuation Committee. The Valuation Committee uses its best judgment in arriving at the fair value of these securities. As a result, determining fair value requires that judgment be applied to the specific facts and circumstances of each portfolio investment while applying a valuation process for the types of investments we make, which includes but is not limited to deriving a hypothetical exit price. However, the Board of Directors retains ultimate authority as to the appropriate valuation of each investment. Because such valuations are inherently uncertain and may be based on estimates, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would be assessed if a ready market for these securities existed. We adjust quarterly the valuation of our portfolio to reflect the Board of Directors’ determination of the fair value of each investment in our portfolio. Any changes in fair value are recorded in our statement of operations as net change in unrealized appreciation or depreciation. Our net asset value could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair value of our investments were materially higher than the values that we ultimately realize upon the disposal of such securities.

Our financial results could be negatively affected if a significant portfolio investment fails to perform as expected.

Our total investment in companies may be significant individually or in the aggregate. As a result, if a significant investment in one or more companies fails to perform as expected, our financial results could be more negatively affected and the magnitude of the loss could be more significant than if we had made smaller investments in more companies. The following table shows the fair value of the totals of investments held in portfolio companies at December 31, 2010 that represent greater than 5% of net assets:

 

     December 31, 2010  

(in thousands)

   Fair Value      Percentage of
Net Assets
 

Infologix, Inc.

   $ 40,181         9.7

Aveo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

     28,417         6.9   

Unify Corporation.

     27,137         6.6   

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

     26,109         6.3   

Tectura Corporation

     24,010         5.8   

Velocity Technology Solutions

     23,100         5.6   

InfoLogix, Inc. is a provider of enterprise mobility and radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions. The Company provides these solutions to its customers by utilizing a combination of products and services, including consulting, business software applications, managed services, mobile workstations and devices, and wireless infrastructure. At December 31, 2010 we owned a controlling interest in this portfolio company. See “Item 7. Managements’ Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Subsequent Events” for more information regarding InfoLogix.

Aveo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of new, targeted cancer therapeutics.

Unify Corporation is a global provider of application development, data management and migration solutions.

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development, commercialization and manufacture of new pharmaceutical products.

Tectura Corporation is an IT services firm that specializes in Microsoft Business Solutions applications.

 

31


Table of Contents

Velocity Technology Solutions, Inc. manages, hosts, and provides systems integration services for companies that outsource enterprise software support.

Our financial results could be negatively affected if these portfolio companies or any of our other significant portfolio companies encounter financial difficulty and fail to repay their obligations or to perform as expected.

Our equity ownership in a portfolio company may represent a Control Investment. Our ability to exit an investment in a timely manner could be limited because we are in a control position or have access to inside information in the portfolio company and accordingly, could result in a realized loss on the investment.

If we obtain a Control Investment in a portfolio company our ability to divest ourselves from a debt or equity investment could be restricted due to illiquidity in a private stock, limited trading volume on a public company’s stock, inside information on a company’s performance, insider blackout periods, or other factors that could prohibit us from disposing of the investment as we would if it were not a Control Investment. Additionally, we may choose not to take certain actions to protect a debt investment in a Control Investment portfolio company. As a result, we could experience a decrease in the value of our portfolio company holdings and potentially incur a realized loss on the investment.

Regulations governing our operations as a business development company may affect our ability to, and the manner in which, we raise additional capital, which may expose us to risks.

Our business will require a substantial amount of capital. We may acquire additional capital from the issuance of senior securities, including borrowings, securitization transactions or other indebtedness, or the issuance of additional shares of our common stock. However, we may not be able to raise additional capital in the future on favorable terms or at all. We may issue debt securities, other evidences of indebtedness or preferred stock, and we may borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, which we refer to collectively as “senior securities,” up to the maximum amount permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have an asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or purchase price. Our ability to pay dividends or issue additional senior securities would be restricted if our asset coverage ratio were not at least 200%. If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy this test. If that happens, we may be required to liquidate a portion of our investments and repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when such sales may be disadvantageous. As a result of issuing senior securities, we would also be exposed to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss. If we issue preferred stock, the preferred stock would rank “senior” to common stock in our capital structure, preferred stockholders would have separate voting rights and might have rights, preferences, or privileges more favorable than those of our common stockholders and the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring, or preventing a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in your best interest.

To the extent that we are constrained in our ability to issue debt or other senior securities, we will depend on issuances of common stock to finance operations. Other than in certain limited situations such as rights offerings, as a business development company, we are generally not able to issue our common stock at a price below net asset value without first obtaining required approvals from our stockholders and our independent directors. If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, then the percentage ownership of our stockholders at that time will decrease, and you might experience dilution. Moreover, we can offer no assurance that we will be able to issue and sell additional equity securities in the future, on favorable terms or at all.

 

32


Table of Contents

In addition to issuing securities to raise capital as described above, we anticipate that, in the future, we may securitize our loans to generate cash for funding new investments. The securitization market has effectively shut down with the recent financial market collapse and we cannot assure you that will be able to securitize our loans in the near future, or at all. An inability to successfully securitize our loan portfolio could limit our ability to grow our business and fully execute our business strategy.

When we are a debt or minority equity investor in a portfolio company, we may not be in a position to control the entity, and management of the company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our portfolio holdings.

We make both debt and minority equity investments; therefore, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company may make business decisions with which we disagree, and the stockholders and management of such company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not serve our interests. As a result, a portfolio company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our portfolio holdings.

If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could fail to qualify as a business development company or be precluded from investing according to our current business strategy.

As a business development company, we may not acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” unless, at the time of and after giving effect to such acquisition, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets. See “Item 1. Business—Regulation as a Business Development Company.”

We believe that most of the senior loans we make will constitute qualifying assets. However, we may be precluded from investing in what we believe are attractive investments if such investments are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 1940 Act. If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could lose our status as a business development company, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Similarly, these rules could prevent us from making follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies (which could result in the dilution of our position) or could require us to dispose of investments at inappropriate times in order to comply with the 1940 Act. If we need to dispose of such investments quickly, it would be difficult to dispose of such investments on favorable terms. For example, we may have difficulty in finding a buyer and, even if we do find a buyer, we may have to sell the investments at a substantial loss.

A failure on our part to maintain our qualification as a business development company would significantly reduce our operating flexibility.

If we fail to continuously qualify as a business development company, we might be subject to regulation as a registered closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act, which would significantly decrease our operating flexibility. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements imposed on business development companies by the 1940 Act could cause the SEC to bring an enforcement action against us. For additional information on the qualification requirements of a business development company, see “Item 1. Business— Regulation as a Business Development Company.”

We may have difficulty paying our required distributions if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.

In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and tax requirements, we include in income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as contracted payment-in-kind interest, which represents contractual interest added to a loan balance and due at the end of such loan’s term. In addition to the cash yields received on our loans, in some instances, certain loans may also include any of the following: end-of-term payments, exit fees, balloon payment fees or prepayment fees. The increases in loan balances as a result of contracted payment-in-kind arrangements are included in income for the period in which such

 

33


Table of Contents

payment-in-kind interest was accrued, which is often in advance of receiving cash payment, and are separately identified on our statements of cash flows. We also may be required to include in income certain other amounts prior to receiving the related cash.

Any warrants that we receive in connection with our debt investments will generally be valued as part of the negotiation process with the particular portfolio company. As a result, a portion of the aggregate purchase price for the debt investments and warrants will be allocated to the warrants that we receive. This will generally result in “original issue discount” for tax purposes, which we must recognize as ordinary income, increasing the amount that we are required to distribute to qualify for the federal income tax benefits applicable to RICs. Because these warrants generally will not produce distributable cash for us at the same time as we are required to make distributions in respect of the related original issue discount, we would need to obtain cash from other sources or to pay a portion of our distributions using shares of newly issued common stock, consistent with Internal Revenue Service requirements, to satisfy such distribution requirements.

Other features of the debt instruments that we hold may also cause such instruments to generate an original issue discount, resulting in a dividend distribution requirement in excess of current cash interest received. Since in certain cases we may recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty meeting the RIC tax requirement to distribute at least 90% of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any. Under such circumstances, we may have to sell some of our assets, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investment originations to meet these distribution requirements. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources and are otherwise unable to satisfy such distribution requirements, we may fail to qualify for the federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs and, thus, become subject to a corporate-level income tax on all our income. See “Item 1. Business—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.”

There is a risk that you may not receive distributions or that our distributions may not grow over time.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results, or our business may not perform in a manner that will allow us to make a specified level of distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, our credit facility limits our ability to declare dividends if we default under certain provisions.

If we are unable to manage our future growth effectively, we may be unable to achieve our investment objective, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause the value of your investment to decline.

Our ability to achieve our investment objective will depend on our ability to sustain growth. Sustaining growth will depend, in turn, on our senior management team’s ability to identify, evaluate, finance and invest in suitable companies that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of our marketing capabilities, our management of the investment process, our ability to provide efficient services and our access to financing sources on acceptable terms. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our quarterly and annual operating results are subject to fluctuation as a result of the nature of our business, and if we fail to achieve our investment objective, the net asset value of our common stock may decline.

We could experience fluctuations in our quarterly and annual operating results due to a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control, including, but not limited to, the interest rate payable on the debt securities that we acquire, the default rate on such securities, the level of our expenses, variations in and the timing of the recognition of realized and unrealized gains or losses, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets and general economic conditions. As a result of these factors, results for any period should not be relied upon as being indicative of performance in future periods.

 

34


Table of Contents

In addition, any of these factors could negatively impact our ability to achieve our investment objectives, which may cause our net asset value of our common stock to decline.

Fluctuations in interest rates may adversely affect our profitability.

A portion of our income will depend upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the interest rate on the debt securities in which we invest. Because we will borrow money to make investments, our net investment income is dependent upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the rate at which we invest these funds. Typically, we anticipate that our interest-earning investments will accrue and pay interest at both variable and fixed rates, and that our interest-bearing liabilities will accrue interest at variable rates. As a result, there can be no assurance that a significant change in market interest rates will not have a material adverse effect on our net investment income. We anticipate using a combination of equity and long-term and short-term borrowings to finance our investment activities.

A significant increase in market interest rates could harm our ability to attract new portfolio companies and originate new loans and investments. We expect that most of our current initial investments in debt securities will be at floating rate with a floor. However, in the event that we make investments in debt securities at variable rates, a significant increase in market interest rates could also result in an increase in our non-performing assets and a decrease in the value of our portfolio because our floating-rate loan portfolio companies may be unable to meet higher payment obligations. In periods of rising interest rates, our cost of funds would increase, resulting in a decrease in our net investment income. In addition, a decrease in interest rates may reduce net income, because new investments may be made at lower rates despite the increased demand for our capital that the decrease in interest rates may produce. We may, but will not be required to, hedge against the risk of adverse movement in interest rates in our short-term and long-term borrowings relative to our portfolio of assets. If we engage in hedging activities, it may limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to the hedged portfolio. Adverse developments resulting from changes in interest rates or hedging transactions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our realized gains are reduced by amounts paid pursuant to the warrant participation agreement.

Citigroup, a former credit facility provider to Hercules, has an equity participation right through a warrant participation agreement on the pool of loans and certain warrants formerly collateralized under its then existing credit facility (the “Citigroup Facility”). Pursuant to the warrant participation agreement, we granted to Citigroup a 10% participation in all warrants held as collateral. As a result, Citigroup is entitled to 10% of the realized gains on certain warrants until the realized gains paid to Citigroup pursuant to the agreement equals $3,750,000 (the “Maximum Participation Limit”). The obligations under the warrant participation agreement continue even after the Citigroup Facility is terminated until the Maximum Participation Limit has been reached.

During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company recorded an increase on participation liability and decreased its unrealized gains by a net amount of approximately $13,000 for Citigroup’s participation. Since inception of the agreement, we have paid Citigroup approximately $1.1 million under the warrant participation agreement thereby reducing our realized gains. In addition, our realized gains will be reduced by the amounts owed to Citigroup under the warrant participation agreement. The value of Citigroup’s participation right on unrealized gains in the related equity investments since inception of the agreement was approximately $481,000 at December 31, 2010 and is included in accrued liabilities and decreased the unrealized gain recognized by us at December 31, 2010. Citigroup’s rights under the warrant participation agreement increase our cost of borrowing and reduce our realized gains.

It is likely that the terms of any long-term or revolving credit or warehouse facility we may enter into in the future could constrain our ability to grow our business.

On August 25, 2008, we, through a special purpose wholly owned subsidiary, entered into a two-year revolving senior secured credit facility with an optional one-year extension with initial commitments of $50

 

35


Table of Contents

million at closing with Wells Fargo Capital Finance (the “Wells Facility”). The Wells Facility has the capacity to increase to $300 million if additional lenders are added to the lending syndicate. See “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplemental Information.” As of December 31, 2010, we have no outstanding borrowings under the Wells Facility.

As of December 31, 2010, we had not added any additional lenders under the Wells Facility. We continue to be in discussions with various other potential lenders to join the Wells Facility, however, there is no assurance that additional lenders may join the facility. Due to current credit conditions, our cost of borrowing may increase with the addition of additional lenders under the Wells Facility. The Wells Facility expires in August 2011.

On February 10, 2010, we entered a $20.0 million one-year revolving senior secured credit facility with Union Bank (the “Union Bank Facility”). Borrowings under the Union Bank Facility will generally bear interest at a rate per annum equal to LIBOR plus 2.25% with a floor of 4.0%. At December 31, 2010, there were no borrowings outstanding on this facility. The Union Bank Facility requires the payment of a non-use fee of 0.25% annually. The Union Bank Facility is collateralized by debt investments in our portfolio companies, and includes an advance rate equal to 50.0% of eligible loans placed in the collateral pool. The Union Bank Facility generally requires payment of interest on a monthly basis. All outstanding principal is due upon maturity.

The current lenders under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility have, and any future lender or lenders will have, fixed dollar claims on our assets that are senior to the claims of our stockholders and, thus, will have a preference over our stockholders with respect to our assets in the collateral pool. In addition, we may grant a security interest in our assets in connection with any such borrowing. These facilities contain customary default provisions such as a minimum net worth amount, a profitability test, and a restriction on changing our business and loan quality standards. In addition, such facilities are expected to require the repayment of all outstanding debt on the maturity which may disrupt our business and potentially, the business our portfolio companies that are financed through the facilities. An event of default under these facilities or any credit facility would likely result, among other things, in termination of the availability of further funds under that facility and an accelerated maturity date for all amounts outstanding under the facility, which would likely disrupt our business and, potentially, the business of the portfolio companies whose loans we financed through the facility. This could reduce our revenues and, by delaying any cash payment allowed to us under our facility until the lender has been paid in full, reduce our liquidity and cash flow and impair our ability to grow our business and maintain our status as a RIC.

The terms of future available financing may place limits on our financial and operating flexibility. If we are unable to obtain sufficient capital in the future, we may:

 

   

be forced to reduce or discontinue our operations;

 

   

not be able to expand or acquire complementary businesses; and

 

   

not be able to develop new services or otherwise respond to changing business conditions or competitive pressures.

In addition to regulatory restrictions that restrict our ability to raise capital, the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility contain various covenants which, if not complied with, could accelerate repayment under the facility, thereby materially and adversely affecting our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends.

The credit agreements governing the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility both require us to comply with certain financial and operational covenants. These covenants require us to, among other things, maintain certain financial ratios, including asset coverage, debt to equity and interest coverage. The Wells Facility requires us to maintain a minimum tangible net worth of $250 million, contingent upon our total commitments under all lines of credit not exceeding $250 million. Based on the net proceeds from the equity raise we completed in November 2010 the adjusted minimum tangible net worth at December 31, 2010 would be approximately $311.0

 

36


Table of Contents

million. Our ability to continue to comply with these covenants in the future depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control. There are no assurances that we will be able to comply with these covenants. Failure to comply with these covenants would result in a default which, if we were unable to obtain a waiver from the lenders, could accelerate repayment under the facilities and thereby have a material adverse impact on our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends.

If we cannot obtain additional capital because of either regulatory or market price constraints, we could be forced to curtail or cease our new lending and investment activities, our net asset value could decrease and our level of distributions and liquidity could be affected adversely.

Our ability to secure additional financing and satisfy our financial obligations under indebtedness outstanding from time to time will depend upon our future operating performance, which is subject to the prevailing general economic and credit market conditions, including interest rate levels and the availability of credit generally, and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. The prolonged continuation or worsening of current economic and capital market conditions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to secure financing on favorable terms, if at all.

In February 2010, we closed on our new $20.0 million credit facility with Union Bank, a one year revolving credit facility. Pricing of the credit facility is LIBOR plus 2.25% with a floor of 4.0%, an advance rate of 50% against eligible loans, and secured by loans in the borrowing base.

We have been unable to secure additional lenders under our Wells Facility. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining any additional debt capital on terms acceptable to us or at all. If we are unable to obtain debt capital, then our equity investors will not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage to the extent that our investment strategy is successful and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or fundings to our portfolio companies.

As of December 31, 2010, Hercules did not have any outstanding borrowings under either of its credit facilities with Wells Fargo or Union Bank and $170.0 million outstanding borrowings under the SBA debentures. Available borrowing capacity under these facilities is $125.0 million and subject to terms and conditions.

Two of our wholly-owned subsidiaries are licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and as a result, we will be subject to SBA regulations.

Our wholly-owned subsidiaries HT II and HT III are licensed to act as SBICs and are regulated by the SBA. As of December 31, 2010, HT II’s and HT III’s portfolio companies accounted for approximately 32.9% and 10.7%, respectively, of our total portfolio. The SBIC licenses allow our SBIC subsidiaries to obtain leverage by issuing SBA-guaranteed debentures, subject to the issuance of a capital commitment by the SBA and other customary procedures. The SBA regulations require, among other things, that a licensed SBIC be examined periodically and audited by an independent auditor to determine the SBIC’s compliance with the relevant SBA regulations.

Under current SBA regulations, a licensed SBIC can provide capital to those entities that have a tangible net worth not exceeding $18.0 million and an average annual net income after Federal income taxes not exceeding $6.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. In addition, a licensed SBIC must devote 25.0% of its investment activity to those entities that have a tangible net worth not exceeding $6.0 million and an average annual net income after Federal income taxes not exceeding $2.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. The SBA regulations also provide alternative size standard criteria to determine eligibility, which depend on the industry in which the business is engaged and are based on factors such as the number of employees and gross sales. The SBA regulations permit licensed SBICs to make long term loans to small businesses, invest in the equity securities of such businesses and provide them with consulting and advisory services. The SBA also places certain limitations on the financing terms of investments by SBICs in portfolio companies and prohibits

 

37


Table of Contents

SBICs from providing funds for certain purposes or to businesses in a few prohibited industries. Compliance with SBA requirements may cause HT II and HT III to forego attractive investment opportunities that are not permitted under SBA regulations.

Further, the SBA regulations require that a licensed SBIC be periodically examined and audited by the SBA to determine its compliance with the relevant SBA regulations. The SBA prohibits, without prior SBA approval, a “change of control” of an SBIC or transfers that would result in any person (or a group of persons acting in concert) owning 10.0% or more of a class of capital stock of a licensed SBIC. If either HT II or HT III fail to comply with applicable SBA regulations, the SBA could, depending on the severity of the violation, limit or prohibit HT II’s or HT III’s use of debentures, declare outstanding debentures immediately due and payable, and/or limit HT II or HT III from making new investments. Such actions by the SBA would, in turn, negatively affect us because HT II and HT III are our wholly owned subsidiaries. HT II and HT III were in compliance with the terms of the SBIC’s leverage as of December 31, 2010 as a result of having sufficient capital as defined under the SBA regulations.

Our wholly-owned SBIC subsidiaries may be unable to make distributions to us that will enable us to meet or maintain RIC status, which could result in the imposition of an entity-level tax.

In order for us to continue to qualify for RIC tax treatment and to minimize corporate-level taxes, we will be required to distribute substantially all of our net ordinary income and net capital gain income, including income from certain of our subsidiaries, which includes the income from our SBIC subsidiaries. We will be partially dependent on our SBIC subsidiaries for cash distributions to enable us to meet the RIC distribution requirements. Our SBIC subsidiary may be limited by the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and SBA regulations governing SBICs, from making certain distributions to us that may be necessary to maintain our status as a RIC. We may have to request a waiver of the SBA’s restrictions for our SBIC subsidiaries to make certain distributions to maintain our RIC status. We cannot assure you that the SBA will grant such waiver. If our SBIC subsidiary is unable to obtain a waiver, compliance with the SBA regulations may result in loss of RIC tax treatment and a consequent imposition of an entity-level tax on us.

There is no assurance that HT III will be able to draw up to the maximum limit available under the SBIC program.

On May 26, 2010, HT III received a license to operate as a SBIC under the SBIC program and is able to borrow funds from the SBA against eligible investments and additional contributions to regulatory capital. As of December 31, 2010, HT III had the potential to borrow up to $75.0 million of SBA-guaranteed debentures under the SBIC program. With our net investment of $37.5 million in HT III as of December 31, 2010, HT III has the capacity to issue a total of $75.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, subject to SBA approval, of which $20.0 million was outstanding as of December 31, 2010. Access to the remaining $55.0 million leverage is subject to SBA approval and compliance with SBA regulations. There is no assurance that HT III will be able to draw up to the maximum limit available under the SBIC program.

If we are unable to satisfy Code requirements for qualification as a RIC, then we will be subject to corporate-level income tax, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We elected to be treated as a RIC for federal income tax purposes with the filing of our federal corporate income tax return for 2006. We will not qualify for the tax treatment allowable to RICs if we are unable to comply with the source of income, asset diversification and distribution requirements contained in Subchapter M of the Code, or if we fail to maintain our election to be regulated as a business development company under the 1940 Act. If we fail to qualify for the federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs for any reason and become subject to a corporate-level income tax, the resulting taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution to our stockholders and the actual amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us, the net asset value of our common stock and the total return, if any,

 

38


Table of Contents

obtainable from your investment in our common stock. Any net operating losses that we incur in periods during which we qualify as a RIC will not offset net capital gains (i.e., net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses) that we are otherwise required to distribute, and we cannot pass such net operating losses through to our stockholders. In addition, net operating losses that we carry over to a taxable year in which we qualify as a RIC normally cannot offset ordinary income or capital gains.

Changes in laws or regulations governing our business could negatively affect the profitability of our operations.

Changes in the laws or regulations, or the interpretations of the laws and regulations, which govern business development companies, SBICs, RICs or non-depository commercial lenders could significantly affect our operations and our cost of doing business. We are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations and are subject to judicial and administrative decisions that affect our operations, including our loan originations maximum interest rates, fees and other charges, disclosures to portfolio companies, the terms of secured transactions, collection and foreclosure procedures, and other trade practices. If these laws, regulations or decisions change, or if we expand our business into jurisdictions that have adopted more stringent requirements than those in which we currently conduct business, then we may have to incur significant expenses in order to comply or we may have to restrict our operations. In addition, if we do not comply with applicable laws, regulations and decisions, then we may lose licenses needed for the conduct of our business and be subject to civil fines and criminal penalties, any of which could have a material adverse effect upon our business results of operations or financial condition.

Results may fluctuate and may not be indicative of future performance.

Our operating results may fluctuate and, therefore, you should not rely on current or historical period results to be indicative of our performance in future reporting periods. Factors that could cause operating results to fluctuate include, but are not limited to, variations in the investment origination volume and fee income earned, changes in the accrual status of our debt investments, variations in timing of prepayments, variations in and the timing of the recognition of net realized gains or losses and changes in unrealized appreciation or depreciation, the level of our expenses, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets, and general economic conditions.

Risks Related to Our Investments

Our investments are concentrated in certain industries and in a number of technology-related companies, which subjects us to the risk of significant loss if any of these companies default on their obligations under any of their debt securities that we hold, or if any of the technology-related industry sectors experience a downturn.

We have invested and intend to continue investing in a limited number of technology-related companies. A consequence of this limited number of investments is that the aggregate returns we realize may be significantly adversely affected if a small number of investments perform poorly or if we need to write down the value of any one investment. Beyond the asset diversification requirements to which we will be subject as a RIC, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification or limitations on the size of our investments in any one portfolio company and our investments could be concentrated in relatively few issuers. In addition, we have invested in and intend to continue investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of our total assets (including the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in technology-related companies.

As of December 31, 2010, approximately 58.9% of the fair value of our portfolio was composed of investments in four industries: 20.4% was composed of investments in the software industry, 13.8% was composed of investments in the communications and networking industry; 13.5% was composed of investments in the specialty pharma industry and 11.2% was composed of investments in the drug discovery industry. As a result, a downturn in technology-related industry sectors and particularly those in which we are heavily concentrated could materially adversely affect our financial condition.

 

39


Table of Contents

Our investments in the clean technology and renewable energy sector face considerable uncertainties including development, operational and regulatory challenges.

Our investments in the clean technology sector are subject to substantial risks. Companies of this nature are relatively new and have been developed through advancement in technologies which may not be proven or whose commercial application is limited. Some of these portfolio companies may be dependent upon favorable regulatory incentives, and there is significant uncertainty about the extent to which such favorable regulatory incentives will be available in the future. Furthermore, production levels for wind, solar, and other renewable energies may be dependent upon adequate wind, sunlight, or biogas production which can vary from period to period, resulting in volatility in production levels and profitability. Demand for clean technology and renewable energy is also influenced by the available supply and prices for other energy products, such as coal, oil and natural gases. A change in prices in these energy products could reduce demand for alternative energy. There is particular uncertainty about whether agreements providing incentives for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Kyoto Protocol, will continue and whether countries around the world will enact or maintain legislation that provides incentives for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, without which such investments in clean technology dependent portfolio companies may not be economical or financing for such projects may become unavailable. As a result, these portfolio company investments face considerable risk, including the risk that favorable regulatory regimes expire or are adversely modified.

Our investments may be in portfolio companies which may have limited operating histories and financial resources.

We expect that our portfolio will continue to consist of investments that may have relatively limited operating histories. These companies may be particularly vulnerable to economic downturns such as the current recession, may have more limited access to capital and higher funding costs, may have a weaker financial position and may need more capital to expand or compete. These businesses also may experience substantial variations in operating results. They may face intense competition, including from companies with greater financial, technical and marketing resources. Furthermore, some of these companies do business in regulated industries and could be affected by changes in government regulation. Accordingly, these factors could impair their cash flow or result in other events, such as bankruptcy, which could limit their ability to repay their obligations to us, and may adversely affect the return on, or the recovery of, our investment in these companies. We cannot assure you that any of our investments in our portfolio companies will be successful. Our portfolio companies compete with larger, more established companies with greater access to, and resources for, further development in these new technologies. We may lose our entire investment in any or all of our portfolio companies.

Our investment strategy focuses on technology-related companies, which are subject to many risks, including volatility, intense competition, shortened product life cycles and periodic downturns, and you could lose all or part of your investment.

We have invested and will continue investing primarily in technology-related companies, many of which may have narrow product lines and small market shares, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as to general economic downturns. The revenues, income (or losses), and valuations of technology-related companies can and often do fluctuate suddenly and dramatically. In addition, technology-related markets are generally characterized by abrupt business cycles and intense competition. Beginning in mid-2000, there was substantial excess production capacity and a significant slowdown in many technology-related industries. This overcapacity, together with a cyclical economic downturn, resulted in substantial decreases in the market capitalization of many technology-related companies. While such valuations have recovered to some extent, such decreases in market capitalization may occur again, and any future decreases in technology-related company valuations may be substantial and may not be temporary in nature. Therefore, our portfolio companies may face considerably more risk of loss than do companies in other industry sectors.

 

40


Table of Contents

Because of rapid technological change, the average selling prices of products and some services provided by technology-related companies have historically decreased over their productive lives. As a result, the average selling prices of products and services offered by technology-related companies may decrease over time, which could adversely affect their operating results, their ability to meet obligations under their debt securities and the value of their equity securities. This could, in turn, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A natural disaster may also impact the operations of our portfolio companies, including our technology-related portfolio companies. The nature and level of natural disasters cannot be predicted and may be exacerbated by global climate change. A portion of our technology-related portfolio companies rely on items assembled or produced in areas susceptible to natural disasters, and may sell finished goods into markets susceptible to natural disasters. A major disaster, such as an earthquake, tsunami, flood or other catastrophic event could result in disruption to the business and operations of our technology-related portfolio companies. For example, the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan may have an adverse impact on us or our portfolio companies.

We have invested in and may continue investing in technology-related companies that do not have venture capital or private equity firms as equity investors, and these companies may entail a higher risk of loss than do companies with institutional equity investors, which could increase the risk of loss of your investment.

Our portfolio companies will often require substantial additional equity financing to satisfy their continuing working capital and other cash requirements and, in most instances, to service the interest and principal payments on our investment. Portfolio companies that do not have venture capital or private equity investors may be unable to raise any additional capital to satisfy their obligations or to raise sufficient additional capital to reach the next stage of development. Portfolio companies that do not have venture capital or private equity investors may be less financially sophisticated and may not have access to independent members to serve on their boards, which means that they may be less successful than portfolio companies sponsored by venture capital or private equity firms. Accordingly, financing these types of companies may entail a higher risk of loss than would financing companies that are sponsored by venture capital or private equity firms.

The effects of the price declines and illiquidity in the corporate debt markets could adversely affect the fair value of our portfolio investments, reducing our net asset value through increased net unrealized depreciation.

As a business development company, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair market value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our board of directors. As part of the valuation process, we may take into account the following types of factors, if relevant, in determining the fair value of our investments: the enterprise value of a portfolio company (an estimate of the total fair value of the portfolio company’s debt and equity), the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings and discounted cash flow, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, a comparison of the portfolio company’s securities to publicly traded securities, changes in the interest rate environment and the credit markets generally that may affect the price at which similar investments may be made in the future and other relevant factors. When an external event such as a purchase transaction, public offering or subsequent equity sale occurs, we use the pricing indicated by the external event to corroborate our valuation. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments are recorded as unrealized depreciation. As of December 31, 2010, conditions in the public and private debt and equity markets had continued to improve and pricing levels continued to rise. However, if macro and micro market conditions should deteriorate, we could incur substantial realized losses and may suffer substantial unrealized depreciation in future periods, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

41


Table of Contents

Economic recessions or downturns could impair the ability of our portfolio companies to repay loans, which, in turn, could increase our non-performing assets, decrease the value of our portfolio, reduce our volume of new loans and harm our operating results, which might have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

Many of our portfolio companies may be susceptible to economic slowdowns or recessions and may be unable to repay our loans during such periods. In such periods, our non-performing assets are likely to increase and the value of our portfolio is likely to decrease during such periods. Adverse economic conditions also may decrease the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments. Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us.

A portfolio company’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, termination of the portfolio company’s loans and foreclosure on its secured assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize the portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt securities that we hold. We may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company. In addition, if a portfolio company goes bankrupt, even though we may have structured our investment as senior debt or secured debt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we actually provided significant “managerial assistance,” if any, to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might re-characterize our debt holding and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors. These events could harm our financial condition and operating results.

Generally, we do not control our portfolio companies. These portfolio companies may face intense competition, including competition from companies with greater financial resources, more extensive research and development, manufacturing, marketing and service capabilities and greater number of qualified and experienced managerial and technical personnel. They may need additional financing which they are unable to secure and which we are unable or unwilling to provide, or they may be subject to adverse developments unrelated to the technologies they acquire.

Any unrealized losses we experience on our investment portfolio may be an indication of future realized losses, which could reduce our income available for distribution.

As a business development company, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our Board of Directors. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments will be recorded as unrealized depreciation. Any unrealized losses in our investment portfolio could be an indication of a portfolio company’s inability to meet its repayment obligations to us with respect to the affected investments. This could result in realized losses in the future and ultimately in reductions of our income available for distribution in future periods.

A lack of initial public offering opportunities may cause companies to stay in our portfolio longer, leading to lower returns, unrealized depreciation, or realized losses.

A lack of IPO opportunities for venture capital-backed companies could lead to companies staying longer in our portfolio as private entities still requiring funding. This situation may adversely affect the amount of available funding for early-stage companies in particular as, in general, venture-capital firms are being forced to provide additional financing to late-stage companies that cannot complete an IPO. In the best case, such stagnation would dampen returns, and in the worst case, could lead to unrealized depreciation and realized losses as some companies run short of cash and have to accept lower valuations in private fundings or are not able to access additional capital at all. A lack of IPO opportunities for venture capital-backed companies can also cause some venture capital firms to change their strategies, leading some of them to reduce funding of their portfolio companies and making it more difficult for such companies to access capital and to fulfill their potential, which can result in unrealized depreciation and realized losses in such companies by other companies such as ourselves who are co-investors in such companies.

 

42


Table of Contents

To the extent venture capital or private equity firms decrease or discontinue funding to their portfolio companies, our portfolio companies may not be able to meet their obligations under the debt securities that we hold.

Most of our portfolio companies rely heavily on future rounds of funding from venture capital or private equity firms in order to continue operating their businesses and repaying their obligations to us under the debt securities that we hold. Venture capital and private equity firms in turn rely on their limited partners to pay in capital over time in order to fund their ongoing and future investment activities.

To the extent that venture capital and private equity firms’ limited partners are unable to fulfill their ongoing funding obligations, the venture capital or private equity firms may be unable to continue financially supporting the ongoing operations of our portfolio companies. As a result, our portfolio companies may be unable to repay their obligations under the debt securities that we hold, which would harm our financial condition and results of operations.

If the assets securing the loans that we make decrease in value, then we may lack sufficient collateral to cover losses.

We believe that our portfolio companies generally will be able to repay our loans from their available capital, from future capital-raising transactions, or from cash flow from operations. However, to attempt to mitigate credit risks, we will typically take a security interest in the available assets of these portfolio companies, including the equity interests of their subsidiaries and, in some cases, the equity interests of our portfolio companies held by their stockholders. In many cases, our loans will include a period of interest-only payments. There is a risk that the collateral securing our loans may decrease in value over time, may be difficult to sell in a timely manner, may be difficult to appraise and may fluctuate in value based upon the success of the business and market conditions, including as a result of the inability of a portfolio company to raise additional capital. In some circumstances, our lien could be subordinated to claims of other creditors. Additionally, deterioration in a portfolio company’s financial condition and prospects, including its inability to raise additional capital, may be accompanied by deterioration in the value of the collateral for the loan. Moreover, in the case of some of our structured debt with warrants, we may not have a first lien position on the collateral. Consequently, the fact that a loan is secured does not guarantee that we will receive principal and interest payments according to the loan’s terms, or that we will be able to collect on the loan should we be forced to enforce our remedies.

In addition, because we invest in technology-related companies, a substantial portion of the assets securing our investment may be in the form of intellectual property, if any, inventory and equipment and, to a lesser extent, cash and accounts receivable. Intellectual property, if any, that is securing our loan could lose value if, among other things, the company’s rights to the intellectual property are challenged or if the company’s license to the intellectual property is revoked or expires. Inventory may not be adequate to secure our loan if our valuation of the inventory at the time that we made the loan was not accurate or if there is a reduction in the demand for the inventory.

Similarly, any equipment securing our loan may not provide us with the anticipated security if there are changes in technology or advances in new equipment that render the particular equipment obsolete or of limited value, or if the company fails to adequately maintain or repair the equipment. Any one or more of the preceding factors could materially impair our ability to recover principal in a foreclosure.

Economic downturns or recessions could impair the value of the collateral for our loans to our portfolio companies and consequently increase the possibility of an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Many of our portfolio companies are susceptible to economic recessions and may be unable to repay our loans during such periods. Therefore, our non-performing assets are likely to increase and the value of our

 

43


Table of Contents

portfolio is likely to decrease during such periods. Adverse economic conditions may also decrease the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments.

In particular, intellectual property owned or controlled by our portfolio companies constitutes an important portion of the value of the collateral of our loans to our portfolio companies. Adverse economic conditions may decrease the demand for our portfolio companies’ intellectual property and consequently its value in the event of a bankruptcy or required sale through a foreclosure proceeding. As a result, our ability to fully recover the amounts owed to us under the terms of the loans may be impaired by such events.

Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us.

A portfolio company’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, termination of the portfolio company’s loans and foreclosure on its secured assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize the portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt securities that we hold. We may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company. In addition, if a portfolio company goes bankrupt, even though we may have structured our investment as senior debt or secured debt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we actually provided significant “managerial assistance,” if any, to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might re-characterize our debt holding and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors. These events could harm our financial condition and operating results.

Generally, we do not control our portfolio companies. These portfolio companies may face intense competition, including competition from companies with greater financial resources, more extensive research and development, manufacturing, marketing and service capabilities and greater number of qualified and experienced managerial and technical personnel. They may need additional financing which they are unable to secure and which we are unable or unwilling to provide, or they may be subject to adverse developments unrelated to the technologies they acquire.

We may suffer a loss if a portfolio company defaults on a loan and the underlying collateral is not sufficient.

In the event of a default by a portfolio company on a secured loan, we will only have recourse to the assets collateralizing the loan. If the underlying collateral value is less than the loan amount, we will suffer a loss. In addition, we sometimes make loans that are unsecured, which are subject to the risk that other lenders may be directly secured by the assets of the portfolio company. In the event of a default, those collateralized lenders would have priority over us with respect to the proceeds of a sale of the underlying assets. In cases described above, we may lack control over the underlying asset collateralizing our loan or the underlying assets of the portfolio company prior to a default, and as a result the value of the collateral may be reduced by acts or omissions by owners or managers of the assets.

In the event of bankruptcy of a portfolio company, we may not have full recourse to its assets in order to satisfy our loan, or our loan may be subject to equitable subordination. In addition, certain of our loans are subordinate to other debt of the portfolio company. If a portfolio company defaults on our loan or on debt senior to our loan, or in the event of a portfolio company bankruptcy, our loan will be satisfied only after the senior debt receives payment. Where debt senior to our loan exists, the presence of intercreditor arrangements may limit our ability to amend our loan documents, assign our loans, accept prepayments, exercise our remedies (through “standstill” periods) and control decisions made in bankruptcy proceedings relating to the portfolio company. Bankruptcy and portfolio company litigation can significantly increase collection losses and the time needed for us to acquire the underlying collateral in the event of a default, during which time the collateral may decline in value, causing us to suffer losses.

 

44


Table of Contents

If the value of collateral underlying our loan declines or interest rates increase during the term of our loan, a portfolio company may not be able to obtain the necessary funds to repay our loan at maturity through refinancing. Decreasing collateral value and/or increasing interest rates may hinder a portfolio company’s ability to refinance our loan because the underlying collateral cannot satisfy the debt service coverage requirements necessary to obtain new financing. If a borrower is unable to repay our loan at maturity, we could suffer a loss which may adversely impact our financial performance.

The inability of our portfolio companies to commercialize their technologies or create or develop commercially viable products or businesses would have a negative impact on our investment returns.

The possibility that our portfolio companies will not be able to commercialize their technology, products or business concepts presents significant risks to the value of our investment. Additionally, although some of our portfolio companies may already have a commercially successful product or product line when we invest, technology-related products and services often have a more limited market- or life-span than have products in other industries. Thus, the ultimate success of these companies often depends on their ability to continually innovate, or raise additional capital, in increasingly competitive markets. Their inability to do so could affect our investment return. In addition, the intellectual property held by our portfolio companies often represents a substantial portion of the collateral, if any, securing our investments. We cannot assure you that any of our portfolio companies will successfully acquire or develop any new technologies, or that the intellectual property the companies currently hold will remain viable. Even if our portfolio companies are able to develop commercially viable products, the market for new products and services is highly competitive and rapidly changing. Neither our portfolio companies nor we have any control over the pace of technology development. Commercial success is difficult to predict, and the marketing efforts of our portfolio companies may not be successful.

An investment strategy focused primarily on privately-held companies presents certain challenges, including the lack of available information about these companies, a dependence on the talents and efforts of only a few key portfolio company personnel and a greater vulnerability to economic downturns.

We invest primarily in privately-held companies. Generally, very little public information exists about these companies, and we are required to rely on the ability of our management team to obtain adequate information to evaluate the potential returns from investing in these companies. If we are unable to uncover all material information about these companies, then we may not make a fully informed investment decision, and we may not receive the expected return on our investment or lose some or all of the money invested in these companies. Also, privately-held companies frequently have less diverse product lines and a smaller market presence than do larger competitors. Privately-held companies are, thus, generally more vulnerable to economic downturns and may experience more substantial variations in operating results than do larger competitors. These factors could affect our investment returns.

In addition, our success depends, in large part, upon the abilities of the key management personnel of our portfolio companies, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of our portfolio companies. Competition for qualified personnel is intense at any stage of a company’s development, and high turnover of personnel is common in technology-related companies. The loss of one or more key managers can hinder or delay a company’s implementation of its business plan and harm its financial condition. Our portfolio companies may not be able to attract and retain qualified managers and personnel. Any inability to do so may negatively impact our investment returns.

If our portfolio companies are unable to protect their intellectual property rights, then our business and prospects could be harmed. If our portfolio companies are required to devote significant resources to protecting their intellectual property rights, then the value of our investment could be reduced.

Our future success and competitive position depend in part upon the ability of our portfolio companies to obtain and maintain proprietary technology used in their products and services, which will often represent a

 

45


Table of Contents

significant portion of the collateral, if any, securing our investment. The portfolio companies will rely, in part, on patent, trade secret and trademark law to protect that technology, but competitors may misappropriate their intellectual property, and disputes as to ownership of intellectual property may arise. Portfolio companies may, from time to time, be required to institute litigation in order to enforce their patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights, to protect their trade secrets, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to defend against claims of infringement. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources. Similarly, if a portfolio company is found to infringe upon or misappropriate a third party’s patent or other proprietary rights, that portfolio company could be required to pay damages to such third party, alter its own products or processes, obtain a license from the third party and/or cease activities utilizing such proprietary rights, including making or selling products utilizing such proprietary rights. Any of the foregoing events could negatively affect both the portfolio company’s ability to service our debt investment and the value of any related debt and equity securities that we own, as well as any collateral securing our investment.

We may not be able to realize our entire investment on equipment-based loans in the case of default.

We may from time-to-time provide loans that will be collateralized only by equipment of the portfolio company. If the portfolio company defaults on the loan we would take possession of the underlying equipment to satisfy the outstanding debt. The residual value of the equipment at the time we would take possession may not be sufficient to satisfy the outstanding debt and we could experience a loss on the disposition of the equipment.

Our investments in foreign securities may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.

Our investment strategy contemplates that a portion of our investments may be in securities of foreign companies. Investing in foreign companies may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in U.S. companies. These risks include changes in exchange control regulations, political and social instability, expropriation, imposition of foreign taxes, less liquid markets and less available information than is generally the case in the U.S., higher transaction costs, less government supervision of exchanges, brokers and issuers, less developed bankruptcy laws, difficulty in enforcing contractual obligations, lack of uniform accounting and auditing standards and greater price volatility.

Some of our portfolio companies may need additional capital, which may not be readily available.

Our portfolio companies will often require substantial additional equity financing to satisfy their continuing working capital and other requirements, and in most instances to service the interest and principal payments on our investment. Each round of venture financing is typically intended to provide a company with only enough capital to reach the next stage of development. We cannot predict the circumstances or market conditions under which our portfolio companies will seek additional capital. It is possible that one or more of our portfolio companies will not be able to raise additional financing or may be able to do so only at a price or on terms unfavorable to us, either of which would negatively impact our investment returns. Some of these companies may be unable to obtain sufficient financing from private investors, public capital markets or traditional lenders. Accordingly, financing these types of companies may entail a higher risk of loss than would financing companies that are able to utilize traditional credit sources.

We may be unable or decide not to make additional cash investments in our portfolio companies which could result in our losing our initial investment if the portfolio company fails.

We may have to make additional cash investments in our portfolio companies to protect our overall investment value in the particular company. We retain the discretion to make any additional investments as our management determines. The failure to make such additional investments may jeopardize the continued viability of a portfolio company, and our initial (and subsequent) investments. Moreover, additional investments may limit the number of companies in which we can make initial investments. In determining whether to make an

 

46


Table of Contents

additional investment our management will exercise its business judgment and apply criteria similar to those used when making the initial investment. We cannot assure you that we will have sufficient funds to make any necessary additional investments, which could adversely affect our success and result in the loss of a substantial portion or all of our investment in a portfolio company.

If our investments do not meet our performance expectations, you may not receive distributions.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders. We may not be able to achieve operating results that will allow us to make distributions at a specific level or to increase the amount of these distributions from time to time. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. See “Regulation.” Also, restrictions and provisions in any future credit facilities may limit our ability to make distributions. As a RIC, if we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income annually, we will suffer adverse tax consequences, including failure to obtain, or possible loss of, the federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs. See “Item 1. Business—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Taxation as a Regulated Investment Company.” We cannot assure you that you will receive distributions at a particular level or at all.

We may not have sufficient funds to make follow-on investments. Our decision not to make a follow-on investment may have a negative impact on a portfolio company in need of such an investment or may result in a missed opportunity for us.

After our initial investment in a portfolio company, we may be called upon from time to time to provide additional funds to such company or have the opportunity to increase our investment in a successful situation, for example, the exercise of a warrant to purchase common stock. Any decision we make not to make a follow-on investment or any inability on our part to make such an investment may have a negative impact on a portfolio company in need of such an investment or may result in a missed opportunity for us to increase our participation in a successful operation and may dilute our equity interest or otherwise reduce the expected yield on our investment. Moreover, a follow-on investment may limit the number of companies in which we can make initial investments. In determining whether to make a follow-on investment, our management will exercise its business judgment and apply criteria similar to those used when making the initial investment. There is no assurance that we will make, or will have sufficient funds to make, follow-on investments and this could adversely affect our success and result in the loss of a substantial portion or all of our investment in a portfolio company.

Any unrealized depreciation that we experience on our loan portfolio may be an indication of future realized losses, which could reduce our income available for distribution.

As a business development company, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at the fair value as determined in good faith by our Board of Directors in accordance with procedures approved by our Board of Directors. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments will be recorded as unrealized depreciation. Any unrealized depreciation in our loan portfolio could be an indication of a portfolio company’s inability to meet its repayment obligations to us with respect to the affected loans. This could result in realized losses in the future and ultimately in reductions of our income available for distribution in future periods.

The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business and, if we need to sell any of our investments, we may not be able to do so at a favorable price. As a result, we may suffer losses.

We generally invest in debt securities with terms of up to seven years and hold such investments until maturity, and we do not expect that our related holdings of equity securities will provide us with liquidity opportunities in the near-term. We invest and expect to continue investing in companies whose securities have no established trading market and whose securities are and will be subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or whose securities are and will be less liquid than are publicly-traded securities. The illiquidity of these

 

47


Table of Contents

investments may make it difficult for us to sell these investments when desired. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we had previously recorded these investments. As a result, we do not expect to achieve liquidity in our investments in the near-term. However, to maintain our qualification as a business development company and as a RIC, we may have to dispose of investments if we do not satisfy one or more of the applicable criteria under the respective regulatory frameworks. Our investments are usually subject to contractual or legal restrictions on resale, or are otherwise illiquid, because there is usually no established trading market for such investments. The illiquidity of most of our investments may make it difficult for us to dispose of the investments at a favorable price and, as a result, we may suffer losses.

Our portfolio companies may incur debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies.

We invest primarily in debt securities issued by our portfolio companies. In some cases, portfolio companies will be permitted to have other debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, the debt securities in which we invest. Such debt instruments may provide that the holders thereof are entitled to receive payment of interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of the debt securities in which we invest. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of debt instruments ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company would typically be entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any distribution in respect of our investment. After repaying such senior creditors, such portfolio company might not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. In the case of debt ranking equally with debt securities in which we invest, we would have to share on a pari passu basis any distributions with other creditors holding such debt in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy. In addition, we would not be in a position to control any portfolio company by investing in its debt securities. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company in which we invest may make business decisions with which we disagree and the management of such companies, as representatives of the holders of their common equity, may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not best serve our interests as debt investors.

Our equity related investments are highly speculative, and we may not realize gains from these investments. If our equity investments do not generate gains, then the return on our invested capital will be lower than it would otherwise be, which could result in a decline in the value of shares of our common stock.

When we invest in debt securities, we generally expect to acquire warrants or other equity securities as well. Our goal is ultimately to dispose of these equity interests and realize gains upon disposition of such interests. Over time, the gains that we realize on these equity interests may offset, to some extent, losses that we experience on defaults under debt securities that we hold. However, the equity interests that we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our equity interests, and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of any equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses that we experience.

We generally do not control our portfolio companies and therefore our portfolio companies may make decisions with which we disagree.

Generally, we do not control any of our portfolio companies, even though we may have board observation rights and our debt agreements may contain certain restrictive covenants. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company in which we invest may make business decisions with which we disagree and the management of such company, as representatives of the holders of their common equity, may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not serve our interests as debt investors.

 

48


Table of Contents

Prepayments of our debt investments by our portfolio companies could adversely impact our results of operations and reduce our return on equity.

In 2010, we received early loan repayments and pay down of working capital loans of approximately $114.5 million. We are subject to the risk that the investments we make in our portfolio companies may be repaid prior to maturity. When this occurs, we will generally reinvest these proceeds in temporary investments, pending their future investment in new portfolio companies. These temporary investments will typically have substantially lower yields than the debt being prepaid and we could experience significant delays in reinvesting these amounts. Any future investment in a new portfolio company may also be at lower yields than the debt that was repaid. As a result, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected if one or more of our portfolio companies elect to prepay amounts owed to us. Additionally, prepayments could negatively impact our return on equity, which could result in a decline in the market price of our common stock.

We may not realize gains from our equity investments.

When we invest in debt securities, we generally expect to acquire warrants or other equity securities as well. However, the equity interests we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our equity interests, and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of any equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses we experience.

Our financial results could be negatively affected if we are unable to recover our principal investment as a result of a negative pledge on the intellectual property of our portfolio companies.

In some cases, we collateralize our investments by obtaining a first priority security interest in a portfolio companies’ assets, which may include their intellectual property. In other cases, we may obtain a first priority security interest in a portion of a portfolio company’s assets and a negative pledge covering a company’s intellectual property and a first priority security interest in the proceeds from such intellectual property. In the case of a negative pledge, the portfolio company cannot encumber or pledge their intellectual property without our permission. In the event of a default on a loan, the intellectual property of the portfolio company will most likely be liquidated to provide proceeds to pay the creditors of the company. As a result, a negative pledge may affect our ability to fully recover our principal investment. In addition, there can be no assurance that our security interest in the proceeds of the intellectual property will be enforceable in a court of law or bankruptcy court.

At December 31, 2010, approximately 75.4% of our portfolio company loans were secured by a first priority security in all of the assets of the portfolio company, 1.8% of our portfolio company loans were secured by a second priority security in all of the assets of the portfolio company and 22.8% portfolio company loans were prohibited from pledging or encumbering their intellectual property pursuant to negative pledges.

We may choose to waive or defer enforcement of covenants in the debt securities held in our portfolio, which may cause us to lose all or part of our investment in these companies.

We structure the debt investments in our portfolio companies to include business and financial covenants placing affirmative and negative obligations on the operation of the company’s business and its financial condition. However, from time to time we may elect to waive breaches of these covenants, including our right to payment, or waive or defer enforcement of remedies, such as acceleration of obligations or foreclosure on collateral, depending upon the financial condition and prospects of the particular portfolio company. These actions may reduce the likelihood of our receiving the full amount of future payments of interest or principal and be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of the underlying collateral as many of these companies may have limited financial resources, may be unable to meet future obligations and may go bankrupt. This could negatively impact our ability to pay dividends and cause the loss of all or part of your investment.

 

49


Table of Contents

Our loans could be subject to equitable subordination by a court which would increase our risk of loss with respect to such loans.

Courts may apply the doctrine of equitable subordination to subordinate the claim or lien of a lender against a borrower to claims or liens of other creditors of the borrower, when the lender or its affiliates is found to have engaged in unfair, inequitable or fraudulent conduct. The courts have also applied the doctrine of equitable subordination when a lender or its affiliates is found to have exerted inappropriate control over a client, including control resulting from the ownership of equity interests in a client. We have made direct equity investments or received warrants in connection with loans representing approximately 14.9% of the aggregate outstanding balance of our portfolio as of December 31, 2010. Payments on one or more of our loans, particularly a loan to a client in which we also hold an equity interest, may be subject to claims of equitable subordination. If we were deemed to have the ability to control or otherwise exercise influence over the business and affairs of one or more of our portfolio companies resulting in economic hardship to other creditors of that company, this control or influence may constitute grounds for equitable subordination and a court may treat one or more of our loans as if it were unsecured or common equity in the portfolio company. In that case, if the portfolio company were to liquidate, we would be entitled to repayment of our loan on a pro-rata basis with other unsecured debt or, if the effect of subordination was to place us at the level of common equity, then on an equal basis with other holders of the portfolio company’s common equity only after all of its obligations relating to its debt and preferred securities had been satisfied.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

Investing in shares of our common stock may involve an above average degree of risk.

The investments we make in accordance with our investment objective may result in a higher amount of risk, volatility or loss of principal than alternative investment options. Our investments in portfolio companies may be highly speculative and aggressive, and therefore, an investment in our common stock may not be suitable for investors with lower risk tolerance.

Our common stock may trade below its net asset value per share, which limits our ability to raise additional equity capital.

If our common stock is trading below its net asset value per share, we will generally not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. If our common stock trades below net asset value, the higher cost of equity capital may result in it being unattractive to raise new equity, which may limit our ability to grow. The risk of trading below net asset value is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value per share may decline. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our net asset value.

Provisions of our charter and bylaws could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.

Our charter and bylaws contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging, delaying, or making difficult a change in control of our company or the removal of our incumbent directors. Under our charter, our Board of Directors is divided into three classes serving staggered terms, which will make it more difficult for a hostile bidder to acquire control of us. In addition, our Board of Directors may, without stockholder action, authorize the issuance of shares of stock in one or more classes or series, including preferred stock. Subject to compliance with the 1940 Act, our Board of Directors may, without stockholder action, amend our charter to increase the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue. The existence of these provisions, among others, may have a negative impact on the price of our common stock and may discourage third party bids for ownership of our company. These provisions may prevent any premiums being offered to you for shares of our common stock.

 

50


Table of Contents

If we conduct an offering of our common stock at a price below net asset value, investors are likely to incur immediate dilution upon the closing of the offering.

We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock, or sell warrants, options or rights to acquire such common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of the Company and our stockholders have approved the practice of making such sales.

At our Annual Meeting of Stockholders on June 9, 2010, our stockholders approved a proposal authorizing us to sell up to 20% of our common stock at a price below the Company’s net asset value per share, subject to Board approval of the offering. If we were to issue shares at a price below net asset value, such sales would result in an immediate dilution to existing common stockholders, which would include a reduction in the net asset value per share as a result of the issuance. This dilution would also include a proportionately greater decrease in a stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance.

In addition, if we determined to conduct additional offerings in the future there may be even greater discounts if we determine to conduct such offerings at prices below net asset value. As a result, investors will experience further dilution and additional discounts to the price of our common stock. Because the number of shares of common stock that could be so issued and the timing of any issuance is not currently known, the actual dilutive effect of an offering cannot be predicted. We did not sell any of our securities at a price below net asset value during the year ended December 31, 2010.

The price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly.

As with any company, the price of our common stock will fluctuate with market conditions and other factors, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

 

   

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of RICs, business development companies or other financial services companies;

 

   

any inability to deploy or invest our capital;

 

   

fluctuations in interest rates;

 

   

any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by investors or securities analysts;

 

   

the financial performance of specific industries in which we invest in on a recurring basis;

 

   

announcement of strategic developments, acquisitions, and other material events by us or our competitors, or operating performance of companies comparable to us;

 

   

changes in regulatory policies or tax guidelines with respect to RICs, SBICs or business development companies;

 

   

losing RIC status;

 

   

actual or anticipated changes in our earnings or fluctuations in our operating results, or changes in the expectations of securities analysts;

 

   

changes in the value of our portfolio of investments;

 

   

realized losses in investments in our portfolio companies;

 

   

general economic conditions and trends;

 

51


Table of Contents
   

inability to access the capital markets;

 

   

loss of a major funded source; or

 

   

departures of key personnel.

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Due to the potential volatility of our stock price, we may be the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and could divert management’s attention and resources from our business.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

We received comments from the staff of the Division of Investment Management of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Staff”) with respect to our newly filed Registration Statement on Form N-2 (File No. 333-150403). We are in the process of responding to the Staff’s comments, including the Staff’s comment with respect to our valuation procedures.

 

Item 2. Properties

Neither we nor any of our subsidiaries own any real estate or other physical properties materially important to our operation or any of our subsidiaries. Currently, we lease approximately 14,500 square feet of office space in Palo Alto, California for our corporate headquarters. We also lease office space in Boston, Massachusetts and Boulder, Colorado.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

As of December 31, 2010, we were not a party to any material legal proceedings. However, from time to time, we may be party to certain legal proceedings incidental to the normal course of our business including the enforcement of our rights under contracts with our portfolio companies.

 

Item 4. Reserved

 

52


Table of Contents

PART II

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

PRICE RANGE OF COMMON STOCK

Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “HTGC.” The following table sets forth the range of high and low sales prices of our common stock as reported on the NASDAQ Global Select Market for each of the quarterly periods during 2010 and 2009. Our common stock may trade at prices that are at, above, or below our net asset value.

 

     Price Range  

Quarter Ended

   High      Low  

March 31, 2009

   $ 8.62       $ 3.93   

June 30, 2009

     8.89         4.76   

September 30, 2009

     10.35         8.33   

December 31, 2009

     11.22         8.96   

March 31, 2010

     11.15         9.16   

June 30, 2010

     11.50         8.62   

September 30, 2010

     10.57         9.13   

December 31, 2010

     10.91         9.87   

As of March 7, 2011, we had 39 stockholders of record. Most of the shares of our common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders. We believe that there are currently approximately 12,000 additional beneficial holders of our common stock.

Shares of business development companies may trade at a market price that is less than the value of the net assets attributable to those shares. The possibilities that our shares of common stock will trade at a discount from net asset value or at premiums that are unsustainable over the long term are separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value will decrease. At times, our shares of common stock have traded at a premium to net asset value or at a significant discount to the net assets attributable to those shares.

SALES OF UNREGISTERED SECURITIES

During 2010, 2009 and 2008, the Board of Directors elected to receive approximately $105,000, $22,000 and $70,000 respectively, of their compensation in the form of common stock and the Company issued 10,479, 3,334 and 6,668 shares, respectively, to the directors based on the closing prices of the common stock on the specified election dates.

During 2010 and 2009, we issued approximately 199,000 and 307,000 shares, respectively, of common stock to shareholders in connection with the dividend reinvestment plan.

ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

In February 2010, the Board of Directors approved a $35.0 million open market share repurchase program. Hercules may repurchase common stock in the open market, including block purchases, at prices that may be above or below the net asset value as reported in its then most recently published financial statements. Hercules anticipates that the manner, timing, and amount of any share purchases will be determined by company management based upon the evaluation of market conditions, stock price, and additional factors in accordance with regulatory requirements.

 

53


Table of Contents

As a 1940 Act reporting company, Hercules is required to notify shareholders of the existence of a repurchase program when such a program is initiated or implemented. The repurchase program does not require Hercules to acquire any specific number of shares and may be extended, modified, or discontinued at any time.

On January 27, 2011, the Company approved the extension of the stock repurchase plan as previously approved on February 8, 2010 under the same terms and conditions that allows the Company to repurchase up to $35.0 million of its common stock set to expire on February 11, 2011 for an additional six month period with a new expiration date of August 26, 2011.

During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company repurchased 402,833 shares of its common stock at a total cost of approximately $3.7 million.

EQUITY COMPENSATION PLAN INFORMATION

Information relating to compensation plans under which our equity securities are authorized for issuance is set forth under the heading “Executive Compensation—Equity Compensation Plan Information” in our definitive proxy statement for our 2011 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

DIVIDEND POLICY

As a RIC, we intend to distribute quarterly dividends to our stockholders. To the extent we do not distribute during each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of (1) 98% of our ordinary income for the calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gains in excess of capital losses for the one year period ending on October 31 of the calendar year, and (3) any ordinary income and net capital gains for the preceding year that were not distributed during such years we are required to pay a 4% excise tax on our undistributed income. To the extent that we earn annual taxable income in excess of dividends paid from such taxable income for the year, we may carry over the excess taxable income into the next year and such excess income will be available for distribution in the next year as permitted by the Code. We will not be subject to excise taxes on amounts on which we are required to pay corporate income tax (such as retained net capital gains). In order to obtain the tax benefits applicable to RICs, we will be required to distribute to our stockholders with respect to each taxable year at least 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses. We currently intend to retain for investment realized net long-term capital gains in excess of realized net short-term capital losses. Please refer to “Item 1. Business—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations” for further information regarding the consequences of our retention of net capital gains. We may, in the future, make actual distributions to our stockholders of some or all realized net long-term capital gains in excess of realized net short-term capital losses. We can offer no assurance that we will achieve results that will permit the payment of any distributions and, if we issue senior securities, we may be prohibited from making distributions if doing so causes us to fail to maintain the asset coverage ratios stipulated by the 1940 Act or if distributions are limited by the terms of any of our borrowings. See “Item 1. Business—Regulation as a Business Development Company.”

For the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, we did not record a provision for excise tax since we have paid out greater than 98% of our taxable earnings for each fiscal year.

 

54


Table of Contents

The following table summarizes dividends declared and paid or to be paid on all shares, including restricted stock, to date:

 

Date Declared

   Record Date      Payment Date      Amount Per Share  

October 27, 2005

     November 1, 2005         November 17, 2005       $ 0.025   

December 9, 2005

     January 6, 2006         January 27, 2006         0.300   

April 3, 2006

     April 10, 2006         May 5, 2006         0.300   

July 19, 2006

     July 31, 2006         August 28, 2006         0.300   

October 16, 2006

     November 6, 2006         December 1, 2006         0.300   

February 7, 2007

     February 19, 2007         March 19, 2007         0.300   

May 3, 2007

     May 16, 2007         June 18, 2007         0.300   

August 2, 2007

     August 16, 2007         September 17, 2007         0.300   

November 1, 2007

     November 16, 2007         December 17, 2007         0.300   

February 7, 2008

     February 15, 2008         March 17, 2008         0.300   

May 8, 2008

     May 16, 2008         June 16, 2008         0.340   

August 7, 2008

     August 15, 2008         September 19, 2008         0.340   

November 6, 2008

     November 14, 2008         December 15, 2008         0.340   

February 12, 2009

     February 23, 2009         March 30, 2009         0.320

May 7, 2009

     May 15, 2009         June 15, 2009         0.300   

August 6, 2009

     August 14, 2009         September 14, 2009         0.300   

October 15, 2009

     October 20, 2009         November 23, 2009         0.300   

December 16, 2009

     December 24, 2009         December 30, 2009         0.040   

February 11, 2010

     February 19, 2010         March 19, 2010         0.200   

May 3, 2010

     May 12, 2010         June 18, 2010         0.200   

August 2, 2010

     August 12, 2010         September 17, 2010         0.200   

November 4, 2010

     November 10, 2010         December 17, 2010         0.200   

March 1, 2011

     March 10, 2011         March 24, 2011         0.220   
              
         $ 6.025   
              

 

* Dividend paid in cash and stock.

On March 1, 2011 the Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend by 10.0% and declared a cash dividend of $0.22 per share that was paid on March 24, 2011 to shareholders of record as of March 10, 2011. This dividend would represent the Company’s twenty-second consecutive dividend declaration since its initial public offering, bringing the total cumulative dividend declared to date to $6.03 per share.

During 2010 and as recently updated, our Board of Directors maintains a variable dividend policy with the objective of distributing four quarterly distributions in an amount that approximates 90—100% of our taxable quarterly income or potential annual income for a particular year.

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits generally would be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s tax basis, and any remaining distributions would be treated as a capital gain. The determination of the tax attributes of our distributions is made annually as of the end of our fiscal year based upon its taxable income for the full year and distributions paid for the full year. Of the dividends declared during the year ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, 100% were distributions of ordinary income. There can be no certainty to stockholders that this determination is representative of what the tax attributes of our 2011 distributions to stockholders will actually be.

We maintain an “opt out” dividend reinvestment plan for our common stockholders. As a result, if we declare a dividend, cash dividends will be automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock unless you specifically “opt out” of the dividend reinvestment plan and choose to receive cash dividends. During 2010 and 2009, we issued approximately 199,000 and 307,000 shares, respectively, of common stock to shareholders in connection with the dividend reinvestment plan.

 

55


Table of Contents

PERFORMANCE GRAPH

The following stock performance graph compares the cumulative stockholder return assuming that, on June 9, 2005, a person invested $100 in each of our common stock, the S&P 500 Index, the S&P Asset Management & Custody Banks Index, the NASDAQ Financial 100 and the Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector Index—IYF (iShares). The graph measures total shareholder return, which takes into account both changes in stock price and dividends. It assumes that dividends paid are reinvested in like securities.

LOGO

This graph and other information furnished under Part II. Item 5 of the Form 10-K shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the 1934 Act. The stock price performance included in the above graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

 

56


Table of Contents
Item 6. Selected Financial Data

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following consolidated financial data is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements. The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere herein. Historical data is not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any future period.

 

    As of December 31,  

($ in thousands, except per share data)

  2010     2009     2008     2007     2006  

Balance sheet data:

         

Investments, at value

  $ 472,032      $ 374,669      $ 578,211      $ 525,492      $ 280,596   

Cash and cash equivalents

    107,014        124,828        17,242        7,856        16,404   

Total assets

    591,247        508,967        608,672        541,943        301,142   

Total liabilities

    178,716        142,452        226,214        141,206        45,729   

Total net assets

    412,531        366,515        382,458        400,737        255,413   

Other Data:

         

Total debt investments, at value

    401,618        325,134        536,964        477,643        264,086   

Total warrant investments, at value

    23,690        14,450        17,883        21,646        8,441   

Total equity investments, at value

    46,724        35,085        23,364        26,203        8,069   

Unfunded Commitments

    117,200        11,700        82,000        130,602        55,500   

Net asset value per share (1)

  $ 9.50      $ 10.29      $ 11.56      $ 12.31      $ 11.65   

 

(1) Based on common shares outstanding at period end.

HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

 

    For the Years Ended December 31,  

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

  2010     2009     2008     2007     2006  

Investment income:

         

Interest

  $ 54,700      $ 62,200      $ 67,283      $ 48,757      $ 26,278   

Fees

    4,774        12,077        8,552        5,127        3,230   
                                       

Total investment income

    59,474        74,277        75,835        53,884        29,508   

Operating expenses:

         

Interest

    8,572        9,387        13,121        4,404        5,770   

Loan fees

    1,259        1,880        2,649        1,290        810   

General and administrative

    7,086        7,281        6,899        5,437        5,409   

Employee Compensation:

         

Compensation and benefits

    10,474        10,737        11,595        9,135        5,779   

Stock-based compensation

    2,709        1,888        1,590        1,127        617   
                                       

Total employee compensation

    13,183        12,625        13,185        10,262        6,396   
                                       

Total operating expenses

    30,100        31,173        35,854        21,393        18,385   

Net investment income before provision for income taxes and investment gains and losses

    29,374        43,104        39,981        32,491        11,123   

Provision for income taxes

    —          —          —          2        643   
                                       

Net investment income

    29,374        43,104        39,981        32,489        10,480   

Net realized gain (loss) on investments

    (26,382     (30,801     2,643        2,791        (1,604

Provision for excise tax

    —          —          (203     (139     —     

Net increase (decrease) in unrealized appreciation on investments

    1,990        1,269        (21,426     7,268        2,508   
                                       

Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)

    (24,392     (29,532     (18,986     9,920        904   
                                       

Net increase in net assets resulting from operations

  $ 4,982      $ 13,572      $ 20,995      $ 42,409      $ 11,384   
                                       

Change in net assets per common share (basic):

  $ 0.12      $ 0.38      $ 0.64      $ 1.50      $ 0.85   
                                       

Cash dividends declared per common share

  $ 0.80      $ 1.26      $ 1.32      $ 1.20      $ 0.90   
                                       

 

57


Table of Contents
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

The matters discussed in this report, as well as in future oral and written statements by management of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, that are forward-looking statements are based on current management expectations that involve substantial risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the results expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or our future financial performance. We generally identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar words. Important assumptions include our ability to originate new investments, achieve certain margins and levels of profitability, the availability of additional capital, and the ability to maintain certain debt to asset ratios. In light of these and other uncertainties, the inclusion of a projection or forward-looking statement in this report should not be regarded as a representation by us that our plans or objectives will be achieved. The forward-looking statements contained in this report include statements as to:

 

   

our future operating results;

 

   

our business prospects and the prospects of our prospective portfolio companies;

 

   

the impact of investments that we expect to make;

 

   

the impact of a protracted decline in the liquidity of credit markets on our business;

 

   

our informal relationships with third parties including in the venture capital industry;

 

   

the expected market for venture capital investments and our addressable market;

 

   

the dependence of our future success on the general economy and its impact on the industries in which we invest;

 

   

our ability to access debt markets and equity markets;

 

   

the ability of our portfolio companies to achieve their objectives;

 

   

our expected financings and investments;

 

   

our regulatory structure and tax status;

 

   

our ability to operate as a business development company, a SBIC and a RIC;

 

   

the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital;

 

   

the timing of cash flows, if any, from the operations of our portfolio companies;

 

   

the timing, form and amount of any dividend distributions;

 

   

the impact of fluctuations in interest rates on our business;

 

   

the valuation of any investments in portfolio companies, particularly those having no liquid trading market; and

 

   

our ability to recover unrealized losses.

For a discussion of factors that could cause our actual results to differ from forward-looking statements contained in this report, please see the discussion under “Item 1A. Risk Factors.” You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made in this report relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this report.

 

58


Table of Contents

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes and other financial information appearing elsewhere in this report. In addition to historical information, the following discussion and other parts of this report contain forward-looking information that involves risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated by such forward-looking information due to the factors discussed under “Item 1A—Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements” of this Item 7.

The results of operations and statement of financial position reported on this Form 10-K have been adjusted for certain items determined subsequent to our earnings release on March 3, 2011. These adjustments primarily relate to our revenue recognition policy regarding the treatment of one-time loan fees. See “—Critical Accounting Policies.”

Overview

We are a specialty finance company that provides debt and equity growth capital to technology-related companies at various stages of development from seed and emerging growth to expansion and established stages of development, which include select publicly listed companies and lower middle market companies. We primarily finance privately-held companies backed by leading venture capital and private equity firms, and may also finance certain publicly-traded companies that lack access to public capital or are sensitive to equity ownership dilution. We source our investments through our principal office located in Silicon Valley as well as through additional offices in Boston and Boulder.

Our goal is to be the leading structured debt financing provider of choice for venture capital and private equity backed technology-related companies requiring sophisticated and customized financing solutions. Our strategy is to evaluate and invest in a broad range of technology-related companies including clean technology, life sciences and lower middle market companies and to offer a full suite of growth capital products up and down the capital structure. We invest primarily in structured debt with warrants and, to a lesser extent, in senior debt and equity investments. We use the term “structured debt with warrants” to refer to any debt investment, such as a senior or subordinated secured loan, that is coupled with an equity component, including warrants, options or rights to purchase common or preferred stock. Our structured debt with warrants investments will typically be secured by some or all of the assets of the portfolio company.

Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolio total return by generating current income from our debt investments and capital appreciation from our equity-related investments. Our primary business objectives are to increase our net income, net operating income and net asset value by investing in structured debt with warrants and equity of venture capital and private equity backed technology-related companies with attractive current yields and the potential for equity appreciation and realized gains. Our structured debt investments typically include warrants or other equity interests, giving us the potential to realize equity-like returns on a portion of our investments. Our equity ownership in our portfolio companies may represent a controlling interest. In some cases, we receive the right to make additional equity investments in our portfolio companies in connection with future equity financing rounds. Capital that we provide directly to venture capital and private equity backed technology-related companies is generally used for growth and general working capital purposes as well as in select cases for acquisitions or recapitalizations.

We are an internally managed, non-diversified closed-end investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company under the 1940 Act. As a business development company, we are required to comply with certain regulatory requirements. For instance, we generally have to invest at least 70% of our total assets in “qualifying assets,” including securities of private U.S. companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less.

From incorporation through December 31, 2005, we were taxed as a corporation under Subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code, or the Code. We are treated for federal income tax purposes as a regulated investment

 

59


Table of Contents

company, or a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code as of January 1, 2006. Pursuant to this election, we generally will not have to pay corporate-level taxes on any income that we distribute to our stockholders. However, such an election and qualification to be treated as a RIC requires that we comply with certain requirements contained in Subchapter M of the Code. For example, a RIC must meet certain requirements, including source-of-income, asset diversification and income distribution requirements. The income source requirement mandates that we receive 90% or more of our income from qualified earnings, typically referred to as “good income.” Qualified earnings may exclude such income as management fees received in connection with our SBIC or other potential outside managed funds and certain other fees.

Our portfolio is comprised of, and we anticipate that our portfolio will continue to be comprised of, investments primarily in technology-related companies at various stages of their development. Consistent with regulatory requirements, we invest primarily in United States based companies and to a lesser extent in foreign companies. Since 2007, our investing emphasis has been primarily on private companies following or in connection with a subsequent institutional round of equity financing, which we refer to as expansion-stage companies and private companies in later rounds of financing and certain public companies, which we refer to as established-stage companies and lower middle market companies. We have also historically focused our investment activities in private companies following or in connection with the first institutional round of financing, which we refer to as emerging-growth companies.

Current Economic and Market Environment

The global capital markets have experienced a period of disruption as evidenced by a lack of liquidity in the debt capital markets, write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk and the failure of certain major financial institutions. Despite actions of the United States federal government and foreign governments, these events contributed to worsening general economic conditions that have materially and adversely impacted the broader financial and credit markets and reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and financial services firms in particular. While indicators suggest improvement in the capital markets, these conditions could deteriorate in the future. During such market disruptions, we may have difficulty raising debt or equity capital especially as a result of regulatory constraints.

At the same time, the venture capital market for the technology-related companies in which we invest has been active and is continuing to show signs of increased investment activity in 2010 as compared to 2009. Therefore, to the extent we have capital available, we believe this is an opportune time to invest in the structured lending market for technology-related companies. Today’s economy creates potentially new attractive lending opportunities and we believe that the market for technology-related companies in 2011 is improving as evidenced by the improved IPO market in 2010 when compared to the previous two years.

Portfolio and Investment Activity

The total value of our investment portfolio was $472.0 million at December 31, 2010, as compared to $374.7 million at December 31, 2009. During the year ended December 31, 2010, we had debt commitments totaling $523.0 million and funded $320.4 million under these commitments and commitments from prior years, including restructuring and recapitalization transactions. We also made equity investments totaling approximately $2.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. The fair value of our equity and warrant portfolios at December 31, 2010 were $46.7 million and $23.7 million, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2010, we recognized net unrealized depreciation on our debt, and warrant portfolios of approximately $3.1 million and $0.5 million and net unrealized appreciation on our equity portfolio of approximately $5.2 million, in accordance with ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures , (“ASC 820”), formerly known as FAS 157.

At December 31, 2010, we had unfunded contractual commitments of $117.2 million to 19 portfolio companies. These commitments will be subject to the same underwriting and ongoing portfolio maintenance as

 

60


Table of Contents

are the on-balance sheet financial instruments that we hold. Since these commitments may expire without being drawn, unfunded commitments do not necessarily represent future cash requirements. In addition, we executed 8 non-binding term sheets for approximately $92.0 million for proposed future commitments. Non-binding outstanding term sheets are subject to completion of our due diligence and final approval process as well as negotiation of definitive documentation with the prospective portfolio companies. Not all non-binding term sheets are expected to close and do not necessarily represent future cash requirements.

In response to the lack of liquidity in the debt and capital markets, during 2009 we slowed our origination activities, adopting a slow and steady investment strategy and shifting our focus to established-stage companies. These changes were made to manage our credit performance, maintain adequate liquidity and to manage our operating expenses in this extremely challenging and unprecedented credit environment. In 2010, we saw signs of improvement in the venture capital backed technology-related sector and entered into commitments of approximately $523.0 million to new and existing portfolio companies, including restructuring and recapitalization transactions.

We receive payments in our loan portfolio based on scheduled amortization of the outstanding balances. In addition, we receive repayments of some of our loans prior to their scheduled maturity date. The frequency or volume of these repayments may fluctuate significantly from period to period. During the year ended December 31, 2010, we received normal principal amortization repayments of $81.6 million, and early repayments and working line of credit pay downs totaling $114.5 million. Total portfolio investment activity (inclusive of unearned income) as of and for each of the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009 was as follows:

 

(in millions)

   December 31,
2010
    December 31,
2009
 

Beginning Portfolio

   $ 374.7      $ 578.2   

Purchase of debt investments

     320.4        86.3   

Equity Investments

     2.3        2.9   

Sale of Investments

     (34.2     (36.5

Principal payments received on investments

     (81.6     (110.6

Early pay-offs and recoveries

     (114.5     (164.2

Accretion of loan discounts and paid-in-kind principal

     3.3        17.3   

Net change in unrealized depreciation in investments

     1.6        1.3   
                

Ending Portfolio

   $ 472.0      $ 374.7   
                

The following table shows the fair value of our portfolio of investments by asset class as of December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2009 (excluding unearned income).

 

    December 31, 2010     December 31, 2009  

(in thousands)

  Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
    Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
 

Senior secured debt with warrants

  $ 357,963        75.8   $ 226,391        60.4

Senior secured debt

    59,251        12.6     107,075        28.6

Preferred stock

    26,813        5.7     22,875        6.1

Senior debt-second lien with warrants

    8,094        1.7     6,118        1.6

Common Stock

    19,911        4.2     12,210        3.3
                               
  $ 472,032        100.0   $ 374,669        100.0
                               

 

61


Table of Contents

A summary of our investment portfolio at value by geographic location is as follows:

 

    December 31, 2010     December 31, 2009  

(in thousands)

  Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
    Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
 

United States

  $ 438,585        92.9   $ 349,262        93.2

Canada

    20,876        4.4     21,553        5.8

England

    10,653        2.3     —          0.0

Israel

    1,918        0.4     1,310        0.3

Netherlands

    —          0.0     2,544        0.7
                               
  $ 472,032        100.0   $ 374,669        100.0
                               

Our portfolio companies are primarily privately held expansion-and established-stage companies in the biopharmaceutical, clean technology, communications and networking, consumer and business products, electronics and computers, energy, information services, internet consumer and business services, medical devices, semiconductor and software industry sectors. These sectors are characterized by high margins, high growth rates, consolidation and product and market extension opportunities. Value is often vested in intangible assets and intellectual property.

The largest portfolio companies vary from year to year as new loans are recorded and loans pay off. Loan revenue, consisting of interest, fees, and recognition of gains on equity interests, can fluctuate dramatically when a loan is paid off or a related equity interest is sold. Revenue recognition in any given year can be highly concentrated among several portfolio companies.

For years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, our ten largest portfolio companies represented approximately 57.5% and 51.9% of the total fair value of our investments in portfolio companies, respectively. At December 31, 2010 and 2009, we had six and three investments, respectively, that represented 5% or more of our net assets. At December 31, 2010, we had three equity investments representing approximately 48.0% of the total fair value of our equity investments, and each represented 5% or more of the total fair value of our equity investments. At December 31, 2009, we had five equity investments which represented approximately 50.3% of the total fair value of our equity investments, and each represented 5% or more of the total fair value of such investments.

As required by the 1940 Act, the Company classifies its investments by level of control. “Control Investments” are defined in the 1940 Act as investments in those companies that the Company is deemed to “Control.” Generally, under the 1940 Act, the Company is deemed to “Control” a company in which it has invested if it owns 25% or more of the voting securities of such company or has greater than 50% representation on its board. “Affiliate Investments” are investments in those companies that are “Affiliated Companies” of the Company, as defined in the 1940 Act, which are not Control Investments. The Company is deemed to be an “Affiliate” of a company in which it has invested if it owns 5% or more but less than 25% of the voting securities of such company. “Non-Control/Non-Affiliate Investments” are investments that are neither Control Investments nor Affiliate Investments.

At December 31, 2010, we had one Control Investment, InfoLogix, Inc. Approximately $3.0 million in investment income was derived from our debt investment in this software and internet consumer portfolio company during the period ended December 31, 2010. See “—Subsequent Events” for more information regarding InfoLogix. At December 31, 2009, we had one investment in one portfolio company deemed to be a Control Investment. $1.4 million in investment income was derived from our debt investment in this portfolio company. No investments in 2008 were deemed to be Control Investments.

Approximately $2.5 million of realized gains and net unrealized appreciation of approximately $77,000 on this control investment were recognized during the year ended December 31, 2010. No realized gains or losses related to Control Investments were recognized during the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008. We recognized unrealized appreciation of approximately $8.4 million on Control Investments in 2009. No unrealized appreciation or depreciation was recognized on Control Investments during the year end December 31, 2008.

 

62


Table of Contents

At December 31, 2010, the Company had one investment in a portfolio company deemed to be an Affiliate. No income was derived from this investment as this is a non-income producing equity investment. At December 31, 2009, the Company had an investment in one portfolio company deemed to be an Affiliate and did not derive income as this investment was a non-income producing equity investment. At December 31, 2008, the Company had three portfolio companies deemed to be Affiliates. For the year ended December 31, 2008, income derived from three investments was $199,000 in interest income and $18,000 related to commitment and facility fee amortization.

There were no realized gains or losses related to this Affiliate during the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008. During the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, we recognized unrealized appreciation of approximately $795,000, $4.0 million and $3.3 million related to Affiliates.

The following table shows the fair value of our portfolio by industry sector at December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2009 (excluding unearned income):

 

    December 31, 2010     December 31, 2009  

(in thousands)

  Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
    Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
 

Software

  $ 96,508        20.4   $ 61,514        16.5

Communications & Networking

    65,098        13.8     58,039        15.6

Specialty Pharma

    63,607        13.5     25,628        6.8

Drug Discovery

    52,777        11.2     53,266        14.2

Consumer & Business Products

    45,316        9.6     25,200        6.7

Drug Delivery

    35,250        7.5     21,479        5.7

Clean Tech

    25,722        5.4     —          0.0

Therapeutic

    25,300        5.4     14,532        3.9

Diagnostic

    14,911        3.2     11,924        3.2

Information Services

    10,857        2.3     38,127        10.2

Surgical Devices

    10,172        2.1     2,741        0.7

Electronics & Computer Hardware

    7,819        1.6     17,778        4.7

Internet Consumer & Business Services

    7,255        1.5     20,254        5.4

Biotechnology Tools

    5,987        1.3     9,726        2.6

Semiconductors

    3,227        0.7     11,982        3.2

Media/Content/Info

    2,223        0.5     2,375        0.6

Energy

    3        0.0     104        0.0
                               
  $ 472,032        100.0   $ 374,669        100
                               

We use an investment grading system, which grades each debt investment on a scale of 1 to 5, to characterize and monitor our expected level of risk on the debt investments in our portfolio with 1 being the highest quality. See “Item 1. Business—Investment Process—Loan and Compliance Administration.” The following table shows the distribution of our outstanding debt investments on the 1 to 5 investment grading scale at fair value as of December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively:

 

     December 31, 2010     December 31, 2009  

(in thousands)

   Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
    Investments at Fair
Value
    Percentage of Total
Portfolio
 

Investment Grading

        

1                         

   $ 65,345        16.3   $ 16,536        5.1

2                         

     232,713        57.9     148,117        45.6

3                         

     90,739        22.6     110,707        34.0

4                         

     8,776        2.2     38,983        12.0

5                         

     4,045        1.0     10,791        3.3
                                
   $ 401,618        100.0   $ 325,134        100.0
                                

 

63


Table of Contents

As of December 31, 2010, our investments had a weighted average investment grading of 2.21 as compared to 2.71 at December 31, 2009. Our policy is to lower the grading on our portfolio companies as they approach the point in time when they will require additional equity capital. Additionally, we may downgrade our portfolio companies if they are not meeting our financing criteria and their respective business plans. Various companies in our portfolio will require additional funding in the near term or have not met their business plans and have therefore been downgraded until their funding is complete or their operations improve. At December 31, 2010, eight portfolio companies were graded 3, two portfolio companies were graded 4, and two were graded 5 as compared to 17, 4 and 5 portfolio companies, respectively, at December 31, 2009. The improvement in investment grading for the period ended December 31, 2010 was driven in part by meaningful progress in the economy and among our portfolio companies , many of which have experienced improved operating performance and greater access to the venture capital market as they secure new equity financings. At December 31, 2010, we had two loans on non accrual with a fair market value of approximately $4.0 million compared to five loans at December 31, 2009 with a fair value of approximately $10.5 million.

The effective yield on our debt investments during the year was 16.0% and was attributed in part to interest charges and fees related to loan restructurings and acceleration of fee income recognition from early loan repayments. The overall weighted average yield to maturity of our loan obligations was approximately 13.92% at December 31, 2010, increased slightly compared to 13.6% at December 31, 2009, attributed to increased investments to both expansion and established-stage companies and asset based financing offered to more mature middle market companies. The weighted average yield to maturity is computed using the interest rates in effect at the inception of each of the loans, and includes amortization of the loan facility fees, commitment fees and market premiums or discounts over the expected life of the debt investments, weighted by their respective costs when averaged and based on the assumption that all contractual loan commitments have been fully funded and held to maturity.

We generate revenue in the form of interest income, primarily from our investments in debt securities, and commitment and facility fees. Fees generated in connection with our debt investments are recognized over the life of the loan or, in some cases, recognized as earned. In addition, we generate revenue in the form of capital gains, if any, on warrants or other equity-related securities that we acquire from our portfolio companies. Our investments generally range from $1.0 million to $25.0 million. Our debt investments have a term of between two and seven years and typically bear interest at a rate ranging from prime to 14.02% as of December 31, 2010. In addition to the cash yields received on our loans, in some instances, our loans may also include any of the following: end-of-term payments, exit fees, balloon payment fees, PIK provisions, prepayment fees, and diligence fees, which may be required to be included in income prior to receipt. In most cases, we collateralize our investments by obtaining security interests in our portfolio companies’ assets, which may include their intellectual property. In other cases, we may obtain a negative pledge covering a company’s intellectual property.

At December 31, 2010, approximately 75.4% of our portfolio company loans were secured by a first priority security in all of the assets of the portfolio company, 1.8% of our portfolio company loan was secured by a second priority security in all of the assets of the portfolio company, 22.8% of our portfolio company loans were prohibited from pledging or encumbering their intellectual property. Interest on debt securities is generally payable monthly, with amortization of principal typically occurring over the term of the security for emerging-growth, expansion-stage and established-stage companies. In addition, certain loans may include an interest-only period ranging from three to eighteen months for emerging-growth and expansion-stage companies and longer for established-stage companies. In limited instances in which we choose to defer amortization of the loan for a period of time from the date of the initial investment, the principal amount of the debt securities and any accrued but unpaid interest become due at the maturity date.

Our investments in senior secured debt with warrants have equity enhancement features, typically in the form of warrants or other equity-related securities designed to provide us with an opportunity for capital appreciation. Our warrant coverage generally ranges from 3% to 20% of the principal amount invested in a portfolio company, with a strike price equal to the most recent equity financing round. As of December 31, 2010,

 

64


Table of Contents

we held warrants in connection with the majority of our debt investments in our portfolio companies. We hold warrants in 91 portfolio companies, with a fair value of approximately $23.7 million. The fair value of the warrant portfolio has increased by approximately 63.4% as compared to the fair value of $14.5 million at December 31, 2009. These warrant holdings would require us to invest approximately $65.0 million to exercise such warrants are exercised. However, these warrants may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our warrant interests.

Results of Operations

Comparison of periods ended December 31, 2010 and 2009

Investment Income

Interest income totaled approximately $54.7 million and $62.2 million for 2010 and 2009, respectively. The decrease in interest income was directly related to a lower average investment portfolio outstanding in 2010 than in 2009. In 2010 and 2009, interest income included approximately $6.2 million and $6.7 million of income from accrued exit fees, respectively. Income from commitment, facility and loan related fees such as amendment fees and pre-payment penalties totaled approximately $4.8 million and $12.1 million for 2010 and 2009, respectively. At December 31, 2010 and 2009, we had approximately $6.6 million and $2.4 million of deferred income related to commitment and facility fees, respectively. The increase in deferred income was attributed to increased investment originations in 2010.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses, which are comprised of interest and fees, general and administrative and employee compensation, totaled approximately $30.1 million and $31.2 million during the periods ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Interest and fees totaled approximately $9.8 million and $11.3 million during the periods ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively. This $1.5 million year over year decrease is primarily attributable to the interest expense and one time fees incurred in 2009 on the Citigroup Credit Facility that was paid off in full in March of 2009 offset by an increase in interest expense on higher borrowings under our SBA debentures.

General and administrative expenses include legal, consulting and accounting fees, insurance premiums, rent, workout and various other expenses. Expenses decreased to $7.1 million from $7.3 million for the periods ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively, primarily due to lower workout related expenses.

Employee compensation and benefits totaled approximately $10.5 million and $10.7 million during the periods ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively. This decrease is primarily due to a lower bonus accrual during the period ended December 31, 2010 as compared to 2009. Stock-based compensation totaled approximately $2.7 million and $1.9 million during the periods ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively. These increases were due to the higher expense attributed to restricted stock grants issued in the first quarter of 2010.

Net Investment Income Before Income Tax Expense and Investment Gains and Losses

Net investment income before income tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2010 totaled $29.4 million as compared with a net investment income before income tax expense in 2009 of approximately $43.1 million. The changes are made up of the items described above under “Investment Income” and “Operating Expenses.”

 

65


Table of Contents

Net Investment Realized Gains and Losses and Unrealized Appreciation and Depreciation

Realized gains or losses are measured by the difference between the net proceeds from the repayment or sale and the cost basis of the investment without regard to unrealized appreciation or depreciation previously recognized, and include investments charged off during the period, net of recoveries. Net change in unrealized appreciation or depreciation primarily reflects the change in portfolio investment values during the reporting period, including the reversal of previously recorded unrealized appreciation or depreciation when gains or losses are realized.

In 2010, we generated realized gains totaling approximately $4.7 million primarily due to the sale of warrants and common stock of 12 portfolio companies. We recognized realized losses in 2010 of approximately $31.1 million on the disposition of investments in 10 portfolio companies. We recognized realized gains of approximately $3.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2009 primarily due to the sale of warrants and common stock of four portfolio companies. We recognized realized losses in 2009 of approximately $34.5 million on the disposition of investments in 16 portfolio companies. A summary of realized gains and losses for the years end December 31, 2010 and 2009 is as follows:

 

     December 31,  

(in thousands)

   2010     2009  

Realized gains

   $ 4,677      $ 3,738   

Realized losses

     (31,059     (34,539
                

Net realized (losses)

   $ (26,382   $ (30,801
                

For the year ended December 31, 2010, net unrealized appreciation totaled approximately $2.0 million and for the year ended December 31, 2009, net unrealized appreciation totaled approximately $1.3 million. The year to year increase is primarily due to the reversal of unrealized depreciation to realized losses.

The net unrealized appreciation and depreciation of investments is based on portfolio asset valuations determined in good faith by our Board of Directors. During the year ended December 31, 2010, net unrealized investment appreciation recognized by the company was reduced by approximately $13,000 for a warrant participation agreement with Citigroup. For a more detailed discussion, see the discussion set forth under “—Borrowings.”

The following table itemizes the change in net unrealized appreciation (depreciation) of investments for 2010 and 2009:

 

       December 31,  

(in thousands)

   2010     2009  

Gross unrealized appreciation on portfolio investments

   $ 40,696      $ 42,272   

Gross unrealized depreciation on portfolio investments

     (64,465     (73,969

Reversal of prior period net unrealized appreciation upon a realization event

     (3,902     (2,319

Reversal of prior period net unrealized depreciation upon a realization event

     29,674        35,256   

Citigroup Warrant Participation

     (13     29   
                

Net unrealized appreciation/(depreciation) on portfolio investments

   $ 1,990      $ 1,269   
                

For a more detailed discussion, see the discussion set forth under “—Critical Accounting Policies—Valuation of Portfolio Investments.”

 

66


Table of Contents

Net Increase in Net Assets Resulting from Operations and Earnings Per Share

For the year ended December 31, 2010 net increase in net assets resulting from operations totaled approximately $5.0 million compared to net income of approximately $13.6 million for the period ended December 31, 2009. These changes are made up of the items previously described.

Basic and fully diluted net change in net assets per common share were $0.12 and $0.12, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2010, compared to a basic and fully diluted net income per share of $0.38 and $0.37, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Comparison of periods ended December 31, 2009 and 2008

Investment Income

Interest income totaled approximately $62.2 million and $67.3 million for 2009 and 2008, respectively. The decrease in interest income was directly related to decreases in investment assets. In 2009 and 2008, interest income included approximately $6.7 million and $4.3 million of income from accrued exit fees. Income from commitment, facility and loan related fees such as amendment fees and pre-payment penalties totaled approximately $12.1 million and $8.6 million for 2009 and 2008, respectively. At December 31, 2009 and 2008, we had approximately $2.4 million and $6.9 million of deferred income related to commitment and facility fees, respectively. The decrease in deferred income was attributed to the amortization of fee income and the lower deferred income due to lower investment originations.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses totaled approximately $31.2 million and $35.9 million during 2009 and 2008, respectively. Operating expenses for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008 included interest expense, loan fees and unused commitment fees of approximately $11.3 and $15.8 million, respectively. The 28.6% decrease in interest expense was primarily due to lower outstanding loan balances on our credit facilities and lower cost of financing. The average debt balance outstanding in 2009 is $147.4 million as compared to $196.9 million in 2008. The weighted average cost of debt was approximately 7.7% at December 31, 2009 as compared to 8.0% at December 31, 2008. Employee compensation and benefits were approximately $10.7 million and $11.6 million during 2009 and 2008, respectively. General and administrative expenses include legal and accounting fees, insurance premiums, rent and various other expenses totaling $7.3 million and $6.9 million in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

Net Investment Income Before Income Tax Expense and Investment Gains and Losses

Net investment income before income tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2009 totaled $43.1 as compared with a net investment income before income tax expense in 2008 of approximately $40.0 million. This change is made up of the items described above.

 

67


Table of Contents

Net Investment Realized Gains and Losses and Unrealized Appreciation and Depreciation

In 2009, we generated realized gains totaling approximately $3.7 million primarily due to the sale of warrants and common stock of four portfolio companies. We recognized realized losses in 2009 of approximately $34.5 million on the disposition of investments in sixteen portfolio companies. We recognized realized gains of approximately $6.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2008 from the sale of common stock of nine portfolio companies. We recognized realized losses in 2008 of approximately $4.3 million on the disposition of investments in ten portfolio companies. A summary of realized gains and losses for the years end December 31, 2009 and 2008 is as follows:

 

     December 31,  
     2009     2008  

(in thousands)

            

Realized gains

   $ 3,738      $ 6,925   

Realized losses.

     (34,539   $ (4,282
                

Net realized (losses)

   $ (30,801   $ 2,643   
                

For the year ended December 31, 2009, net unrealized investment depreciation totaled approximately $1.3 million and for the year ended December 31, 2008, net unrealized appreciation totaled approximately $21.4 million. The net unrealized appreciation and depreciation of investments is based on portfolio asset valuations determined in good faith by our Board of Directors. As of December 31, 2009, the net unrealized investment appreciation recognized by the company was reduced by approximately $29,000 for a warrant participation agreement with Citigroup. For a more detailed discussion, see the discussion set forth under “Borrowings” of this Item 7. The following table itemizes the change in net unrealized appreciation (depreciation) of investments for 2009 and 2008:

 

     December 31,  
     2009     2008  

(in thousands)

            

Gross unrealized appreciation on portfolio investments

   $ 42,272      $ 6,139   

Gross unrealized depreciation on portfolio investments

     (73,969     (25,250

Reversal of prior period net unrealized appreciation upon a realization event

     32,937        (2,458

Citigroup Warrant Participation

     29        143   
                

Net unrealized appreciation/(depreciation) on portfolio investments

   $ 1,269      $ (21,426
                

Income and Excise Taxes

We account for income taxes in accordance with the provisions of ASC 740, Income Taxes, which requires that deferred income taxes be determined based upon the estimated future tax effects of differences between the financial statement and tax basis of assets and liabilities given the provisions of the enacted tax law. Valuation allowances are used to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount likely to be realized.

Through December 31, 2005 we were taxed under Subchapter C of the Code. We elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code with the filing of our 2006 federal income tax return. Provided we continue to qualify as a RIC, our income generally will not be subject to federal income or excise taxes to the extent we make the requisite distributions to stockholders. At December 31, 2009, no excise tax provision was recorded since we have paid out distributable earnings. See “Item 1. Business—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.” Of the dividends declared during the year ended December 31, 2009, 100% was comprised of ordinary income. In 2008, of the dividends paid, $1.23 was comprised of ordinary income and $0.09 was comprised of capital gains.

 

68


Table of Contents

Net Increase in Net Assets Resulting from Operations and Earnings Per Share

For the year ended December 31, 2009, net income totaled approximately $13.6 million compared to net income of approximately $21.0 million for the period ended December 31, 2008. These changes are made up of the items previously described.

Basic and fully diluted net change in net assets per common share were $0.38 and $0.37, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2009, compared to both basic net and fully diluted net income per share of $0.64 for the year ended December 31, 2008.

Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources

At December 31, 2010, we had approximately $107.0 million in cash and cash equivalents and available borrowing capacity of approximately $50.0 million under the Wells Facility, $20.0 million under the Union Bank Facility and $55.0 million under the SBA program, subject to existing terms and advance rates and regulatory requirements. We primarily invest cash on hand in interest bearing deposit accounts.

For the year ended December 31, 2010, net cash provided by operating activities totaled approximately $93.3 million as compared to cash provided by operations of $225.9 million in 2009. Cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2010, totaled approximately $106,000 and was primarily used for the purchase of computer equipment, leasehold improvements and office furniture and other long term assets. Net cash provided by financing activities totaled $75.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, primarily attributed to net proceeds from the issuance of common stock of $68.7 million and borrowings of $39.4 million of SBA debentures, offset by cash dividend payments of $26.9 million, common stock repurchases of $3.7 million and fees of $2.2 million paid on our credit facilities and debenture borrowings.

As of December 31, 2010, net assets totaled $412.5 million, with a net asset value per share of $9.50. We intend to generate additional cash primarily from cash flows from operations, including income earned from investments in our portfolio companies and, to a lesser extent, from the temporary investment of cash in U.S. government securities and other high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less as well as from future borrowings as required to meet our lending activities. Our primary use of funds will be investments in portfolio companies and cash distributions to holders of our common stock.

In November 2010, we completed a follow-on public offering of approximately 7.2 million shares of common stock for gross proceeds of approximately $71.9 million and net proceeds of approximately $68.1 million. Additionally, we expect to raise additional capital to support our future growth through future equity offerings, issuances of senior securities and/or future borrowings, to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. To the extent we determine to raise additional equity through an offering of our common stock at a price below net asset value, existing investors will experience dilution. During our 2010 Annual Shareholder Meeting held on June 9, 2010, our shareholders authorized the Company, with the approval of its Board of Directors, to sell up to 20% of the Company’s outstanding common stock at a price below the Company’s then current net asset value per share and to offer and issue debt with warrants or debt convertible into shares of its common stock at an exercise or conversion price that will not be less than the fair market value per share but may be below the then current net asset value per share. There can be no assurance that these capital resources will be available given the credit constraints of the banking and capital markets.

As required by the 1940 Act, our asset coverage must be at least 200% after each issuance of senior securities. Our asset coverage as of December 31, 2010 was 0%, excluding SBA leverage, based on our exemptive order from the SEC which allows us to exclude all SBA leverage from our asset coverage ratio. Total leverage when excluding the SEC exemptive order is approximately 341.8% at December 31, 2010.

On September 27, 2006 and on May 26, 2010, HT II and HT III received licenses to operate as Small Business Investment Companies under the SBIC program and are able to borrow funds from the SBA against

 

69


Table of Contents

eligible investments. As of December 31, 2010, all required contributed capital from Hercules has been invested into HT II and HT III. The Company is the sole limited partner of HT II and HT III and HTM is the general partner. HTM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. If HT II or HT III fails to comply with applicable SBA regulations, the SBA could, depending on the severity of the violation, limit or prohibit HT II’s or HT III’s use of debentures, declare outstanding debentures immediately due and payable, and/or limit HT II or HT III from making new investments. In addition, HT II or HT III may also be limited in their ability to make distributions to us if they do not have sufficient capital in accordance with SBA regulations. Such actions by the SBA would, in turn, negatively affect us because HT II and HT III are our wholly owned subsidiaries. HT II and HT III were compliance with the terms of the SBIC’s leverage as of December 31, 2010 as a result of having sufficient capital as defined under the SBA regulations.

With our net investment of $75.0 million in HT II as of December 31, 2010, HT II has the current capacity to issue a total of $150.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, of which $150.0 million was outstanding. As of December 31, 2010, the maximum statutory limit on the dollar amount of outstanding SBA guaranteed debentures issued by a single SBIC is $150.0 million, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. As of December 31, 2010, we held investments in HT II in 51 companies with a fair value of approximately $155.3 million. HT II’s portfolio accounted for approximately 32.9% of the Company’s total portfolio at December 31, 2010.

As of December 31, 2010, the maximum statutory limit on the dollar amount of combined outstanding SBA guaranteed debentures is $225.0 million, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. As of December 31, 2010, HT III had the potential to borrow up to $75.0 million of SBA-guaranteed debentures under the SBIC program. With our net investment of $37.5 million in HT III as of December 31, 2010, HT III has the capacity to issue a total of $75.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, subject to SBA approval, of which $20.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2010. As of December 31, 2010, HT III has paid the SBA commitment fees of approximately $750,000. As of December 31, 2010, we held investments in HT III in eight companies with a fair value of approximately $50.3 million. HT III’s portfolio accounted for approximately 10.7% of our total portfolio at December 31, 2010.

In January 2011, we repaid $25.0 million of SBA debentures under our first license, priced at approximately 6.63%, including annual fees. In February 2011, we submitted a request to the SBA to borrow $25.0 million under a new capital commitment which is subject to SBA approval. See “—Subsequent Events.”

At December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2009, we had the following borrowing capacity and outstanding:

 

     December 31, 2010      December 31, 2009  

(in thousands)

   Facility
Amount
     Amount
Outstanding
     Facility
Amount
     Amount
Outstanding
 
           

Union Bank Facility

   $ 20,000       $ —         $ —         $ —     

Wells Facility

     50,000         —           50,000         —     

SBA Debentures (1)

     225,000         170,000         150,000         130,600   
                                   

Total

   $ 295,000       $ 170,000       $ 200,000       $ 130,600   
                                   

 

(1) The Company has the ability to borrow $55.0 million in SBA debentures under HT III, subject to SBA approval and compliance with SBA regulations.

Off Balance Sheet Arrangements

In the normal course of business, we are party to financial instruments with off-balance sheet risk. These consist primarily of unfunded commitments to extend credit, in the form of loans, to our portfolio companie s. Unfunded commitments to provide funds to portfolio companies are not reflected on our balance sheet. Our unfunded commitments may be significant from time to time. As of December 31, 2010, we had unfunded

 

70


Table of Contents

origination activity commitments of approximately $117.2 million. These commitments will be subject to the same underwriting and ongoing portfolio maintenance as are the on-balance sheet financial instruments that we hold. Since these commitments may expire without being drawn upon, the total commitment amount does not necessarily represent future cash requirements. In addition, we had approximately $92.0 million of non-binding term sheets with eight companies outstanding, which generally convert to contractual commitments within approximately 45 to 60 days of signing. Non-binding outstanding term from prior release are subject to completion of the Company’s due diligence and final approval process, as well as the negotiation of definitive documentation with the prospective portfolio companies. Not all non-binding term sheets are expected to close and do not necessarily represent future cash requirements. Closed commitments generally fund 70-80% of the committed amount in aggregate over the life of the commitment. We intend to use cash flow from normal and early principal repayments, SBA debentures, our Wells Facility and our Union Bank Facility to fund these commitments. However, there can be no assurance that we will have sufficient capital available to fund these commitments as they come due.

Contractual Obligations

The following table shows our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2010:

 

       Payments due by period
(in thousands)
 

Contractual Obligations (1)(2)

   Total      Less
than 1 year
     1 -3 years      3 -5 years      After
5 years
 

Borrowings (3)

   $ 170,000       $ —         $ —         $   —         $ 170,000   

Operating Lease Obligations (4)

     3,367         1,202         2,165         —           —     
                                            

Total

   $ 173,367       $ 1,202       $ 2,165       $ —         $ 170,000   
                                            

 

(1) Excludes commitments to extend credit to our portfolio companies.
(2) We also have warrant participation with Citigroup. See “Borrowings.”
(3) Includes borrowings under the Wells Facility, Union Bank Facility and the SBA debentures. There were no outstanding borrowings under the Wells Facility or the Union Bank Facility at December 31, 2010.
(4) Long-term facility leases.

The Company and its executives and directors are covered by Directors and Officers Insurance, with the directors and officers being indemnified by the Company to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law subject to the restrictions in the 1940 Act.

Borrowings

Citibank Credit Facility

The Company, through Hercules Funding Trust I, an affiliated statutory trust, had a securitized credit facility (the “Citibank Credit Facility”) with Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. which expired under normal terms. During the first quarter of 2009, the Company paid off all remaining principal and interest owed under the Credit Facility. Citigroup has an equity participation right through a warrant participation agreement on the pool of loans and warrants collateralized under the Credit Facility. Pursuant to the warrant participation agreement, the Company granted to Citigroup a 10% participation in all warrants held as collateral. However, no additional warrants were included in collateral subsequent to the facility amendment on May 2, 2007. As a result, Citigroup is entitled to 10% of the realized gains on the warrants until the realized gains paid to Citigroup pursuant to the agreement equal $3,750,000 (the “Maximum Participation Limit”). The obligations under the warrant participation agreement continue even after the Credit Facility is terminated until the Maximum Participation Limit has been reached. The value of their participation right on unrealized gains in the related equity investments was approximately $481,000 as of December 31, 2010 and is included in accrued liabilities. There can be no assurances that the unrealized appreciation of the warrants will not be higher or lower in future periods due to fluctuations in the value of the warrants, thereby increasing or reducing the effect on the cost of

 

71


Table of Contents

borrowing. Since inception of the agreement, the Company has paid Citigroup approximately $1.1 million under the warrant participation agreement thereby reducing its realized gains by this amount. The Company will continue to pay Citigroup under the warrant participation agreement until the Maximum Participation Limit is reached or the warrants expire.

Long-term SBA Debentures

On September 27, 2006, HT II and on May 26, 2010, HT III received a license to operate as a SBIC under the SBIC program and is able to borrow funds from the SBA against eligible investments and additional contributions to regulatory capital. Under the Small Business Investment Company Act and current SBA policy applicable to SBICs, an SBIC can have outstanding at any time SBA guaranteed debentures up to twice the amount of its regulatory capital. As of December 31, the maximum statutory limit on the dollar amount of outstanding SBA guaranteed debentures issued by a single SBIC is $150.0 million, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. With our net investment of $75.0 million in HT II as of December 31, 2010, HT II has the current capacity to issue up to a total of $150.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, of which $150.0 million was outstanding. Currently, HT II has paid commitment fees of approximately $1.5 million. As of December 31, 2010, the maximum statutory limit on the dollar amount of combined outstanding SBA guaranteed debentures is $225.0 million, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. As of December 31, 2010, HT III had the potential to borrow up to $75.0 million of SBA-guaranteed debentures under the SBIC program. With our net investment of $37.5 million in HT III as of December 31, 2010, HT III has the capacity to issue a total of $75.0 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, subject to SBA approval, of which $20.0 million was outstanding at December 31,2010. Currently, HT III has paid commitment fees of approximately $750,000. There is no assurance that HT II or HT III will be able to draw up to the maximum limit available under the SBIC program.

SBICs are designed to stimulate the flow of private equity capital to eligible small businesses. Under present SBA regulations, eligible small businesses include businesses that have a tangible net worth not exceeding $18.0 million and have average annual fully taxed net income not exceeding $6.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. In addition, SBICs must devote 25.0% of its investment activity to “smaller” concerns as defined by the SBA. A smaller concern is one that has a tangible net worth not exceeding $6.0 million and has average annual fully taxed net income not exceeding $2.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. SBA regulations also provide alternative size standard criteria to determine eligibility, which depend on the industry in which the business is engaged and are based on such factors as the number of employees and gross sales. According to SBA regulations, SBICs may make long-term loans to small businesses, invest in the equity securities of such businesses and provide them with consulting and advisory services. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries HT II and HT III, the Company plans to provide long-term loans to qualifying small businesses, and in connection therewith, make equity investments.

HT II and HT III are periodically examined and audited by the SBA’s staff to determine its compliance with SBA regulations. If HT II or HT III fails to comply with applicable SBA regulations, the SBA could, depending on the severity of the violation, limit or prohibit HT II’s or HT III’s use of debentures, declare outstanding debentures immediately due and payable, and/or limit HT II or HT III from making new investments. In addition, HT II or HT III may also be limited in their ability to make distributions to us if they do not have sufficient capital in accordance with SBA regulations. Such actions by the SBA would, in turn, negatively affect us because HT II and III are our wholly owned subsidiaries. HT II and HT III were in compliance with the terms of the SBIC’s leverage as of December 31, 2010 as a result of having sufficient capital as defined under the SBA regulations.

As of December 31, 2010, HT III could draw up to $55.0 million of additional leverage from SBA, as noted above. The rates of borrowings under various draws from the SBA beginning in April 2007 and set semiannually in March and September range from 3.22% to 5.73%. In addition, the SBA charges a fee that is set annually, depending on the Federal fiscal year the leverage commitment was delegated by the SBA, regardless of the date that the leverage was drawn by the SBIC. The annual fees related to HT II debentures that pooled on September 22, 2010 were 0.406% and 0.285%, depending upon the year the underlying commitment was closed.

 

72


Table of Contents

The annual fees on other debentures have been set at 0.906%. The average amount of debentures outstanding for the year ended December 31, 2010 for HT II was approximately $139.4 million with an average interest rate of approximately 5.11%. The average amount of debentures outstanding for the year ended December 31, 2010 for HT III was approximately $13.9 million with an average interest rate of approximately 3.215%. Interest is payable semiannually and there are no principal payments required on these issues prior to maturity. Debentures under the SBA generally mature ten years after being borrowed. Based on the initial draw down date of April 2007, the initial maturity of SBA debentures will occur in April 2017.

In January 2011, we repaid $25.0 million of SBA debentures under our first license, priced at approximately 6.63%, including annual fees. In February 2011, we submitted a request to the SBA to borrow $25.0 million under a new capital commitment which is subject to SBA approval. See “– Subsequent Events.”

Wells Facility

On August 25, 2008, the Company, through a special purpose wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, Hercules Funding II, LLC, entered into a two-year revolving senior secured credit facility with an optional one-year extension with total commitments of $50 million, with Wells Fargo Capital Finance as a lender and as an arranger and administrative agent (the “Wells Facility”). The Wells Facility has the capacity to increase to $300 million if additional lenders are added to the syndicate. We continue to be in discussions with various other potential lenders to join the facility; however, there is no assurance that additional lenders may join the facility. The Wells Facility expires in August 2011.

Borrowings under the Wells Facility will generally bear interest at a rate per annum equal to LIBOR plus 3.25% or PRIME plus 2.0%, but not less than 5.0%. The Wells Facility requires the payment of a non-use fee of 0.3% annually. The Wells Facility is collateralized by debt investments in our portfolio companies, and includes an advance rate equal to 50% of eligible loans placed in the collateral pool. The Wells Facility generally requires payment of interest on a monthly basis. All outstanding principal is due upon maturity. We have paid a total of $1.1 million in structuring fees in connection with the Wells Facility which is being amortized through August 2011. There was no outstanding debt under the Wells Facility at December 31, 2010.

The Wells Facility requires various financial and operating covenants. These covenants require us to maintain certain financial ratios and a minimum tangible net worth of approximately $311.0 million, contingent upon our total commitments under all lines of credit not exceeding approximately $311.0 million. To the extent our total commitments exceeds approximately $311.0 million, the minimum tangible net worth covenant will increase on a pro rata basis commensurate with our net worth on a dollar for dollar basis. In addition, the tangible net worth covenant will increase by 90 cents on the dollar for every dollar of equity capital subsequently raised by the Company. Based on the net proceeds from the equity raise we completed in November 2010, the adjusted minimum tangible net worth at December 31, 2010 would be approximately $311.0 million. The Wells Facility provides for customary events of default, including, but not limited to, payment defaults, breach of representations or covenants, bankruptcy events and change of control. We were in compliance with all covenants at December 31, 2010.

Union Bank Facility

On February 10, 2010, we entered a $20.0 million one-year revolving senior secured credit facility with Union Bank (the “Union Bank Facility”). Borrowings under the Union Bank Facility will generally bear interest at a rate per annum equal to LIBOR plus 2.25% with a floor of 4.0%, an advance rate of 50% against eligible loans, and secured by loans in the borrowing base. At December 31, 2010, there were no borrowings outstanding on this facility. The Union Bank Facility requires the payment of a non-use fee of 0.25% annually. The Union Bank Facility is collateralized by debt investments in our portfolio companies, and includes an advance rate equal to 50% of eligible loans placed in the collateral pool. The Union Bank generally requires payment of interest on a monthly basis. All outstanding principal is due upon maturity. In February 2011, the maturity date of the facility was extended from May 1, 2011 to July 31, 2011.

 

73


Table of Contents

The Union Bank Facility requires various financial and operating covenants. These covenants require us to maintain certain financial ratios and a minimum tangible net worth. The Union Bank Facility provides for customary events of default, including, but not limited to, payment defaults, breech of representations or covenants, bankruptcy events and change of control.

At December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2009, the Company had the following borrowing capacity and outstanding borrowings:

 

     December 31, 2010      December 31, 2009  

(in thousands)

   Facility
Amount
     Amount
Outstanding
     Facility
Amount
     Amount
Outstanding
 

Union Bank Facility

   $ 20,000       $ —         $ —         $ —     

Wells Facility

     50,000         —           50,000         —     

SBA Debenture (1)

     225,000         170,000         150,000         130,600   
                                   

Total

   $ 295,000       $ 170,000       $ 200,000       $ 130,600   
                                   

 

(1) The Company has the ability to borrow $55.0 million in SBA debentures under HT III, subject to SBA approval. In January 2011, we repaid $25.0 million of SBA debentures under our first license, priced at approximately 6.63%, including annual fees. In February 2011, we submitted a request to the SBA to borrow $25.0 million under a new capital commitment which is subject to SBA approval. See “–Subsequent Events.”

Dividends

The following table summarizes our dividends declared and paid or to be paid on all shares, including restricted stock, to date:

 

Date Declared

   Record Date      Payment Date      Amount Per Share  

October 27, 2005

     November 1, 2005         November 17, 2005       $ 0.025   

December 9, 2005

     January 6, 2006         January 27, 2006         0.300   

April 3, 2006

     April 10, 2006         May 5, 2006         0.300   

July 19, 2006

     July 31, 2006         August 28, 2006         0.300   

October 16, 2006

     November 6, 2006         December 1, 2006         0.300   

February 7, 2007

     February 19, 2007         March 19, 2007         0.300   

May 3, 2007

     May 16, 2007         June 18, 2007         0.300   

August 2, 2007

     August 16, 2007         September 17, 2007         0.300   

November 1, 2007

     November 16, 2007         December 17, 2007         0.300   

February 7, 2008

     February 15, 2008         March 17, 2008         0.300   

May 8, 2008

     May 16, 2008         June 16, 2008         0.340   

August 7, 2008

     August 15, 2008         September 19, 2008         0.340   

November 6, 2008

     November 14, 2008         December 15, 2008         0.340   

February 12, 2009

     February 23, 2009         March 30, 2009         0.320

May 7, 2009

     May 15, 2009         June 15, 2009         0.300   

August 6, 2009

     August 14, 2009         September 14, 2009         0.300   

October 15, 2009

     October 20, 2009         November 23, 2009         0.300   

December 16, 2009

     December 24, 2009         December 30, 2009         0.040   

February 11, 2010

     February 19, 2010         March 19, 2010         0.200   

May 3, 2010

     May 12, 2010         June 18, 2010         0.200   

August 2, 2010

     August 12, 2010         September 17, 2010         0.200   

November 4, 2010

     November 10, 2010         December 17, 2010         0.200   

March 1, 2011

     March 10, 2011         March 24, 2011         0.220   
              
         $ 6.025   
              

 

* Dividend paid in cash and stock.

 

74


Table of Contents

On March 1, 2011 the Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend by 10.0% and declared a cash dividend of $0.22 per share that was paid on March 24, 2011 to shareholders of record as of March 10, 2011. This dividend is the Company’s twenty-second consecutive quarterly dividend declaration since its initial public offering, and will bring the total cumulative dividend declared to date to $6.03 per share.

During 2010 and as recently updated, our Board of Directors maintains a variable dividend policy with the objective of distributing four quarterly distributions in an amount that approximates 90—100% of our taxable quarterly income or potential annual income for a particular year. In addition, at the end of the year, we may also pay an additional special dividend or fifth dividend, such that we may distribute approximately all of our annual taxable income in the year it was earned, while maintaining the option to spill over our excess taxable.

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would generally be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s tax basis, and any remaining distributions would be treated as a capital gain. The determination of the tax attributes of our distributions is made annually as of the end of our fiscal year based upon our taxable income for the full year and distributions paid for the full year. Of the dividends declared during the year ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, 100% were distributions of ordinary income. There can be no certainty to stockholders that this determination is representative of what the tax attributes of our 2011 distributions to stockholders will actually be.

Each year a statement on Form 1099-DIV identifying the source of the distribution (i.e., paid from ordinary income, paid from net capital gains on the sale of securities, and/or a return of paid-in-capital surplus which is a nontaxable distribution) is mailed to our stockholders. To the extent our taxable earnings fall below the total amount of our distributions for that fiscal year, a portion of those distributions may be deemed a tax return of capital to our stockholders.

We operate to qualify to be taxed as a RIC under the Code. Generally, a RIC is entitled to deduct dividends it pays to its shareholders from its income to determine “taxable income.” Taxable income includes our taxable interest, dividend and fee income, as well as taxable net capital gains. Taxable income generally differs from net income for financial reporting purposes due to temporary and permanent differences in the recognition of income and expenses, and generally excludes net unrealized appreciation or depreciation, as gains or losses are not included in taxable income until they are realized. In addition, gains realized for financial reporting purposes may differ from gains included in taxable income as a result of our election to recognize gains using installment sale treatment, which generally results in the deferment of gains for tax purposes until notes or other amounts, including amounts held in escrow, received as consideration from the sale of investments are collected in cash. Taxable income includes non-cash income, such as changes in accrued and reinvested interest and dividends, which includes contractual payment-in-kind interest, and the amortization of discounts and fees. Cash collections of income resulting from contractual PIK interest or the amortization of discounts and fees generally occur upon the repayment of the loans or debt securities that include such items. Non-cash taxable income is reduced by non-cash expenses, such as realized losses and depreciation and amortization expense.

Pursuant to a recent revenue procedure, the IRS has indicated that it will treat distributions from certain publicly traded RICs (including BDCs) that are paid part in cash and part in stock as dividends that would satisfy the RIC’s annual distribution requirements and qualify for the dividends paid deduction for income tax purposes. In order to qualify for such treatment, the revenue procedure requires that at least 10% of the total distribution be paid in cash and that each shareholder have a right to elect to receive its entire distribution in cash. If the number of share-holders electing to receive cash would cause cash distributions to be in excess of 10%, then each shareholder electing to receive cash would receive a proportionate share of the cash to be distributed (although no shareholder electing to receive cash may receive less than 10% of such shareholder’s distribution in cash). This revenue procedure applies to distributions made with respect to taxable years ending prior to January 1, 2012.

 

75


Table of Contents

Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, and revenues and expenses during the period reported. On an ongoing basis, our management evaluates its estimates and assumptions, which are based on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Changes in our estimates and assumptions could materially impact our results of operations and financial condition.

Valuation of Portfolio Investments. The most significant estimate inherent in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements is the valuation of investments and the related amounts of unrealized appreciation and depreciation of investments recorded.

Our investments are carried at fair value in accordance with the 1940 Act and Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) topic 820 Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures, (formerly known as SFAS No. 157, Fair Value Measurements). At December 31, 2010, approximately 79.8% of the Company’s total assets represented investments in portfolio companies that are valued at fair value by the Board of Directors. Value, as defined in Section 2(a) (41) of the 1940 Act, is (i) the market price for those securities for which a market quotation is readily available and (ii) for all other securities and assets, fair value is as determined in good faith by the Board of Directors. The Company’s debt securities are primarily invested in equity sponsored technology, life science and clean technology companies. Given the nature of lending to these types of businesses, the Company’s investments in these portfolio companies are generally considered Level 3 assets under ASC 820 because there is no known or accessible market or market indexes for these investment securities to be traded or exchanged. As such, it values substantially all of its investments at fair value as determined in good faith pursuant to a consistent valuation policy and the Company’s Board of Directors in accordance with the provisions of ASC 820 and the 1940 Act. Due to the inherent uncertainty in determining the fair value of investments that do not have a readily available market value, the fair value of the Company’s investments determined in good faith by its Board may differ significantly from the value that would have been used had a ready market existed for such investments, and the differences could be material.

Our Board of Directors may from time to time engage an independent valuation firm to provide us with valuation assistance with respect to certain of our portfolio investments on a quarterly basis. We intend to continue to engage an independent valuation firm to provide us with assistance regarding our determination of the fair value of selected portfolio investments each quarter unless directed by the Board of Directors to cancel such valuation services. The scope of the services rendered by an independent valuation firm is at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors is ultimately and solely responsible for determining the fair value of our investments in good faith.

With respect to investments for which market quotations are not readily available or when such market quotations are deemed not to represent fair value, our board of directors has approved a multi-step valuation process each quarter, as described below:

(1) our quarterly valuation process begins with each portfolio company or investment being initially valued by the investment professionals responsible for the portfolio investment;

(2) preliminary valuation conclusions are then documented and discussed with our investment committee;

(3) the valuation committee of the board of directors reviews the preliminary valuation of the investment committee and that of the independent valuation firm and responds to the valuation recommendation of the independent valuation firm to reflect any comments, if any, and

(4) the board of directors discusses valuations and determines the fair value of each investment in our portfolio in good faith based on the input of, where applicable, the respective independent valuation firm and the valuation committee.

 

76


Table of Contents

We adopted ASC 820 on January 1, 2008. ASC 820 establishes a framework for measuring the fair value of the assets and liabilities and outlines a fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value and the effect of fair value measures on earnings. ASC 820 also enhances disclosure requirements for fair value measurements based on the level within the hierarchy of the information used in the valuation. ASC 820 applies whenever other standards require (or permit) assets or liabilities to be measured at fair value but does not expand the use of fair value in any new circumstances. ASC 820 defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.

The Company has categorized all investments recorded at fair value in accordance with ASC 820 based upon the level of judgment associated with the inputs used to measure their fair value. Hierarchical levels, defined by ASC 820 and directly related to the amount of subjectivity associated with the inputs to fair valuation of these assets and liabilities, are as follows:

Level 1—Inputs are unadjusted, quoted prices in active markets for identical assets at the measurement date. The types of assets carried at Level 1 fair value generally are equities listed in active markets.

Level 2—Inputs (other than quoted prices included in Level 1) are either directly or indirectly observable for the asset in connection with market data at the measurement date and for the extent of the instrument’s anticipated life. Fair valued assets that are generally included in this category are warrants held in a public company.

Level 3—Inputs reflect management’s best estimate of what market participants would use in pricing the asset at the measurement date. It includes prices or valuations that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable. Generally, assets carried at fair value and included in this category are the debt investments and warrants and equities held in a private company.

Debt Investments

The Company follows the guidance set forth in ASC 820 which establishes a framework for measuring the fair value of assets and liabilities and outlines a fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value and the effect of fair value measures on earnings. The Company’s debt securities are primarily invested in equity sponsored technology, life science and clean technology companies. Given the nature of lending to these types of businesses, the Company’s investments in these portfolio companies are considered Level 3 assets under ASC 820 because there is no known or accessible market or market indexes for these investment securities to be traded or exchanged.

During the quarter ended December 31, 2010, and in connection with the year-end audit process, the Company corrected the valuation process to refine its application of ASC 820. We applied a new procedure that assumes a sale of investment in a hypothetical market to a hypothetical market participant where buyers and sellers are willing participants. The hypothetical market does not include scenarios where the underlying security was simply repaid or extinguished, but includes an exit concept. Under the new process, the Company has continued to evaluate the collateral for recoverability of the debt investments as well as apply all of its historical fair value analysis excluding its interest rate sensitivity analysis, which was replaced by the hypothetical market participant method, as discussed above. The Company uses pricing on recently issued comparable debt securities to determine the baseline hypothetical market yields as of the measurement date. The Company considers each portfolio company’s credit rating, security liens and other characteristics of the investment to adjust the baseline yield to derive a hypothetical yield for each investment. The anticipated future cash flows from each investment are then discounted at the hypothetical yield to estimate each investment’s fair value as of the measurement date.

The Company’s audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2010 reflect the fair value of its debt investments in accordance with ASC 820 using the new valuation procedures described above. The Company determined that if it had analyzed the fair value of its investments for the year ended December 31, 2009 using this procedure, the result to the 2009 consolidated financial statements would not have

 

77


Table of Contents

been material. During the year ended December 31, 2010 the Company recognized additional unrealized depreciation of $803,000, which is not material to the 2010 consolidated financial statements.

In addition, amounts previously recorded as deferred fee income ($2.4 million at December 31, 2009) and accrued back-end fees ($6.6 million at December 31, 2009) are no longer shown separately on the consolidated Balance Sheets because these amounts are a component of fair value of the investments on the consolidated Schedule of Investments.

Under the new valuation methodology, the Company’s process includes the examination of criteria similar to those used in its original investment decision, including, among other things, the underlying investment performance, the current portfolio company’s financial condition and market changing events that impact valuation, estimated remaining life, current market yield and interest rate spreads of similar securities as of the measurement date. If there is a significant deterioration of the credit quality of a debt investment, the Company may consider other factors than those a hypothetical market participant would use to estimate fair value, including the proceeds that would be received in a liquidation analysis. See “Item 9A. Controls and Procedures.”

The Company records unrealized depreciation on investments when it believes that an investment has decreased in value, including where collection of a loan is doubtful or if under the in exchange premise when the value of a debt security were to be less than amortized cost of the investment. Conversely, where appropriate, the Company records unrealized appreciation if it believes that the underlying portfolio company has appreciated in value and, therefore, that its investment has also appreciated in value or if under the in exchange premise the value of a debt security were to greater than amortized cost.

When originating a debt instrument, the Company generally receives warrants or other equity-related securities from the borrower. The Company determines the cost basis of the warrants or other equity-related securities received based upon their respective fair values on the date of receipt in proportion to the total fair value of the debt and warrants or other equity-related securities received. Any resulting discount on the loan from recordation of the warrant or other equity instruments is accreted into interest income over the life of the loan.

Equity-Related Securities and Warrants

Securities that are traded in the over-the-counter markets or on a stock exchange will be valued at the prevailing bid price at period end. We have a limited number of equity securities in public companies. In accordance with the 1940 Act, unrestricted publicly traded securities for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the closing market quote on the valuation date.

The Company estimates the fair value of warrants using a Black Scholes pricing model. At each reporting date, privately held warrant and equity related securities are valued based on an analysis of various factors including, but not limited to, the portfolio company’s operating performance and financial condition and general market conditions, price to enterprise value or price to equity ratios, discounted cash flow, valuation comparisons to comparable public companies or other industry benchmarks. When an external event occurs, such as a purchase transaction, public offering, or subsequent equity sale, the pricing indicated by that external event is utilized to corroborate the Company’s valuation of the warrant and equity related. The Company periodically reviews the valuation of its portfolio companies that have not been involved in a qualifying external event to determine if the enterprise value of the portfolio company may have increased or decreased since the last valuation measurement date.

Income Recognition . Interest income is recorded on the accrual basis and is recognized as earned in accordance with the contractual terms of the loan agreement to the extent that such amounts are expected to be collected. Original Issue Discount, (“OID”), initially represents the value of detachable equity warrants obtained in conjunction with the acquisition of debt securities and is accreted into interest income over the term of the loan as a yield enhancement. When a loan becomes 90 days or more past due, or if management otherwise does not

 

78


Table of Contents

expect the portfolio company to be able to service its debt and other obligations, we will, as a general matter, place the loan on non-accrual status and cease recognizing interest income on that loan until all principal has been paid. Any uncollected interest related to prior periods is reversed from income in the period that collection of the interest receivable is determined to be doubtful. However, we may make exceptions to this policy if the investment has sufficient collateral value and is in the process of collection. There were two, five and four loans on non-accrual status as of December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008 with a fair value of approximately $4.0 million, $10.5 million and $864,000, respectively. The cost of non-accrual loans are approximately $11.4 million, $25.5 million and $2.9 million as of December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively.

Paid-In-Kind and End of Term Income . Contractual paid-in-kind (“PIK”) interest, which represents contractually deferred interest added to the loan balance that is generally due at the end of the loan term, is generally recorded on the accrual basis to the extent such amounts are expected to be collected. We will generally cease accruing PIK interest if there is insufficient value to support the accrual or we do not expect the portfolio company to be able to pay all principal and interest due. In addition, we may also be entitled to an end-of-term payment that we amortize into income over the life of the loan. To maintain our status as a RIC, PIK and end-of-term income must be paid out to stockholders in the form of dividends even though we have not yet collected the cash. Amounts necessary to pay these dividends may come from available cash or the liquidation of certain investments. For the year ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, approximately $2.3 million, $2.9 million and $1.0 million in PIK income was recorded respectively.

Fee Income. Fee income, generally collected in advance, includes loan commitment and facility fees for due diligence and structuring, as well as fees for transaction services and management services rendered by us to portfolio companies and other third parties. Loan and commitment fees are amortized into income over the contractual life of the loan. Management fees are generally recognized as income when the services are rendered. Loan origination fees are capitalized and then amortized into interest income using the effective interest rate method. In certain loan arrangements, warrants or other equity interests are received from the borrower as additional origination fees.

Effective January 1, 2011, we will recognize nonrecurring fees amortized over the remaining term of the loan commencing in the quarter relating to specific loan modifications. Certain fees may still be recognized as one-time fees, including prepayment penalties, fees related to select covenant default waiver fees and acceleration of previously deferred loan fees and original issue discount (OID) related to early loan pay-off or material modification of the specific debt outstanding.

During its quarter ended December 31, 2010, the Company corrected its method of accounting for nonrecurring fees related to loan modifications. The Company previously recognized these fees upon modification of loans. The Company’s audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2010 reflect the correct accounting and recognize fee income in accordance with the procedures described in the preceding paragraph. The Company determined that if it had analyzed the one-time fees for the year ended December 31, 2009 using these procedures, the result to the 2009 consolidated financial statements would not have been material. In addition, the change in method of accounting for nonrecurring fees related to loan modifications has no impact on taxable income. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company deferred one-time fee revenue that was recognized in previous periods as income of approximately $1.0 million which is not material to the 2010 consolidated financial statements. The result of the change in methods applied as of December 31, 2010 was approximately $707,000 and was recorded as a reduction in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2010. In the first quarter of 2011, the Company expects to record as revenue $432,000 of the approximate $707,000.

In addition, the Company has considered the aggregated impact of the out of period adjustments recorded in 2010 related to the application of ASC 820 as discussed above under “Debt Investments” and the one-time fee recognition, and concluded that the aggregated impact would not be material to the 2010 or previously issued consolidated financial statements.

 

79


Table of Contents

Stock-Based Compensation. We have issued and may, from time to time, issue additional stock options and restricted stock to employees under our 2004 Equity Incentive Plan and Board members under our 2006 Equity Incentive Plan. We follow ASC 718, formally known as FAS 123R “ Share-Based Payments ” to account for stock options granted. Under ASC 718, compensation expense associated with stock-based compensation is measured at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and is recognized.

Federal Income Taxes . We intend to operate so as to qualify to be taxed as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code and, as such, will not be subject to federal income tax on the portion of our taxable income and gains distributed to stockholders. To qualify as a RIC, we are required to distribute at least 90% of our investment company taxable income, as defined by the Code. We are subject to a non-deductible federal excise tax if we do not distribute at least 98.2% of our taxable income and 98% of our capital gain net income for each 1 year period ending on October 31. At December 31, 2010 and 2009, no excise tax was recorded. At December 31, 2008, we recorded a liability for excise tax of approximately $203,000 on income and capital gains of approximately $5.0 million which was distributed in 2009.

Because federal income tax regulations differ from accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, distributions in accordance with tax regulations may differ from net investment income and realized gains recognized for financial reporting purposes. Differences may be permanent or temporary. Permanent differences are reclassified among capital accounts in the financial statement to reflect their tax character. Temporary differences arise when certain items of income, expense, gain or loss are recognized at some time in the future. Differences in classification may also result from the treatment of short-term gains as ordinary income for tax purposes.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In February 2010, the FASB issued ASU 2010-09, Subsequent Events (“ASU 2010-09”), which amends ASC 855 to address certain implementation issues, including (1) eliminating the requirement for SEC filers to disclose the date through which it has evaluated subsequent events, (2) clarifying the period through which conduit bond obligors must evaluate subsequent events, and (3) refining the scope of the disclosure requirements for reissued financial statements. The adoption of this standard did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements.

In January 2010, the FASB issued ASU No. 2010-01, Accounting for Distributions to Shareholders with Components of Stock and Cash (“ASU 2010-01”), which addresses the accounting for a distribution to shareholders that offers them the ability to elect to receive their entire distribution in cash or shares of equivalent value with a potential limitation on the total amount of cash that shareholders can receive in the aggregate. ASU 2010-01 clarifies that the stock portion of such a distribution is considered a share issuance reflected prospectively in earnings per share. ASU 2010-01 is effective for interim and annual periods ending after December 15, 2009 and should be applied on a prospective basis. We adopted the requirements of ASU 2010-01 in the fourth quarter of 2009 and its adoption did not have a material effect on our consolidated financial statements.

In January 2010, the FASB issued ASU No. 2010-06, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures (“ASU 2010-06”), which amends ASC 820 and requires additional disclosure related to recurring and non- recurring fair value measurements with respect to transfers in and out of Levels 1 and 2 and activity in Level 3 fair value measurements. The update also clarifies existing disclosure requirements related to the level of disaggregation and disclosure about inputs and valuation techniques. ASU 2010-06 is effective for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2009 except for disclosures related to activity in Level 3 fair value measurements which are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2010 and for interim periods within those fiscal years. The Company adopted the requirements of ASU 2010-06 in the fourth quarter of 2009 and its adoption did not have a material effect on our consolidated financial statements.

 

80


Table of Contents

Subsequent Events

Investing Activities

As of March 1, 2011, Hercules has:

 

  a. Closed commitments of approximately $42.0 million to new portfolio companies, excluding $0.4 million of restructurings, and funded approximately $46.0 million since the close of the fourth quarter.

 

  b. Pending commitments (signed term sheets) of approximately $128.0 million.

The table below summarizes our year-to-date closed and pending commitments as follows:

 

Closed Commitments and Pending Commitments (in millions)

 

Q1-11 Closed Commitments (as of 3-1-2011) (a,b)

   $ 42.0   

Pending Commitments (as of 3-1-2010)(c)

   $ 128.0   
        

Total 2011 Closed and Pending Commitments

   $ 170.0   
        

Notes:

 

  a. Closed commitments exclude $0.4 million of existing credit restructures and renewals.

 

  b. Not all Closed Commitments result in future cash requirements. Commitments generally fund over the two succeeding quarters from close.

 

  c. Not all pending commitments (signed non-binding term sheets) are expected to close and do not necessarily represent any future cash requirements.

Dividend Declaration

On March 1, 2011 the Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend by 10.0% and declared a cash dividend of $0.22 per share that will be payable on March 24, 2011 to shareholders of record as of March 10, 2011. This dividend would represent the Company’s twenty-second consecutive dividend declaration since its initial public offering, bringing the total cumulative dividend declared to date to $6.03 per share.

Share Repurchase Program

On January 27, 2011, the Company approved the extension of the stock repurchase plan as previously approved on February 8, 2010 under the same terms and conditions that allows the Company to repurchase up to $35.0 million of its common stock set to expire on February 11, 2011 for an additional six month periods with a new expiration date of August 26, 2011.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

In January 2011, the Company repaid $25.0 million of SBA debentures under its first license, priced at approximately 6.63%, including annual fees. In February 2011, Hercules submitted a request to the SBA to borrow $25.0 million under a new capital commitment which is subject to SBA approval.

In February 2011, the Company extended the termination date under the credit facility with Union Bank from May 1, 2011 to July 31, 2011. Terms and conditions under the agreement remain the same through the extension period.

In January 2011, the Company’s portfolio company InfoLogix, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise mobile solutions for the healthcare and commercial industries, completed the sale of all of its shares to Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (NYSE: SWK). The transaction was valued at approximately $61.2 million prior to transaction fees,

 

81


Table of Contents

closing costs, and working capital adjustments. The close of this sale will have no impact on net asset value as reported on December 31, 2010. In connection with the sale, we expect to realize a net gain of approximately $8.0-$8.5 million in the first quarter of 2011, representing an internal rate of return above 30% on Hercules’ investment in Infologix. This gain is reflected in net asset value as of December 31, 2010.

During March 2011, the Company received a commitment to renew its $300.0 million credit facility (the “facility”) with Wells Fargo Capital Finance, LLC (“WFCF”). Under this three-year senior secured facility, WFCF and the Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”) have made commitments of $75 million and $25 million, respectively. Borrowings under the facility are expected to be at an interest rate per annum equal to LIBOR plus 3.50%, with a floor of 5.00% and an advance rate of 50% against eligible loans. The facility will be secured by loans in the borrowing base. The facility contains an accordion feature, in which the Company can increase the credit line up to an aggregate of $300 million, funded by additional lenders and with the agreement of WFCF and RBC and subject to other customary conditions. There can be no assurances that additional lenders will join the new credit facility. This new arrangement will replace the existing $300 million credit facility under which WFCF had committed $50 million in capital and is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of legal documentation. No assurance can be given that WFCF, RBC and the Company will execute definitive documentation, that the definitive documentation will reflect the terms described herein or that the facility will be entered into at all.

Portfolio Company Events

In February 2011, portfolio company Pacira, an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development, commercialization and manufacture of novel pharmaceutical products, priced its initial public offering (“IPO”) on Nasdaq-GM under the symbol (“PCRX”).

In February 2011, Hercules sold part of its equity position in portfolio company Kamada (Tel Aviv: KMDA.TA), a publicly traded Israeli-based biopharmaceutical company, and expects to recognize a realized gain of $1.2 million in Q1 2011.

 

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure about Market Risk

We are subject to financial market risks, including changes in interest rates. As of December 31, 2010, approximately 81.5% of our portfolio loans were at variable rates or at variable rates with a floor rate and 18.5% of our loans were at fixed rates. Over time additional investments may be at variable rates. We do not currently engage in any hedging activities. However, we may, in the future, hedge against interest rate fluctuations by using standard hedging instruments such as futures, options, and forward contracts. While hedging activities may insulate us against changes in interest rates, they may also limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to our borrowed funds and higher interest rates with respect to our portfolio of investments. Interest rates on our borrowings are based primarily on LIBOR. Borrowings under our SBA program are fixed at the ten-year treasury every March and September for borrowings of the preceding six months. Borrowings under the program are charged interest based on ten year treasury rates plus a spread and the rates are generally set for a pool of debentures issued by the SBA in six month periods. The rates of borrowings under various draws from the SBA beginning in April 2007 and set semiannually in March and September range from 3.22% to 5.73%. In addition, the SBA charges a fee that is set annually, depending on the Federal fiscal year the leverage commitment was delegated by the SBA, regardless of the date that the leverage was drawn by the SBIC. The annual fees related to HT II debentures that pooled on September 22, 2010 were 0.406% and 0.285%, depending upon the year the underlying commitment was closed in. The annual fees on other debentures have been set at 0.906%. The average amount of debentures outstanding for the year ended December 31, 2010 for HT II was approximately $139.4 million with an average interest rate of approximately 5.11%. The average amount of debentures outstanding for the year ended December 31, 2010 for HT III was approximately $13.9 million with an average interest rate of approximately 3.215%. Interest is payable semiannually and there are no principal payments required on these issues prior to maturity. Debentures under the SBA generally mature ten

 

82


Table of Contents

years after being borrowed. Based on the initial draw down date of April 2007, the initial maturity of SBA debentures will occur in April 2017.

Interest payments on our SBA debentures are payable semi-annually and there are no principal payments required on these issues prior to maturity.

Borrowings under the Wells Facility will generally bear interest at a rate per annum equal to LIBOR plus 3.25% or PRIME plus 2.0%, but not less than 5.0%. The Wells Facility requires the payment of a non-use fee of 0.5% annually, which was reduced to 0.3% upon the one year anniversary of the credit facility on August 25, 2009. The Wells Facility is collateralized by debt investment in our portfolio companies, and includes an advance rate equal to 50% of eligible loans placed in the collateral pool. The Wells Facility generally requires payment of interest on a monthly basis. All outstanding principal is due upon maturity, which includes the extension if exercised. In February 2011 the facility was extended an additional year to August 2011 under the same terms and conditions.

In February of 2010, we closed on our $20.0 million credit facility with Union Bank, a one year revolving credit facility. Pricing of credit facility is LIBOR plus 2.25% with a floor of 4.0%, an advance rate of 50% against eligible loans, and secured by loans in the borrowing base. In February 2011, the Company extended the termination date under the credit facility with Union Bank from May 1, 2011 to July 31, 2011.

 

83


Table of Contents
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

  

Reports of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

     85   

Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities as of December 31, 2010 and 2009

     87   

Consolidated Schedule of Investments as of December 31, 2010

     88   

Consolidated Schedule of Investments as of December 31, 2009

     102   

Consolidated Statements of Operations for the three years ended December 31, 2010

     115   

Consolidated Statements of Changes in Net Assets for the three years ended December 31, 2010

     116   

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the three years ended December 31, 2010

     117   

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

     118   

Schedule of Investments and Advances to Affiliates

     146   

 

84


Table of Contents

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To Board of Directors and Shareholders of

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.

In our opinion, the consolidated statement of assets and liabilities, including the consolidated schedule of investments, as of December 31, 2010 and the related consolidated statements of operations, of changes in net assets, and of cash flows for the year then ended present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. and its subsidiaries at December 31, 2010, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for the year then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. In addition, in our opinion, the financial statement schedule listed in the accompanying index presents fairly, in all material respects, the information set forth therein when read in conjunction with the related consolidated financial statements. Also in our opinion, the Company did not maintain, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2010, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) because a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting related to valuation of debt investments existed as of that date. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. The material weakness referred to above is described in Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting appearing under Item 9A. We considered this material weakness in determining the nature, timing, and extent of audit tests applied in our audit of the consolidated financial statements and our opinion regarding the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting does not affect our opinion on those consolidated financial statements. The Company’s management is responsible for these financial statements and financial statement schedule, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting included in management’s report referred to above. Our responsibility is to express opinions on these financial statements, on the financial statement schedule, and on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our integrated audit. We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit of the financial statements included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinions.

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

San Francisco, California

March 25, 2011

 

85


Table of Contents

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

Board of Directors and Shareholders

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.

We have audited the accompanying consolidated statements of assets and liabilities of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. (the Company) including the consolidated schedules of investments, as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, and the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in net assets and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2009, and the consolidated financial highlights for each of the five years in the period ended December 31, 2009. These financial statements and financial highlights are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements and financial highlights based on our audits.

We conducted our audits in accordance with auditing standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements and financial highlights are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements and financial highlights. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. Our procedures included confirmation of securities owned as of December 31, 2009, by correspondence with the custodian or by other appropriate auditing procedures. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

In our opinion, the financial statements and financial highlights referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. at December 31, 2009 and 2008, the consolidated results of its operations, changes in its net assets and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2009 and the consolidated financial highlights for each of the five years in the period ended December 31, 2009, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2009, based on criteria established in Internal Control-Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and our report dated March 12, 2010 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.

/s/ Ernst & Young LLP

San Francisco, California

March 12, 2010

 

86


Table of Contents

H ERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

(in thousands, except per share data)

 

     December 31,
2010
    December 31,
2009
 

Assets

    

Investments:

    

Non-affiliate investments (cost of $445,782 and $357,880, respectively)

   $ 428,782      $ 340,211   

Affiliate investments (cost of $2,880 and $2,880, respectively)

     3,069        2,274   

Control investments (cost of $31,743 and $23,823, respectively)

     40,181        32,184   
                

Total investments, at value (cost of $480,405 and $384,583 respectively)

     472,032        374,669   

Cash and cash equivalents

     107,014        124,828   

Interest receivable

     4,520        3,757   

Other assets

     7,681        5,713   
                

Total assets

   $ 591,247      $ 508,967   
                

Liabilities

    

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

     8,716        11,852   

Long-term SBA Debentures

     170,000        130,600   
                

Total liabilities

     178,716        142,452   
                

Net assets:

    

Common stock, par value

   $ 43      $ 35   

Capital in excess of par value

     477,549        409,036   

Unrealized appreciation (depreciation) on investments

     (8,038     (10,028

Accumulated realized gains (losses) on investments

     (51,033     (28,129

Distributions in excess of investment income

     (5,990     (4,399
                

Total net assets

   $ 412,531      $ 366,515   
                

Total liabilities and net assets

   $ 591,247      $ 508,967   
                

Shares of common stock outstanding ($0.001 par value, 60,000 authorized)

     43,444        35,634   
                

Net asset value per share

   $ 9.50      $ 10.29   
                

See notes to consolidated financial statements.

 

87


Table of Contents

HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL, INC.

CONSOLIDATED SCHEDULE OF INVESTMENTS

December 31, 2010

(dollars in thousands)

 

Portfolio Company

  Industry  

Type of Investment (1)

  Principal
Amount
    Cost (2)     Value (3)  
         

Acceleron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  Drug Discovery   Preferred Stock Warrants     $ 69      $ 922   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      35        189   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      39        99   
   

Preferred Stock

      1,341        2,316   
                     

Total Acceleron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  

    1,484        3,526   

Aveo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  Drug Discovery  

Senior Debt
Matures September 2013
Interest rate Prime + 7.15% or
Floor rate of 11.9%

  $ 25,000        26,108        26,108   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      190        686   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      104        165   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      24        58   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      288        770   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      236        630   
                     

Total Aveo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  

    26,950        28,417   

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  Drug Discovery  

Senior Debt
Matures July 2012
Interest rate Prime + 9.20% or
Floor rate of 12.95%

  $ 4,699        4,678        4,706   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      205        182   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      30        33   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      28        25   
   

Preferred Stock

      503        503   
                     

Total Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  

    5,444        5,449   

EpiCept Corporation

  Drug Discovery   Common Stock Warrants       4        112   
   

Common Stock Warrants

      40        10   
                     

Total EpiCept Corporation

  

    44        122   

Horizon Therapeutics, Inc.

  Drug Discovery   Preferred Stock Warrants       231        —     
                     

Total Horizon Therapeutics, Inc.

  

    231        —     

Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corp.

  Drug Discovery   Preferred Stock       1,500        —     
                     

Total Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corp.

  

    1,500        —     

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  Drug Discovery   Preferred Stock Warrants       155        170   
   

Preferred Stock

      2,000        1,547   
                     

Total Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  

    2,155        1,717   
         

Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  Drug Discovery   Preferred Stock Warrants       137        155   
   

Preferred Stock

      1,000        999   
                     

Total Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  

    1,137        1,154   

PolyMedix, Inc.

  Drug Discovery  

Senior Debt
Matures September 2013
Interest rate Prime + 7.1% or
Floor rate of 12.35%

  $ 10,000        9,605        9,605   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      480        248   
                     

Total PolyMedix, Inc.

  

    10,085        9,853   

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.

 

88


Table of Contents

HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL, INC.

CONSOLIDATED SCHEDULE OF INVESTMENTS—(Continued)

December 31, 2010

(dollars in thousands)

 

Portfolio Company

  Industry  

Type of Investment (1)

  Principal
Amount
    Cost (2)     Value (3)  

Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  Drug Discovery  

Senior Debt
Matures April 2011
Interest rate Prime + 2.16%

  $ 1,666      $ 2,033      $ 2,033   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      152        506   
                     

Total Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  

    2,185        2,539   
                     

Total Drug Discovery (12.79%)*

  

    51,215        52,777   
                     

Affinity Videonet, Inc.

  Communications &
Networking
  Preferred Stock Warrants       102        180   
                     

Total Affinity Videonet, Inc.

  

    102        180   

E-band Communications, Corp. (6)

  Communications &
Networking
  Preferred Stock       2,880        3,069   
                     

Total E-Band Communications, Corp.

  

    2,880        3,069   

IKANO Communications, Inc.

  Communications &
Networking
 

Senior Debt
Matures August 2011
Interest rate 12.00%

  $ 1,654        1,953        1,953   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      45        —     
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      72        —     
                     

Total IKANO Communications, Inc.

  

    2,070        1,953   

Intelepeer, Inc.

  Communications &
Networking
 

Senior Debt
Matures May 2013
Interest rate Prime + 8.125%

  $ 7,624        7,468        7,459   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      102        111   
                     

Total Intelepeer, Inc.

  

    7,570        7,570   

Neonova Holding Company

  Communications &
Networking
  Preferred Stock Warrants       94        12   
   

Preferred Stock

      250        140   
                     

Total Neonova Holding Company

  

    344        152   

Opsource, Inc. (4)

  Communications &
Networking
 

Senior Debt
Matures June 2013
Interest rate Prime + 7.75% or
Floor rate of 11.00%

  $ 5,000        4,888        4,888   
   

Senior Debt
Matures October 2013
Interest rate Prime + 7.25% or
Floor rate of 10.50%

  $ 2,000        1,944        1,905   
   

Revolving Line of Credit
Matures June 2011
Interest rate Prime + 5.25% or
Floor rate of 8.50%

  $ 1,500        1,458        1,458   
   

Preferred Stock Warrants

      223        105   
                     

Total Opsource, Inc.

  

    8,513        8,356   

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.

 

89


Table of Contents

HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL, INC.

CONSOLIDATED SCHEDULE OF INVESTMENTS—(Continued)

December 31, 2010

(dollars in thousands)

 

Portfolio Company

  Industry  

Type of Investment (1)

  Principal
Amount
    Cost (2) <