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EX-32.2 - EXHIBIT 32.2 - WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.tv537551_exh32x2.htm
EX-32.1 - EXHIBIT 32.1 - WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.tv537551_exh32x1.htm
EX-31.2 - EXHIBIT 31.2 - WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.tv537551_exh31x2.htm
EX-31.1 - EXHIBIT 31.1 - WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.tv537551_exh31x1.htm
EX-21.1 - EXHIBIT 21.1 - WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.tv537551_exh21x1.htm
EX-4.5 - EXHIBIT 4.5 - WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.tv537551_exh4x5.htm
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549
Form 10-K
(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
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 number: 814-00967
WHITEHORSE FINANCE, INC.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
Delaware
45-4247759
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
1450 Brickell Avenue, 31st Floor
Miami, Florida
33131
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
(Zip Code)
(305) 381-6999
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Trading Symbol(s)
Name of Each Exchange on Which
Registered
Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share
WHF
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
(Nasdaq Global Select Market)
6.50% Notes due 2025
WHFBZ
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
(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 ☒
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 ☒
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 ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☐ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or emerging growth company. See definitions of  “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer ☐ Accelerated filer ☒
Non-accelerated filer ☐ Smaller reporting company ☐
Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2019 based on the closing price on that date of $13.75 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market was approximately $143.7 million. For the purposes of calculating this amount only, all directors and executive officers of the registrant have been treated as affiliates. There were 20,546,032 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding as of March 12, 2020.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
None.

WHITEHORSE FINANCE, INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
Part I. 1
1
24
61
62
62
62
Part II. 63
63
65
66
82
84
130
130
131
Part III. 132
132
137
138
139
140
Part IV. 141
141
142
Signatures 143
i

PART I
In this annual report on Form 10-K, except as otherwise indicated, the terms:

“we,” “us,” “our,” the “Company” and “WhiteHorse Finance” refer (unless the context otherwise requires) to WhiteHorse Finance, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its consolidated subsidiaries, WhiteHorse Credit (as defined below), WhiteHorse California (as defined below). and WhiteHorse Finance Warehouse, LLC;

“H.I.G. Capital” refers (unless the context otherwise requires), collectively, to H.I.G. Capital, L.L.C., a Delaware limited liability company, and its affiliates. H.I.G. Capital employs all of WhiteHorse Finance’s investment professionals, as well as those of WhiteHorse Advisers (as defined below), WhiteHorse Administration (as defined below) and their respective affiliates;

“WhiteHorse Credit” refers to WhiteHorse Finance Credit I, LLC, a special purpose Delaware limited liability company and a wholly owned subsidiary of WhiteHorse Finance;

“WhiteHorse California” refers to WhiteHorse Finance (CA), LLC, a special purpose Delaware limited liability company and a wholly owned subsidiary of WhiteHorse Credit;

“WhiteHorse Advisers” and the “Investment Adviser” refer to H.I.G. WhiteHorse Advisers, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital;

“WhiteHorse Administration” and the “Administrator” refer to H.I.G. WhiteHorse Administration, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital;

“Private Notes” refer to the $30 million aggregate principal amount of 6.00% unsecured notes due 2023 privately issued on August 7, 2018 to qualified institutional investors in reliance on Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended;

“Note Purchase Agreement” refers to the note purchase agreement, dated July 13, 2018, governing the issuance and sale of the Private Notes;

“2020 Notes” refer to the $30 million aggregate principal amount of 6.50% unsecured notes due 2020 issued on July 23, 2013;

“2025 Notes” refer to the $35 million aggregate principal amount of 6.50% unsecured notes due 2025 issued on November 13, 2018; and

“Credit Facility” refers to the $250 million secured revolving credit facility between WhiteHorse Credit, as borrower, and the “Lender”, which refers, collectively, to JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., together with any additional lenders that may join the Credit Facility in the future;
We were formed on December 28, 2011 and commenced operations on January 1, 2012. On December 4, 2012, we converted from a Delaware limited liability company into a Delaware corporation. In this conversion, WhiteHorse Finance, Inc. succeeded to the business of WhiteHorse Finance, LLC, and the members of WhiteHorse Finance, LLC became stockholders of WhiteHorse Finance, Inc. In this annual report on Form 10-K, we refer to these transactions as the “BDC Conversion,” and, where applicable, “shares” refer to our units prior to the BDC Conversion and to shares of common stock in our corporation afterward.
Item 1.
Business
General
We are an externally managed, non-diversified, closed-end management investment company that has elected to be treated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the 1940 Act. In addition, for tax purposes, we have elected to be treated as a regulated investment company, or RIC, under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, and intend to qualify annually for such treatment.
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We are a direct lender targeting debt investments in privately held, lower middle market companies located in the United States. We define the lower middle market market as those companies with enterprise values between $50 million and $350 million. Our investment objective is to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns primarily by originating and investing in senior secured loans, including first lien and second lien facilities, to performing lower middle market companies across a broad range of industries. Such loans typically carry a floating interest rate based on a risk-free index rate such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, plus a spread and typically have a term of three to six years. While we focus principally on originating senior secured loans to lower middle market companies, we may also make opportunistic investments at other levels of a company’s capital structure, including mezzanine loans or equity interests, and in companies outside of the lower middle market, to the extent we believe the investment presents an opportunity to achieve an attractive risk-adjusted return. We also may receive warrants to purchase common stock in connection with our debt investments. We generate current income through the receipt of interest payments, as well as origination and other fees, capital appreciation and dividends.
We invest primarily in securities that are rated below investment grade by rating agencies or that may be rated below investment grade if they were so rated. Below investment grade securities, which are often referred to as “junk” bonds, are viewed as speculative investments because of concerns with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal.
As of December 31, 2019, our investment portfolio consisted primarily of senior secured loans across 66 positions in 51 companies with an aggregate fair value of approximately $589.7 million. As of December 31, 2018, our investment portfolio consisted primarily of senior secured loans across 53 positions in 39 companies with an aggregate fair value of approximately $469.6 million. As of both dates, the majority of our portfolio comprised senior secured loans to lower middle market borrowers.
Available Information
Our address is 1450 Brickell Avenue, 31st Floor, Miami, Florida 33131. Our phone number is (305) 381-6999, and our internet address is www.whitehorsefinance.com . We make available on our website, free of charge, our proxy statement, annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish them to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. We may publish other information on our website which has not been filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this annual report on Form 10-K, and you should not consider information contained on our website to be part of this annual report on Form 10-K or any other report we file with the SEC.
The SEC also maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information we file with the SEC at www.sec.gov.
Our Investment Adviser
Our investment activities are managed by our investment adviser, WhiteHorse Advisers. WhiteHorse Advisers is an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital and is responsible for sourcing potential investments, conducting research and diligence on prospective investments and equity sponsors, analyzing investment opportunities, structuring our investments and monitoring our investments in portfolio companies on an ongoing basis. WhiteHorse Advisers has also agreed to provide us with access to personnel and its investment committee, or the investment committee. WhiteHorse Advisers is a registered investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended, or the Advisers Act. Under our investment advisory agreement with WhiteHorse Advisers, or the Investment Advisory Agreement, we pay WhiteHorse Advisers a base management fee and an incentive fee for its services.
WhiteHorse Advisers entered into a staffing agreement, or the Staffing Agreement, with an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital under which the affiliate has agreed to make experienced investment professionals available to WhiteHorse Advisers and to provide access to its senior investment personnel to enable WhiteHorse Advisers to perform all of its obligations under the Investment Advisory Agreement. The Staffing Agreement provides WhiteHorse Advisers with access to deal flow generated by H.I.G. Capital in the ordinary course of business and commits certain members of H.I.G. Capital’s investment committee to
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serve as members of WhiteHorse Advisers’ investment committee. In addition, under the Staffing Agreement, H.I.G. Capital is obligated to allocate investment opportunities among its managed affiliates fairly and equitably over time in accordance with its allocation policy. The Staffing Agreement provides WhiteHorse Advisers with the deal origination, credit underwriting, due diligence, investment structuring, execution, portfolio management and monitoring experience of H.I.G. Capital’s senior investment professionals.
An affiliate of our investment adviser, WhiteHorse Administration, under an administration agreement, or the Administration Agreement, provides the administrative services necessary for us to operate.
About H.I.G. Capital
H.I.G. Capital, founded in 1993, is a leading global alternative asset manager focused on the lower middle market. As of December 31, 2019, H.I.G. Capital managed approximately $32 billion of capital (based on regulatory assets under management, as reported on Form ADV) across multiple investment funds supported by approximately 410 dedicated investment professionals. These investment professionals bring a depth of experience and skills across a broad range of industries and transaction types, including primary loan originations, secondary debt purchases and special situations and distressed debt investing.
Investment Strategy
Our investment strategy is to generate current income and capital appreciation primarily by originating secured loans. We seek to create a broad portfolio consisting of investments generally in the range of $5 million to $25 million primarily in debt securities and loans of U.S. based lower middle market companies. We primarily target borrowers in the United States with enterprise values of  $50 million to $350 million across a broad range of industries. The proceeds of our loans are used for a variety of purposes, including refinancings of existing debt, acquisition financing, or working capital to support growth or realignment.
While we focus principally on originating senior secured loans to lower middle market companies that we believe have attractive risk adjusted returns, including first lien and second lien facilities, we may also opportunistically make investments at other levels of a company’s capital structure, including mezzanine loans or equity interests. We also may receive warrants to purchase common stock in connection with our debt investments. We may also invest in assets consistent with our investment strategy indirectly through the acquisitions of interests in other investment companies. We generate current income through the receipt of interest payments, origination and other fees, and dividends. Our typical loans carry a floating interest rate based on a risk-free index rate such as LIBOR plus a spread, have a term of three to six years, are secured by all tangible and intangible assets of the borrower and include covenants, monitoring and information rights in favor of the lender.
Target businesses will typically exhibit some or all of the following characteristics:

enterprise value of between $50 million and $350 million;

organized in the United States;

experienced management team;

stable and predictable free cash flows;

discernible downside protection through recurring revenue or strong tangible asset coverage;

products and services with distinctive competitive advantages or other barriers to entry;

low technology and market risk; and

strong customer relationships.
None of these investment policies are fundamental and they may be changed without stockholder approval.
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We expect that, from time to time, our investments may include certain non-qualifying assets, including assets of non-U.S. companies, certain publicly traded companies and, to a lesser extent and subject to certain limits under the 1940 Act, registered or unregistered investment companies, to the extent permissible under the 1940 Act.
Investment Process Overview
Sourcing.   Our deal flow and idea generation for lower middle market investments primarily originates from H.I.G. Capital’s existing and extensive network of informal and unconventional deal sources in the lower middle market business community. Built over the past 26 years, this deal sourcing network includes accountants, attorneys, brokers, insurance agents, consultants and financial advisors who have access to lower middle market companies. The contacts in H.I.G. Capital’s network generally operate outside of the structured investment banking infrastructure and typically play a limited introductory role to the companies and their management teams. In addition, H.I.G. Capital promotes a culture in which sourcing is considered a focus for all of its approximately 410 investment professionals in each of its 18 offices, from analysts to managing directors. Lastly, H.I.G. Capital’s in-house business development group of approximately 25 dedicated deal sourcing professionals supplements this effort through an outbound calling program.
Due Diligence.   We believe that the cornerstone of generating attractive risk-adjusted returns is a thorough due diligence process. We utilize the same methodology to evaluate potential investments that H.I.G. Capital has used over the past 26 years, which includes employing a highly analytical, private equity-like framework for rigorously assessing companies, extensive due diligence and a disciplined risk valuation methodology that guides investment decisions. As part of every transaction we consider and analyze the following key target company criteria: (1) cash flow generation, (2) underlying asset valuation, (3) competitive position, (4) industry dynamics and (5) strength of management. In addition, our due diligence process for lower middle market companies will typically entail:

a thorough review of historical and pro forma financial information;

on-site visits with management;

a review of loan documents and material contracts;

third-party “quality of earnings” accounting due diligence, when appropriate;

research relating to the company’s business, industry, markets, products and services of competitors;

background checks on key managers; and

the commission of third-party market studies, when appropriate.
Structuring Originations.   Our investment adviser’s team has substantial expertise in structuring and documenting loans originated to lower middle market companies. Our investment adviser works with outside counsel to structure loans with strong creditor protections and contractual controls over borrower operations. Our investment adviser works to obtain extensive operating and financial covenants, detailed reporting requirements, governance rights and board of directors seats to protect our investment while allowing the borrower the necessary flexibility to execute its business plan successfully. We believe that our investment adviser’s extensive experience investing in distressed debt and special situations allows it to anticipate the form of potential restructurings in order to maximize our potential recovery in such an event, and to better structure our loan and credit documentation to protect us from risks identified in the due diligence process. Our investment adviser also evaluates the broader capital structure of the borrower to ensure that we have strong rights as compared to other participants in the borrower’s capital structure.
Portfolio Management and Monitoring.   We actively monitor and manage our portfolio with regard to individual company performance as well as general market conditions. Investment decisions on new originations generally include an analysis of the impact of the new loan on our broader portfolio, including a “top-down” assessment of portfolio diversification and risk exposure. This assessment includes a review of portfolio concentration by issuer, industry, geography and type of credit as well as an evaluation of our portfolio’s exposure to macroeconomic factors and cyclical trends.
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We believe that consistent, active monitoring of individual companies and the broader market is integral to portfolio management and a critical component of our investment process. Our investment adviser uses several methods to evaluate and monitor the performance and fair value of our investments, which may include the following:

frequent discussions with management and sponsors, including board observation rights where possible;

comparing/analyzing financial performance to the portfolio company’s business plan, as well as our internal projections developed during the underwriting process;

tracking portfolio company compliance with covenants as well as other metrics identified at the initial investment stage, such as acquisitions, divestitures, product development and specified management hires; and

periodic review by the investment committee of each asset in the portfolio and more rigorous monitoring of  “watch list” positions.
As part of the monitoring process, our investment adviser regularly assesses the risk profile of each of our investments and, on a quarterly basis, grades each investment on a risk scale of 1 to 5. This risk rating system is intended to identify and assess risks relative to when we initially made the investment and could be impacted by such factors as company-specific performance, changes in collateral, changes in potential exit opportunities or macroeconomic conditions.
All investments are initially assigned a rating of 2, as this grade represents a company that is meeting initial expectations with regard to performance and outlook. A rating may be improved to a 1 if, in the opinion of our investment adviser, a portfolio company’s risk of loss has been reduced relative to initial expectations. An investment will be assigned a rating of 3 if the risk of loss has increased relative to initial expectations and will be assigned a rating of 4 if our investment principal is at a material risk of not being fully repaid. A rating of 5 indicates an investment is in payment default and has significant risk of not receiving full repayment.
The following table shows the distribution of our investments on the 1 to 5 investment performance rating scale at fair value as of December 31, 2019 and 2018.
December 31, 2019
December 31, 2018
Investment Performance Rating
Investments at
Fair Value
(Dollars in
Millions)
Percentage of
Total
Portfolio
Investments at
Fair Value
(Dollars in
Millions)
Percentage of
Total
Portfolio
1
$ 13.4 2.3% $ 29.5 6.3%
2
491.4 83.3 376.3 80.1
3
77.2 13.1 63.7 13.6
4
0.0 0.1 0.0
5
7.7 1.3
Total Portfolio
$ 589.7 100.0% $ 469.6 100.0%
Investment Committee and Decision Process
The investment committee oversees our investment activities, subject to the oversight of our board of directors, and is led by senior investment professionals of H.I.G. Capital. The investment committee process is intended to bring the experience and perspectives of the various members to the analysis and consideration of each investment. The investment committee process is a highly collaborative effort, typically beginning at the term sheet phase of a transaction and continuing through the close of the transaction. When an opportunity is first discussed, the investment committee assists the investment team in exploring the key issues requiring due diligence or deal structuring and identifying the available resources within H.I.G. Capital, including other H.I.G. investment professionals or senior managers from current and former portfolio companies with specific industry experience. Throughout the transaction process, the
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investment team meets regularly with the investment committee in a process which requires all of the investment committee’s concerns to be appropriately addressed through due diligence and transaction structuring. This collaborative process between the investment team and the investment committee means that, by the time a potential transaction is ready for final approval or rejection, the investment committee members are already deeply familiar with it and have had an opportunity to address any concerns. As a result, investment committee decisions are made by consensus. The investment committee meets regularly, including special meetings on short notice, to approve or discuss material developments on new or existing investments.
WHF STRS Ohio Senior Loan Fund
In January 2019, we and State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, or STRS Ohio, formed a joint venture, WHF STRS Ohio Senior Loan Fund, or STRS JV, that invests primarily in senior secured loans, including first lien and second lien facilities, to performing lower middle market companies across a broad range of industries that typically carry a floating interest rate based on a risk-free index rate such as LIBOR and have a term of three to six years. STRS JV was formed as a Delaware limited liability company and is not consolidated by either us or STRS Ohio for financial reporting purposes. On July 19, 2019 STRS JV formally launched operations. STRS JV invests in portfolio companies in the same industries in which we may directly invest. As of December 31, 2019, STRS JV had $99.5 million in total assets.
We provide capital to STRS JV in the form of limited liability company, or LLC, equity interests and subordinated notes. As of December 31, 2019, we and STRS Ohio owned 60% and 40%, respectively, of the LLC equity interests of STRS JV. STRS JV is managed by a four-person board of managers, two of whom are selected by us and two of whom are selected by STRS Ohio.
All material decisions with respect to STRS JV, including those involving its investment portfolio, require unanimous approval of a quorum of the board of managers. Quorum is defined as (i) the presence of two members of the board of managers; provided that at least one individual is present that was elected, designated or appointed by each member; (ii) the presence of three members of the board of managers; provided that the individual that was elected, designated or appointed by the member with only one individual present is entitled to cast two votes on each matter; or (iii) the presence of four members of the board of managers; provided that two individuals are present that were elected, designated or appointed by each member.
Competition
Our primary competitors that provide financing to lower middle market companies include public and private investment funds, including other business development companies, commercial and investment banks, commercial financing companies, specialty finance companies and, to the extent they provide an alternative form of financing, private equity and hedge funds. For additional information concerning the competitive risks we face, see “Risk Factors — Risks Relating to our Business and Structure — The highly competitive market for investment opportunities in which we operate may limit our investment opportunities.”
Administration
We do not have any direct employees, and our day-to-day investment operations are managed by our investment adviser. We have a chief executive officer, chief financial officer and chief compliance officer and, to the extent necessary, our board of directors may elect to hire additional personnel going forward. Under the Investment Advisory Agreement and the Administration Agreement, WhiteHorse Advisers, WhiteHorse Administration and their affiliates, respectively, have agreed to provide us with access to personnel, an investment committee and certain other resources so that we may perform our obligations as portfolio manager. Our officers are employees of an affiliate of WhiteHorse Administration, an affiliate of our investment adviser, and our allocable portion of the cost of our chief financial officer and chief compliance officer along with their respective staffs is paid by us pursuant to the Administration Agreement. Some of our executive officers are also officers of WhiteHorse Advisers. See “Business — Management Agreements — Administration Agreement.”
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MANAGEMENT AGREEMENTS
Investment Advisory Agreement
WhiteHorse Advisers serves as our investment adviser in accordance with the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement. Subject to the overall supervision of our board of directors, our investment adviser manages our day-to-day operations and provides investment management services to us. Under the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement, WhiteHorse Advisers:

determines the composition of our portfolio, the nature and timing of the changes to our portfolio and the manner of implementing such changes;

identifies, evaluates and negotiates the structure of the investments we make (including performing due diligence on our prospective portfolio companies); and

closes, monitors and administers the investments we make, including the exercise of any voting or consent rights.
WhiteHorse Advisers’ services under the Investment Advisory Agreement are not exclusive, and it is free to furnish similar services to other entities so long as its services to us are not impaired. Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, we pay WhiteHorse Advisers a fee for investment management services consisting of a base management fee and an incentive fee.
Base Management Fee
The base management fee is calculated at an annual rate equal to 2.0% based on our consolidated gross assets (including cash and cash equivalents and assets purchased with borrowed funds); provided, however, the base management fee will be calculated at an annual rate equal to 1.25% of our consolidated gross assets (including cash and cash equivalents and assets purchased with borrowed funds), that exceed the product of (i) 200% and (ii) the value of our total net assets, at the end of the two most recently completed calendar quarters, and is payable in arrears. Base management fees for any partial month or quarter is appropriately pro-rated.
WhiteHorse Advisers agreed to waive that portion of the base management fee payable with respect to cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash and cash equivalents to which it would otherwise be entitled under the Investment Advisory Agreement for the fiscal quarters ended September 30, 2018, December 31, 2018, March 31, 2019 and June 30, 2019; and for the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2019 only to the extent that the determination of base management fees would otherwise include June 30, 2019 cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash and cash equivalents for the purpose of calculating the average carrying value of consolidated gross assets. The waived fees are not subject to recoupment by the Investment Adviser.
Performance-based Incentive Fee
The performance-based incentive fee consists of two components that are independent of each other, except as provided by the incentive fee cap and deferral mechanism discussed below.
The calculations of these two components have been structured to include a fee limitation such that no incentive fee will be paid to our investment adviser for any quarter if, after such payment, the cumulative incentive fees paid to our investment adviser for the period that includes the current fiscal quarter and the 11 full preceding fiscal quarters, referred to as the “Incentive Fee Look-back Period,” would exceed 20.0% of the Cumulative Pre-Incentive Fee Net Return (as defined below) during the Incentive Fee Look-back Period. Each quarterly incentive fee is subject to the Incentive Fee Cap (as defined below) and a deferral mechanism through which the Investment Adviser may recapture a portion of such deferred incentive fees, which is referred to together as the “Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism.”
This limitation is accomplished by subjecting each incentive fee payable to a cap, which is referred to as the “Incentive Fee Cap.” The Incentive Fee Cap in any quarter is equal to (a) 20.0% of Cumulative Pre-Incentive Fee Net Return (as defined below) during the Incentive Fee Look-back Period less (b) cumulative incentive fees of any kind paid to the Investment Adviser during the Incentive Fee
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Look-back Period. To the extent the Incentive Fee Cap is zero or a negative value in any quarter, we will pay no incentive fee to our investment adviser in that quarter. WhiteHorse Finance will only pay incentive fees to the extent allowed by the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism. To the extent that the payment of incentive fees is limited by the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism, the payment of such fees may be deferred and paid in subsequent quarters up to three years after their date of deferment, subject to applicable limitations included in the Investment Advisory Agreement. The deferral component of the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism may cause incentive fees that accrued during one fiscal quarter to be paid to our investment adviser at any time during the 11 full fiscal quarters following such initial full fiscal quarter.
The “Cumulative Pre-Incentive Fee Net Return” refers to the sum of  (a) Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income for each period during the Incentive Fee Look-back Period and (b) the sum of cumulative realized capital gains, cumulative realized capital losses, cumulative unrealized capital depreciation and cumulative unrealized capital appreciation during the applicable Incentive Fee Look-back Period.
The first component, which is income-based, is calculated and payable quarterly in arrears, commencing with the quarter beginning January 1, 2013, based on our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income, expressed as a rate of return on the value of our net assets at the end of the immediately preceding calendar quarter, subject to the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism. For this purpose, “Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income” means, in each case on a consolidated basis, interest income, distribution income and any other income (including any other fees (other than fees for providing managerial assistance), such as commitment, origination, structuring, diligence and consulting fees or other fees that we receive from portfolio companies) accrued during the calendar quarter, minus our operating expenses for the quarter (including the base management fee, expenses payable under the Administration Agreement, any interest expense and any dividends paid on any issued and outstanding preferred stock, but excluding the incentive fee). Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income does not include any realized capital gains, realized capital losses or unrealized capital appreciation or depreciation.
The operation of the first component of the incentive fee for each quarter is as follows:

no incentive fee is payable to our investment adviser in any calendar quarter in which our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income does not exceed the “Hurdle Rate” of 1.75% (7.00% annualized);

100% of our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income with respect to that portion of such Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income, if any, that exceeds the Hurdle Rate but is less than 2.1875% in any calendar quarter (8.75% annualized) is payable to our investment adviser. We refer to this portion of our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income (which exceeds the Hurdle Rate but is less than 2.1875%) as the “catch-up.” The effect of the catch-up is that, if such Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter, our investment adviser will receive 20% of such Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income as if the Hurdle Rate did not apply; and

20% of the amount of such Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income, if any, that exceeds 2.1875% in any calendar quarter (8.75% annualized) is payable to our investment adviser (once the Hurdle Rate is reached and the catch-up is achieved, 20% of all Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income).
The portion of such incentive fee that is attributable to deferred interest (such as payment-in-kind, or PIK, interest or original issue discount) is paid to our investment adviser, together with interest from the date of deferral to the date of payment, only if and to the extent we actually receive such interest in cash, and any accrual will be reversed if and to the extent such interest is reversed in connection with any write-off or similar treatment of the investment giving rise to any deferred interest accrual. Any reversal of such amounts would reduce net income for the quarter by the net amount of the reversal (after taking into account the reversal of incentive fees payable) and would result in a reduction and possibly elimination of the incentive fees for such quarter.
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There is no accumulation of amounts on the Hurdle Rate from quarter to quarter and, accordingly, there is no clawback of amounts previously paid if returns in subsequent quarters fall below the quarterly Hurdle Rate and there is no delay of payment if prior quarters are below the quarterly Hurdle Rate. Since the Hurdle Rate is fixed, as interest rates rise, it will be easier for our investment adviser to surpass the Hurdle Rate and receive an incentive fee based on Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income.
Net investment income used to calculate this component of the incentive fee is also included in the amount of our consolidated gross assets used to calculate the 2.0% base management fee. This calculation will be appropriately prorated for any period of less than three months and adjusted for any share issuances or repurchases during the current quarter.
The following is a graphical representation of the calculation of the income-based component of the incentive fee:
Quarterly Incentive Fee based on Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income
(expressed as a percentage of the value of net assets)
[MISSING IMAGE: tv537551-lc_quarincentivbw.jpg]
Percentage of Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income allocated to first component of incentive fee
The second component, the capital gains component of the incentive fee, is determined and payable in arrears as of the end of each calendar year (or upon termination of the Investment Advisory Agreement, as of the termination date), commencing on January 1, 2013, and equals 20% of our cumulative aggregate realized capital gains from the beginning of each calendar year through the end of that calendar year, computed net of our aggregate cumulative realized capital losses and our aggregate cumulative unrealized capital depreciation through the end of such year, less the aggregate amount of any previously paid capital gains incentive fees and subject to the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism. If such amount is negative, then no capital gains incentive fee will be payable for such year. Additionally, if the Investment Advisory Agreement is terminated as of a date that is not a calendar year end, the termination date will be treated as though it were a calendar year end for purposes of calculating and paying the capital gains incentive fee. The capital gains component of the incentive fee is not subject to any minimum return to stockholders.
Because of the structure of the incentive fee, it is possible that we may pay an incentive fee in a quarter where we incur a loss subject to the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism. For example, if we receive Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income in excess of the Hurdle Rate, we will pay the applicable incentive fee even if we have incurred a loss in that quarter due to realized and unrealized capital losses.
Examples of Quarterly Incentive Fee Calculation
Each of the following examples assumes that the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism is met.
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Example 1: Income Related Portion of Incentive Fee (*)
Alternative 1
Assumptions
Investment income (including interest, distributions, fees, etc.) = 1.25%
Hurdle Rate(1) = 1.75%
Base management fee(2) = 0.50%
Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.) = 0.25%
Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income
(investment income – (base management fee + other expenses)) = 0.50%
Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income does not exceed the Hurdle Rate, therefore there is no incentive fee.
Alternative 2
Assumptions
Investment income (including interest, distributions, fees, etc.) = 2.70%
Hurdle Rate(1) = 1.75%
Base management fee(2) = 0.50%
Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.) = 0.25%
Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income
(investment income – (base management fee + other expenses)) = 1.95%
Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income exceeds the Hurdle Rate, therefore there is an incentive fee.
Incentive fee
=
(100% × “catch-up”) + (the greater of 0% AND (20% × (Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income – 2.1875%)))
=
(100.0% × (Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income – 1.75%)) + 0%
=
100.0% × (1.95% – 1.75%)
=
100.0% × 0.20%
=
0.20%
Alternative 3
Assumptions
Investment income (including interest, distributions, fees, etc.) = 3.00%
Hurdle Rate(1) = 1.75%
Base management fee(2) = 0.50%
Other expenses (legal, accounting, custodian, transfer agent, etc.) = 0.25%
Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income
(investment income – (base management fee + other expenses)) = 2.25%
Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income exceeds the Hurdle Rate, therefore there is an incentive fee.
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Incentive fee
=
(100% × “catch-up”) + (the greater of 0% AND (20% × (Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income – 2.1875%)))
=
(100% × (2.1875% – 1.75%)) + (20.0% × (2.25% – 2.1875%))
=
0.4375% + (20.0% × 0.0625%)
=
0.4375% + 0.0125%
=
0.45%
Example 2: Capital Gains Portion of Incentive Fee
Alternative 1
Assumptions
Year 1:
$20 million investment made in Company A (“Investment A”), and $30 million investment made in Company B (“Investment B”)
Year 2:
Investment A sold for $50 million and fair market value, or FMV, of Investment B determined to be $32 million
Year 3:
FMV of Investment B determined to be $25 million
Year 4:
Investment B sold for $31 million
The capital gains portion of the incentive fee would be:
Year 1:
None
Year 2:
Capital gains incentive fee of  $6.0 million ($30 million realized capital gains on sale of Investment A multiplied by 20.0%)
Year 3:
None; $5.0 million (20.0% multiplied by ($30 million cumulative capital gains less $5.0 million cumulative capital depreciation)) less $6.0 million (capital gains fee paid in Year 2)
Year 4:
Capital gains incentive fee of  $200,000; $6.2 million ($31 million cumulative realized capital gains multiplied by 20.0%) less $6.0 million (capital gains fee paid in Year 2)
(*)
The hypothetical amount of Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income shown is based on a percentage of net assets.
(1)
Represents 7.00% annualized Hurdle Rate.
(2)
Represents 2.00% annualized base management fee. This amount does not reflect that our Investment Adviser has agreed to exclude cash and cash equivalents from the calculation of the base management fee for the calendar quarters ending September 30, 2018, December 31, 2018, March 31, 2019 and June 30, 2019.
Alternative 2
Assumptions
Year 1:
$20 million investment made in Company A (“Investment A”), $30 million investment made in Company B (“Investment B”) and $25 million investment made in Company C (“Investment C”)
Year 2:
Investment A sold for $50 million, FMV of Investment B determined to be $25 million and FMV of Investment C determined to be $25 million
Year 3:
FMV of Investment B determined to be $27 million and Investment C sold for $30 million
Year 4:
FMV of Investment B determined to be $35 million
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Year 5:
Investment B sold for $20 million
The capital gains portion of the incentive fee would be:
Year 1:
None
Year 2:
Capital gains incentive fee of  $5.0 million; 20.0% multiplied by $25 million ($30 million realized capital gains on Investment A less $5 million unrealized capital depreciation on Investment B)
Year 3:
Capital gains incentive fee of  $1.4 million; $6.4 million (20.0% multiplied by $32 million ($35 million cumulative realized capital gains less $3 million unrealized capital depreciation on Investment B)) less $5.0 million (capital gains fee received in Year 2)
Year 4:
None
Year 5:
None; $5.0 million of capital gains incentive fee (20.0% multiplied by $25 million (cumulative realized capital gains of  $35 million less realized capital losses of  $10 million)) less $6.4 million (cumulative capital gains fee paid in Year 2 and Year 3)
Example 3: Application of the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism
Assumptions
In each of Years 1 through 4 in this example, as well as in each preceding year, Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income equals $40.0 million per year, which we recognized evenly in each quarter of each year and paid quarterly. This amount exceeds the Hurdle Rate and the requirement of the “catch-up” in each quarter of such year. As a result, the annual income related portion of the incentive fee, before the application of the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism in any year is $8.0 million ($40.0 million multiplied by 20%), and the cumulative income related portion of the incentive fee before the application of the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism over any Incentive Fee Look-back Period prior to any payment of incentive fees during such year is $16.0 million ($8.0 million multiplied by two). All income-related incentive fees were paid quarterly in arrears.
In each year preceding Year 1, we did not generate realized or unrealized capital gains or losses, no capital gain-related incentive fee was paid and there was no deferral of incentive fees
Year 1:
We did not generate realized or unrealized capital gains or losses
Year 2:
We realized a $30.0 million capital gain and did not otherwise generate realized or unrealized capital gains or losses
Year 3:
We recognized a $5.0 million unrealized capital depreciation and did not otherwise generate realized or unrealized capital gains or losses
Year 4:
We realized a $6.0 million capital gain and did not otherwise generate realized or unrealized capital gains or losses
Income Related Incentive
Fee Accrued Before
Application of Incentive
Fee Cap and Deferral
Mechanism
Capital Gains Related
Incentive Fee Accrued
Before Application of
Incentive Fee Cap and
Deferral Mechanism
Incentive Fee Cap
Incentive Fees Paid and
Deferred
Year 1
$8.0 million ($40.0 million
multiplied by 20%)
None $8.0 million (20% of Cumulative Pre-Incentive Fee Net Return during Incentive Fee Look-back Period of $120.0 million less $16.0 million of cumulative incentive fees paid) Incentive fees of $8.0 million paid; no incentive fees deferred
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Income Related Incentive
Fee Accrued Before
Application of Incentive
Fee Cap and Deferral
Mechanism
Capital Gains Related
Incentive Fee Accrued
Before Application of
Incentive Fee Cap and
Deferral Mechanism
Incentive Fee Cap
Incentive Fees Paid and
Deferred
Year 2
$8.0 million ($40.0 million multiplied by 20%) $6.0 million (20% of $30.0 million) $14.0 million (20% of Cumulative Pre-Incentive Fee Net Return during Incentive Fee Look-back Period of $150.0 million ($120.0 million plus $30.0 million) less $16.0 million of cumulative incentive fees paid) Incentive fees of $14.0 million paid; no incentive fees deferred
Year 3
$8.0 million ($40.0 million
multiplied by 20%)
None (20% of cumulative net capital gains of  $25.0 million ($30.0 million in cumulative realized gains less $5.0 million in cumulative unrealized capital depreciation) less $6.0 million of capital gains fee paid in Year 2) $7.0 million (20% of Cumulative Pre-incentive Fee Net Return during Incentive Fee Look-back Period of $145.0 million ($120.0 million plus $25.0 million) less $22.0 million of cumulative incentive fees paid) Incentive fees of $7.0 million paid; $8.0 million of incentive fees accrued but payment restricted to $7.0 million by the Incentive Fee Cap; $1.0 million of incentive fees deferred
Year 4
$8.0 million ($40.0 million
multiplied by 20%)
$0.2 million (20% of cumulative net capital gains of  $31.0 million ($36.0 million cumulative realized capital gains less $5.0 million cumulative unrealized capital depreciation) less $6.0 million of capital gains fee paid in Year 2) $9.2 million (20% of Cumulative Pre-Incentive Fee Net Return during Incentive Fee Look-back Period of $151.0 million ($120.0 million plus $31.0 million) less $21.0 million of cumulative incentive fees paid) Incentive fees of $9.2 million paid ($8.2 million of incentive fees accrued in Year 4 plus $1.0 million of deferred incentive fees); no incentive fees deferred
Payment of Our Expenses
WhiteHorse Advisers provides and pays for all investment professionals of WhiteHorse Advisers and their respective staffs, when and to the extent engaged in providing investment advisory and management services, and the compensation and routine overhead expenses of such personnel allocable to such services. For a discussion of other costs and expenses of our operations and transactions that we bear, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Overview — Expenses.”
Duration and Termination
The Investment Advisory Agreement, originally approved on September 18, 2012, which was subsequently amended and restated on August 1, 2018, was re-approved by our board of directors, including a majority of our directors who are not interested persons of WhiteHorse Finance, on August 1, 2019. Unless terminated earlier as described below, the Investment Advisory Agreement remains in effect from year to year thereafter if approved annually by our board of directors, or by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities, including, in either case, approval by a
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majority of our directors who are not interested persons of WhiteHorse Finance. The Investment Advisory Agreement will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment. The Investment Advisory Agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty upon not less than 60 days’ written notice to the other party. Any termination by us must be authorized either by our board of directors or by vote of our stockholders. See “Risk Factors — Risks Relating to our Business and Structure — We depend upon key personnel of H.I.G. Capital and its affiliates.”
Limitation of Liability and Indemnification
The Investment Advisory Agreement provides that, absent willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of the reckless disregard of its duties and obligations, WhiteHorse Advisers and its officers, managers, agents, employees, controlling persons, members and any other person or entity affiliated with the Investment Adviser, including its general partner and the Administrator are entitled to indemnification from us for any damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and amounts reasonably paid in settlement) arising from WhiteHorse Advisers’ performance of its duties and obligations under the Investment Advisory Agreement or otherwise as our investment adviser.
Board of Directors Approval of the Investment Advisory Agreement
On August 1, 2019, our board of directors voted unanimously to re-approve the Investment Advisory Agreement. In reaching its decision to re-approve the Investment Advisory Agreement our board of directors considered information it received relating to:

the nature, quality and extent of the advisory and other services to be provided to us by our Investment Adviser;

comparative data with respect to advisory fees or similar expenses paid by other business development companies with similar investment objectives;

our projected operating expenses and expense ratio compared to business development companies with similar investment objectives;

any existing and potential sources of indirect income to our investment adviser or WhiteHorse Administration from their relationships with us and the profitability of those relationships;

information about the services to be performed and the personnel performing such services under the Investment Advisory Agreement;

the organizational capability and financial condition of our Investment Adviser and its affiliates;

our investment adviser’s practices regarding the selection and compensation of brokers that may execute our portfolio transactions and the brokers’ provision of brokerage and research services to our investment adviser; and

the possibility of obtaining similar services from other third party service providers or through an internally managed structure.
In connection with their consideration of the renewal of the Investment Advisory Agreement, the board of directors gave weight to each of the factors described above, but did not identify any one particular factor as controlling its decision. Based on information that the board of directors reviewed, the considerations detailed above and further discussions, at a meeting held on August 1, 2019, the board of directors, including a majority of our directors who are not interested persons of WhiteHorse Finance or the Investment Adviser, determined that the investment advisory fee rates were reasonable in relation to the services to be provided and re-approved pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement. We expect that the board of directors will undertake the same or a similar review in connection with any proposed amendment to, or further renewal of, the Investment Advisory Agreement.
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Administration Agreement
Pursuant to the Administration Agreement, WhiteHorse Administration and its affiliates furnish us with office facilities, equipment and clerical, bookkeeping and record keeping services to enable us to operate. WhiteHorse Administration also provides us with access to the resources necessary for us to perform our obligations as portfolio manager of WhiteHorse Credit, under the Credit Facility and for certain portfolio companies. Under the Administration Agreement, WhiteHorse Administration performs, or oversees the performance of, our required administrative services, which include being responsible for the financial records which we are required to maintain and preparing reports to our stockholders and reports filed with the SEC. In addition, WhiteHorse Administration assists us in determining and publishing our NAV, oversees the preparation and filing of our tax returns and the printing and dissemination of reports to our stockholders and generally oversees the payment of our expenses and the performance of administrative and professional services rendered to us by others. Payments in respect of the obligations of WhiteHorse Administration and its affiliates under the Administration Agreement equal an amount based upon our allocable portion of WhiteHorse Administration’s overhead in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent and our allocable portion of the cost of our chief financial officer and chief compliance officer along with their respective staffs. Under the Administration Agreement, WhiteHorse Administration also provides managerial assistance on our behalf to portfolio companies that request such assistance. The renewal of the Administration Agreement was approved by our board of directors in October 2019. The Administration Agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party. To the extent that our Administrator outsources any of its functions, we will pay the fees associated with such functions on a direct basis, without any profit to WhiteHorse Administration.
Limitation of Liability and Indemnification
The Administration Agreement provides that WhiteHorse Administration and its officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons, members and any other person or entity affiliated with the Administrator, including its members, are not liable to us or any of our stockholders for any act or omission by it or its officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons, members and any other person or entity affiliated with the Administrator, including its members, in connection with the performance of any of the Administrator’s duties or obligations under the Administration Agreement or otherwise as our administrator, or for any damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and amounts reasonably paid in settlement) or losses sustained by us or our stockholders, except that the foregoing exculpation does not extend to any act or omission constituting willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of its obligations under the Administration Agreement. The Administration Agreement also provides for indemnification by us of WhiteHorse Administration and its officers, managers, partners, agents, employees, controlling persons, members and any other person or entity affiliated with the Administrator for damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and amounts reasonably paid in settlement) incurred by them in or by reason of any pending, threatened or completed action, suit, investigation or other proceeding (including an action or suit by us or our stockholders or in our or our stockholders’ right) arising out of or otherwise based on WhiteHorse Administration’s duties or obligations under the Administration Agreement or otherwise as our administrator, subject to the same limitations and conditions.
License Agreement
We have entered into a trademark license agreement, or the License Agreement, with an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital pursuant to which we have been granted a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use the “WhiteHorse” name. Under this agreement, we have a right to use the WhiteHorse name for so long as WhiteHorse Advisers or one of its affiliates remains our investment adviser. The License Agreement is terminable by either party at any time in its sole discretion upon 60 days’ prior written notice to the other party and is also terminable by the affiliate of H.I.G. Capital in the case of certain events of non-compliance. Other than with respect to this limited license, we have no legal right to the “WhiteHorse” name.
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REGULATION
We have elected to be treated as a business development company under the 1940 Act and as a RIC, under Subchapter M of the Code. The 1940 Act contains prohibitions and restrictions relating to transactions between business development companies and their affiliates (including any investment advisers or sub-advisers), principal underwriters and affiliates of those affiliates or underwriters and requires that a majority of the directors of a business development company 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 such change is approved by a majority of our outstanding voting securities.
Our board of directors may decide to issue common stock to finance our operations rather than issuing debt or other senior securities. As a business development company, we are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below the then-current NAV per share. We may, however, issue or sell our common stock at a price below the then-current NAV of the common stock, or sell warrants, options or rights to acquire such common stock, at a price below the then-current NAV of the common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of us and our stockholders, and if our stockholders approve such sale within the preceding 12 months. 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).
We may invest up to 100% of our assets in securities acquired directly from issuers in privately negotiated transactions. With respect to such securities, we may, for the purpose of public resale, be deemed an “underwriter” as that term is defined in the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. Our intention is to not write (sell) or buy put or call options to manage risks associated with the publicly traded securities of our portfolio companies, except that we may enter into hedging transactions to manage the risks associated with interest rate fluctuations to the extent that we are permitted to engage in such hedging transactions without registering with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, as a commodity pool operator. However, we may purchase or otherwise receive warrants to purchase the common stock of our portfolio companies in connection with acquisition financing or other investments. Similarly, in connection with an acquisition, we may acquire rights to require the issuers of acquired securities or their affiliates to repurchase them under certain circumstances. We also 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 three percent of the voting stock of any registered investment company, invest more than five percent of the value of our total assets in the securities of one investment company or invest more than 10% of the value of our total assets in the securities of one or more investment companies. 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. None of these policies is fundamental, and all may be changed without stockholder approval.
Exclusion of the Investment Adviser from Commodity Pool Operator Definition
Engaging in commodity interest transactions such as swap transactions or futures contracts for us may cause the Investment Adviser to fall within the definition of  “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act, or the CEA, and related CFTC regulations. On January 23, 2020, the Investment Adviser claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the CEA and the CFTC regulations in connection with its management of us and, therefore, is not subject to CFTC registration or regulation under the CEA as a commodity pool operator with respect to its management of us.
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 business are the following:
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(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;
(b)
is not an investment company (other than a small business investment company, or SBIC, 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)
satisfies any of the following:

does not have any class of securities listed on a national securities exchange or has any class of securities listed on a national securities exchange subject to a maximum market capitalization of  $250 million; or

is controlled by a business development company or a group of companies including a business development company, and the business development company actually exercises a controlling influence over the management or policies of the eligible portfolio company, and, as a result, the business development company has an affiliated person who is a director of the eligible portfolio company.
(2)
Securities of any eligible portfolio company which we control.
(3)
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.
(4)
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.
(5)
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.
(6)
Cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment.
The regulations defining and interpreting qualifying assets may change over time. We expect to adjust our investment focus as needed to comply with and/or take advantage of any regulatory, legislative, administrative or judicial actions in this area.
Managerial Assistance to Portfolio Companies
In addition, a business development company must have been organized and have its principal place of business in the United States and must be operated for the purpose of making investments in the types of securities described in (1), (2) or (3) above; except that, in order to count portfolio securities as qualifying assets for the purpose of the 70% test, the business development company must either control the issuer of the securities or must offer to make available to the issuer of the securities (other than small and solvent companies described above) significant managerial assistance. However, where a 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 managerial assistance means 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.
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WhiteHorse Administration provides such managerial assistance on our behalf to portfolio companies that request this assistance. We may receive fees for these services and reimburse WhiteHorse Administration for its allocated costs in providing such assistance, subject to review and approval by our board of directors, including our independent directors.
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 are qualifying assets. Typically, we will invest in U.S. Treasury bills or in repurchase agreements, so long as 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 generally not meet the Diversification Tests (as defined below) in order to qualify as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Thus, we do not intend to enter into repurchase agreements with a single counterparty in excess of this limit. Our Investment Adviser monitors the creditworthiness of the counterparties with which we enter into repurchase agreement transactions.
Senior Securities
We are 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 that term is defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 150% immediately after each such issuance. In addition, while any senior securities remain outstanding, we must make provisions to prohibit any distribution to our stockholders or the repurchase of such securities or shares unless we meet the applicable asset coverage ratios at the time of the distribution or repurchase. We may also borrow amounts up to five percent of the value of our total assets for temporary or emergency purposes without regard to asset coverage. For a discussion of the risks associated with leverage, see “Risk Factors — Risks Relating to our Business and Structure — Regulations governing our operation as a business development company, including those related to the issuance of senior securities, will affect our ability to, and the way in which we, raise additional debt or equity capital.”
Code of Ethics
We and WhiteHorse Advisers have each adopted a code of ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act that establishes procedures for personal investments and restricts certain personal securities transactions. For additional information, see “Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance — Code of Ethics.”
Compliance Policies and Procedures
We and our Investment Adviser have adopted and implemented written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the federal securities laws and are required to review these compliance policies and procedures annually for their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation. Our chief compliance officer is responsible for administering our policies and procedures.
Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures
We have delegated our proxy voting responsibility to our Investment Adviser. The Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures of our Investment Adviser are described below. The guidelines are reviewed periodically by our Investment Adviser and our non-interested directors and, accordingly, are subject to change. For purposes of these Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures described below, “we,” “our” and “us” refers to our Investment Adviser.
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Introduction
As an investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act, we have a fiduciary duty to act solely in the best interests of our clients. As part of this duty, we recognize that we must vote client securities in a timely manner free of conflicts of interest and in the best interests of our clients.
These policies and procedures for voting proxies for our investment advisory clients are intended to comply with Section 206 of, and Rule 206(4)-6 under, the Advisers Act.
Proxy Policies
We vote proxies relating to our clients’ portfolio securities in what we perceive to be the best interest of our clients’ 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 our clients. In most cases, we will vote in favor of proposals that we believe are likely to increase the value of our clients’ portfolio securities. Although we will generally vote against proposals that may have a negative impact on our clients’ 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 the senior officers who are responsible for monitoring each of our clients’ investments. To ensure that our vote is not the product of a conflict of interest, we require that: (1) 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 (2) 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. Where conflicts of interest may be present, we will disclose such conflicts, including to us, and may request guidance on how to vote such proxies.
Proxy Voting Records
You may obtain information without charge about how we voted proxies during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 (1) by making a written request for proxy voting information to: Investor Relations, 1450 Brickell Avenue, 31st Floor, Miami, Florida 33131 or by calling us collect at (305) 381-6999; and (2) on the SEC’S website http://www.sec.gov.
Privacy Principles
We are committed to maintaining the privacy of our stockholders and to 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 to anyone, except as permitted by law or as is necessary in order to service stockholder accounts (for example, to a transfer agent or third party administrator).
We restrict access to non-public personal information about our stockholders to employees of our Investment Adviser and its affiliates 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.
Other Regulatory Considerations
Under 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 us or 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 will be periodically examined by the SEC for compliance with the 1940 Act.
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We and the Investment Adviser are each required to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the U.S. federal securities laws, review these policies and procedures annually for their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation, and designate a chief compliance officer to be responsible for administering the policies and procedures.
We may also be prohibited under the 1940 Act from knowingly participating in certain transactions with our affiliates, including the Investment Adviser, without the prior approval of our board of directors who are not interested persons and, in some cases, prior approval by the SEC. The SEC has interpreted the prohibition on transactions by business development companies with affiliates to prohibit “joint” transactions among entities that share a common investment adviser. The staff of the SEC has granted no-action relief permitting purchases of a single class of privately placed securities provided that the Investment Adviser negotiates no term other than price and certain other conditions are met. Except in certain limited circumstances, we will be unable to invest in any issuer in which another account sponsored or managed by our Investment Adviser has previously invested.
On July 8, 2014, we received an exemptive relief order from the SEC, or the Exemptive Relief Order, which permits us to participate in negotiated investments with our affiliates, subject to certain conditions, and therefore provides stockholders with access to a broader range of investment opportunities.
We may issue and sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the then-current NAV per share of our common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of us and our stockholders, and if our stockholders approve such sale within the preceding 12 months. In any such case, the price at which our securities are to be issued and sold may not be less than a price that, in the determination of our board of directors, closely approximates the market value of such securities (less any distributing commission or discount).
The Nasdaq Global Select Market Corporate Governance Regulations
The Nasdaq Global Select Market has adopted corporate governance regulations that listed companies must comply with. As of the date of this report, we were in compliance with such corporate governance listing standards applicable to business development companies.
Election to Be Taxed as a RIC
As a business development company, we have elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, and intend to continue to qualify annually for such treatment. As a RIC, we generally are not subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income taxes on any net ordinary income or capital gains that we timely distribute as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes to our stockholders. To qualify as a RIC, we must meet certain source-of-income and asset diversification requirements (as described below). In addition, we must distribute to our stockholders, for each taxable year, dividends of an amount at least equal to 90% of the sum of our “investment company taxable income,” which is generally our net ordinary income plus the excess of realized net short-term capital gains over realized net long-term capital losses, plus the excess of any gross income exempt from U.S. federal income tax under Section 103(a) of the Code over deductions related to such tax-exempt income determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid. In this annual report on Form 10-K, we refer to this distribution requirement as the “Annual Distribution Requirement.”
Taxation as a RIC
If we:

qualify as a RIC; and

satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement;
then we will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of our investment company taxable income and net capital gain, defined as net long-term capital gains in excess of net short-term capital losses, we distribute as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes to our stockholders. We will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular corporate rates on any taxable income, including net capital gain, not distributed to our stockholders.
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We will be subject to a 4% nondeductible U.S. federal excise tax on our undistributed income unless we distribute in a timely manner dividends of an amount at least equal to the sum of  (1) 98% of our ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections) for each calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gain net income (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for the one-year period ending October 31 in that calendar year and (3) any ordinary income and capital gain net income for preceding years that were not distributed during such years on which we did not incur any U.S. federal income tax, or the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement. We intend to make sufficient distributions each taxable year to satisfy the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement.
In order to qualify as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must:

qualify to be treated as a business development company under the 1940 Act at all times during each taxable year;

derive in each taxable year at least 90% of our gross income from 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 net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (partnerships that are traded on an established securities market or tradable on a secondary market, other than partnerships that derive at least 90% of their income from interest, dividends and other permitted RIC income), or 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 more than 5% of the value of our assets or more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer; and

no more than 25% of the value of our assets is invested in the securities, other than U.S. government securities or securities of other RICs, of one issuer or 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 in the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships (together, the Diversification Tests).
We may invest in partnerships, including qualified publicly traded partnerships, which may result in our being subject to state, local or foreign income, franchise or withholding liabilities.
We may be required to recognize taxable income in circumstances in which we do not receive cash. For example, if we hold debt instruments that are treated under applicable tax rules as having original issue discount (such as debt instruments with PIK interest or, in certain cases, with increasing interest rates or issued with warrants), we must include in income each taxable year a portion of the original issue discount that accrues over the life of the instruments, 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 investment company taxable income for the taxable 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.
Certain of our investment practices may be subject to special and complex U.S. federal income tax provisions that may, among other things, (1) treat dividends that would otherwise constitute qualified dividend income as non-qualified dividend income, (2) treat dividends that would otherwise be eligible for the corporate dividends received deduction as ineligible for such treatment, (3) disallow, suspend or otherwise limit the allowance of certain losses or deductions, (4) convert lower-taxed long-term capital gain into higher-taxed short-term capital gain or ordinary income, (5) convert an ordinary loss or a deduction into a capital loss (the deductibility of which is more limited), (6) cause us to recognize income or gain without a corresponding receipt of cash, (7) adversely affect the time as to when a purchase or sale of stock or securities is deemed to occur, (8) adversely alter the characterization of certain complex financial transactions and (9) produce income that will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 90% Income Test. We intend to monitor our transactions and may make certain tax elections to mitigate the effect of these provisions and prevent our disqualification as a RIC.
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Gain or loss realized by us from 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.
Although we do not presently expect to do so, we are authorized to borrow funds and to sell assets in order to satisfy 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. Moreover, our ability to dispose of assets to meet our distribution requirements may be limited by (1) the illiquid nature of our portfolio and/or (2) other requirements relating to our qualification as a RIC, including the Diversification Tests. If we dispose of assets in order to meet the Annual Distribution Requirement or the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement, we may make such dispositions at times that, from an investment standpoint, are not advantageous.
We generally invest in securities that have been rated below investment grade by independent rating agencies or that would be rated below investment grade if they were rated. Investments in these types of instruments may present special tax issues for us. U.S. federal income tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when we may cease to accrue interest, original issue discount or market discount, when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless instruments, how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income and whether exchanges of debt obligations in a bankruptcy or workout context are taxable. These and other issues will be addressed by us to the extent necessary in order to seek to ensure that we distribute sufficient income in order to avoid the imposition of any material U.S. federal income or excise tax liability.
If we acquire the equity securities of certain non-U.S. entities classified as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes that earn 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,” or PFICs), we could be subject to federal income tax and additional interest charges on “excess distributions” received from such PFICs or gain from the sale of stock in such PFICs, even if all income or gain actually received by us is timely distributed to our stockholders. We would not be able to pass through to our stockholders any credit or deduction for such a tax. Certain elections may, if available, ameliorate these adverse tax consequences, but any such election could require us to recognize taxable income or gain without the concurrent receipt of cash. We intend to limit and/or manage our holdings in PFICs to minimize our liability for any such taxes and related interest charges.
If we hold greater than 10% of the interests treated as equity for U.S. federal income tax purposes in a foreign corporation that is treated for U.S. income tax purposes as a controlled foreign corporation, or CFC, we may be treated as receiving a deemed distribution (taxable as ordinary income) each taxable year from such foreign corporation in an amount equal to our pro rata share of the corporation’s income for such taxable year (including both ordinary earnings and capital gains), whether or not the corporation makes an actual distribution during such taxable year. We would be required to include the amount of a deemed distribution from a CFC when computing our investment company taxable income as well as in determining whether we satisfy the distribution requirements applicable to RICs, even to the extent the amount of our income deemed recognized from the CFC exceeds the amount of any actual distributions from the CFC and our proceeds from any sales or other dispositions of CFC stock during a taxable year. In general, a foreign corporation will be considered a CFC if greater than 50% of the shares of the corporation, measured by reference to combined voting power or value, is owned (directly, indirectly or by attribution) by U.S. Shareholders. A “U.S. Shareholder,” for this purpose, is any U.S. person that possesses (actually or constructively) 10% or more of the combined voting power or value of all classes of shares of a foreign corporation.
Certain income derived by us from a CFC or PFIC with respect to which we have made a qualified electing fund, or QEF, election would generally constitute qualifying income for purposes of determining our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC if the CFC or the PFIC makes distributions of that income to us or if the income is derived from our business of investing.
Our functional currency, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, is the U.S. dollar. Under the Code, foreign exchange gains and losses realized by us in connection with certain transactions involving foreign currencies, or payables or receivables denominated in a foreign currency, as well as certain non-U.S. dollar
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denominated debt securities, certain foreign currency futures contracts, foreign currency option contracts, foreign currency forward contracts, and similar financial instruments 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) also could, under future Treasury regulations, produce income not among the types of  “qualifying income” for purposes of the 90% Income Test.
Some of the income and fees that we may recognize will not satisfy the 90% Income Test. In order to mitigate the risk that such income and fees do not disqualify us as a RIC for a failure to satisfy the 90% Income Test, we may be required to recognize such income and fees indirectly through one or more entities classified as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Such corporations will be required to incur U.S. corporate income tax on their earnings, which ultimately will reduce our return on such income and fees.
Failure to Qualify as a RIC
If we were unable to qualify for continued treatment as a RIC and are unable to cure the failure, for example, by disposing of certain investments quickly or raising additional capital to prevent the loss of RIC status, we would be subject to tax on all of our taxable income at regular corporate rates. The Code provides certain relief from RIC disqualification due to failures of the source of income and asset diversification requirements, although there may be additional taxes due in such cases. We cannot assure you that we would qualify for any such relief should we fail the 90% Income Test or the Diversification Tests.
Should failure occur, not only would all our taxable income be subject to tax at regular corporate rates, we would not be able to deduct distributions to stockholders in computing our taxable income, nor would they be required to be made. Distributions, including distributions of net long-term capital gain, would generally be taxable to our stockholders as ordinary dividend income to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. Subject to certain limitations under the Code, certain corporate stockholders would be eligible to claim a dividends received deduction with respect to such dividends, and non-corporate stockholders would generally be eligible to treat such dividends as “qualified dividend income,” which is subject to reduced rates of U.S. federal income tax. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of a stockholder’s tax basis in our shares, and any remaining distributions would be treated as a capital gain. If we fail to qualify as a RIC for a period greater than two taxable years, to qualify as a RIC in a subsequent taxable year we may be subject to regular corporate tax on any net built-in gains with respect to certain of our assets (i.e., the excess of the aggregate gains, including items of income, over aggregate losses that would have been realized with respect to such assets if we had been liquidated) that we elect to recognize on requalification or when recognized over the next five taxable years.
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Item 1A.
Risk Factors
You should carefully consider these risk factors, together with all of the other information included in this annual report on Form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto, before you decide whether to make an investment in our securities. The risks set out below are not the only risks we face. If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In such case, the NAV of our common stock and the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Relating to Economic Conditions
Global economic, political and market conditions may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, including our revenue growth and profitability.
The current worldwide financial market situation, as well as growing social and political tensions in the United States and around the world, may contribute to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the United States and worldwide financial markets, and may cause economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide through economic sanctions and otherwise. In June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum in which voters approved an exit from the European Union, which occurred on January 31, 2020. The process for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union, including the withdrawal agreement setting forth the terms of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and the longer term economic, legal, political, regulatory and social framework to be put in place between the United Kingdom and the European Union remain unclear and may lead to ongoing political and economic uncertainty and periods of exacerbated volatility in both the United Kingdom and in wider European and global markets for some time. Any further exits from the European Union, or the possibility of such exits, would likely cause additional market disruption globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties. There is continued concern about national-level support for the Euro and the accompanying coordination of fiscal and wage policy among European Economic and Monetary Union member countries. In addition, the fiscal, trade and foreign policies of foreign nations, such as China, North Korea and Iran, may have a severe impact on the worldwide and U.S. financial markets. In addition, the policies of the current U.S. presidential administration and of the various candidates for the nomination for president of the Democratic Party may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy and international trade and relation, among other areas, and the impact of such policies on us, are unclear at present. We do not know how long the financial markets will be affected by these events and cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets or on our investments. We monitor developments and seek to manage our investments in a manner consistent with achieving our investment objective, but there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so.
Changes to U.S. tariff and import/export regulations may affect our portfolio companies, and may negatively impact our business, results of operations or financial conditions.
The current U.S. administration has signified potential significant changes to U.S. trade policies, treaties and tariffs, creating uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and other countries. These developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets, and may significantly reduce global trade. Any of these factors could dampen economic activity and limit our portfolio companies’ access to suppliers or customers, resulting in a material adverse effect on their business, financial condition and results of operations, which in turn would negatively impact us.
Global markets could enter a period of severe disruption and instability due to catastrophic events, such as terrorist attacks, acts of war, natural disasters, and outbreaks of epidemic, pandemic or contagious diseases, which could impair our portfolio companies’ financial positions and operating results and affect the industries in which we invest and, in turn, harm our operating results.
The U.S. and global markets have, from time to time, experienced periods of disruption due to events such as terrorist attacks; acts of war; natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods or hurricanes; and outbreaks of epidemic, pandemic or contagious diseases. Such events have created, and continue to create, economic and political uncertainties and have contributed to recent global economic
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instability. In particular, outbreaks of epidemic, pandemic or contagious diseases may cause serious harm to our business, operating results and financial condition. Historically, disease pandemics such as the Ebola virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or the H1N1 virus, have diverted resources and priorities towards the treatment of such diseases. In December 2019, a strain of novel coronavirus causing respiratory illness emerged in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China (the “Wuhan Coronavirus”). We are closely monitoring the developments in China and continually assessing the potential impact on our business and the business of our portfolio companies, including the effects described below. However, the full impact of this outbreak is unknown as of the date of this report.
Any prolonged disruptions in the business of our portfolio companies, including a disruption in their supply chains may adversely affect their ability to obtain the necessary raw materials or components to make their products or cause a decline in the demand for their products or services, leading to a negative impact on their operating results. In addition, such events may lead to restrictions on travel to and from the affected areas, making it more difficult for our portfolio companies to conduct their businesses. As a result of pandemic outbreaks, including the Wuhan Coronavirus, businesses can be shut down, supply chains can be interrupted, slowed, or rendered inoperable, and individuals can become ill, quarantined, or otherwise unable to work and/or travel due to health reasons or governmental restrictions. Governmental mandates may require forced shutdowns of our portfolio companies’ facilities for extended or indefinite periods. In addition, these widespread outbreaks of illness, particularly in China, North America, Europe, or other locations significant to the operations of our portfolio companies, could adversely affect their workforce, resulting in serious health issues and absenteeism, and may cause serious harm to our results of operations, business, or prospects.
Furthermore, future terrorist activities, military or security operations, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, pandemics or other similar events could further weaken the domestic/global economies and create additional uncertainties, which may negatively impact our portfolio companies. During these periods of disruption, general economic conditions may deteriorate with material and adverse consequences for the broader financial and credit markets, and the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole, and financial services firms in particular. Such economic adversity could impair our portfolio companies’ financial positions and operating results and affect the industries in which we invest, which could, in turn, harm our operating results. These conditions may reoccur for a prolonged period of time or materially worsen in the future.
Risks Relating to Our Business and Structure
The constraints imposed on us as a business development company and RIC may hinder the achievement of our investment objective.
The 1940 Act and the Code impose numerous constraints on the operations of business development companies and RICs that do not apply to other investment vehicles managed by H.I.G. Capital and its affiliates. For example, the 1940 Act requires, among other things, that a business development company invest at least 70% of its total assets in qualifying assets. Qualifying assets include U.S. private or thinly-traded public companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and other high-quality debt instruments that mature in one year or less from the date of investment. Subject to certain exceptions for follow-on investments and distressed companies, an investment in an issuer that has outstanding securities listed on a national securities exchange may be treated as a qualifying asset only if such issuer has a common equity market capitalization that is less than $250 million at the time of such investment. 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 be found to be in violation of the 1940 Act provisions applicable to business development companies and possibly 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, the restrictions of the 1940 Act applicable to business development companies 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 inopportune times. If we need to dispose of investments quickly, it may be difficult to dispose of such investments on favorable terms, or at all. 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 or otherwise for less than we could have received if we were able to sell them at a later time.
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Qualification for taxation as a RIC requires satisfaction of source-of-income, asset diversification and distribution requirements. The distribution requirement for a RIC generally is satisfied if we distribute at least 90% of our net ordinary income and net realized short-term capital gains in excess of net realized long-term capital losses, if any, to our stockholders on an annual basis. If we fail to qualify as a RIC for any reason and become subject to corporate income tax, the resulting corporate income taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of funds available for distributions to our stockholders and the amount of funds available for new investments.
The constraints imposed on us by the 1940 Act and the Code may hinder our and our Investment Adviser’s ability to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities and to achieve our investment objective. Further, failure to operate under these constraints could have a material adverse impact on our business, our relationship with our portfolio companies and our reputation and could subject us to regulatory inquiries, enforcement and fines, civil litigation and possible financial liability, or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We depend upon key personnel of H.I.G. Capital and its affiliates.
We are an externally managed business development company, and therefore we do not have any internal management capacity or employees. We depend on the diligence, skill and network of business contacts of our Investment Adviser to achieve our investment objective. We expect that our Investment Adviser will evaluate, negotiate, structure, close and monitor our investments in accordance with the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement.
Our Investment Adviser is an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital and depends upon access to the investment professionals and other resources of H.I.G. Capital and its affiliates to fulfill its obligations to us under the Investment Advisory Agreement. WhiteHorse Advisers also depends upon H.I.G. Capital to obtain access to deal flow generated by the professionals of H.I.G. Capital. Under the Staffing Agreement, an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital has agreed to provide our Investment Adviser with the resources necessary to fulfill these obligations. The Staffing Agreement provides that the affiliate will make available to WhiteHorse Advisers experienced investment professionals and access to the senior investment personnel of H.I.G. Capital for purposes of evaluating, negotiating, structuring, closing and monitoring our investments. We are not a party to the Staffing Agreement and cannot assure you that the affiliate will fulfill its obligations under the agreement. If the affiliate fails to perform, we cannot assure you that WhiteHorse Advisers will enforce the Staffing Agreement, that such agreement will not be terminated by either party or that we will continue to have access to the investment professionals of H.I.G. Capital and its affiliates or their market knowledge and deal flow.
We depend upon the senior professionals of H.I.G. Capital to maintain relationships with potential sources of lending opportunities, and we intend to rely to a significant extent upon these relationships to provide us with potential investment opportunities. We cannot assure you that these individuals will continue to indirectly provide investment advice to us. If these individuals, including the members of our investment committee, do not maintain their existing relationships with H.I.G. Capital, maintain existing relationships or develop new relationships with other sources of investment opportunities, we may not be able to grow our investment portfolio. In addition, individuals with whom the senior professionals of H.I.G. Capital have relationships are not obligated to provide us with investment opportunities. Therefore, we cannot assure you that such relationships will generate investment opportunities for us.
Our business model depends to a significant extent upon H.I.G. Capital’s proprietary deal-flow network of informal and unconventional potential deal sources in the lower middle market business community. Any inability of H.I.G. Capital to maintain or develop this network, or the failure of this network to generate investment opportunities, could adversely affect our business.
We depend upon H.I.G. Capital to maintain its extensive, proprietary lower middle market deal sourcing network, and we expect to rely to a significant extent upon this network to provide us with investment opportunities. This network of informal and unconventional deal sources in the lower middle market business community includes accountants, attorneys, brokers, insurance agents, consultants and financial advisors who have access to lower middle market companies. If H.I.G. Capital fails to maintain such sourcing network, or to develop new relationships with other sources of investment opportunities, we
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will not be able to grow our investment portfolio. In addition, individuals with whom H.I.G. Capital has relationships are not obligated to provide us with investment opportunities, and we can offer no assurance that these relationships will generate investment opportunities for us in the future.
If our Investment Adviser is unable to manage our investments effectively, we may be unable to achieve our investment objective.
Our ability to achieve our investment objective depends on our ability to manage our business and to grow our business. This depends, in turn, on our Investment Adviser’s ability to identify, invest in and monitor companies that meet our investment criteria. This, in turn, depends on the ability of H.I.G. Capital’s investment professionals to identify, invest in and monitor companies that meet our investment criteria. The achievement of our investment objective on a cost-effective basis will depend upon our Investment Adviser’s execution of our investment process, its ability to provide competent, attentive and efficient services to us and our access to financing on acceptable terms. Our Investment Adviser has substantial responsibilities under the Investment Advisory Agreement. The personnel of H.I.G. Capital who are made available to our Investment Adviser under the Staffing Agreement are engaged in other business activities and may be called upon to provide managerial assistance to our portfolio companies. These and other demands on their time could distract them, divert their time and attention or otherwise cause them not to dedicate a significant portion of their time to our businesses which could slow our rate of investment. Any failure to manage our business could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We may not replicate the historical results achieved by other entities managed or sponsored by members of our investment committee or by H.I.G. Capital or its affiliates.
Our primary focus in making investments generally differs from that of many of the investment funds, accounts or other investment vehicles that are or have been managed by members of our investment committee or sponsored by H.I.G. Capital or its affiliates. In addition, investors in our common stock do not acquire an interest in any such investment funds, accounts or other investment vehicles that are or have been managed by members of our investment committee or sponsored by H.I.G. Capital or its affiliates. We cannot assure you that we will replicate the historical results achieved by members of the investment committee, and we caution you that our investment returns could be substantially lower than the returns achieved by them in prior periods. Additionally, all or a portion of the prior results may have been achieved in particular market conditions which may never be repeated. Moreover, current or future market volatility and regulatory uncertainty may have an adverse impact on our future performance.
The highly competitive market for investment opportunities in which we operate may limit our investment opportunities.
A number of entities continue to compete with us to make investments in lower middle market companies. We compete with public and private funds, including other business development companies, commercial and investment banks, commercial financing companies, specialty finance companies, hedge funds and, to the extent they provide an alternative form of financing, private equity funds. Additionally, as competition for investment opportunities has increased, alternative investment vehicles, such as hedge funds and collateralized loan obligations, have invested in lower middle market companies. As a result of these new entrants, competition for investment opportunities in lower middle market companies has intensified. Many of our potential competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. In addition, some of our competitors have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more relationships than us. Furthermore, many of our competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a business development company. We cannot assure you that the competitive pressures we face will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Also, as a result of this competition, we may not be able to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities from time to time, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to identify and make investments that are consistent with our investment objective.
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Participants in our industry compete on several factors, including price, flexibility in transaction structuring, customer service, reputation, market knowledge and speed in decision-making. We do not intend to compete primarily based on the interest rates we offer, and we believe that some of our competitors may make loans with interest rates that are lower than the rates we offer. We may lose investment opportunities if we do not match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. However, if we match our competitors’ pricing, terms and structure, we may reduce our net investment income and increase our risk of credit loss.
We have elected to be treated as a RIC and intend to qualify annually for such treatment. If we are unable to qualify as a RIC, we will be subject to corporate-level income tax.
We have elected to be treated as a RIC under the Code and intend to qualify annually for such treatment. To qualify as a RIC under the Code, we must meet certain income source, asset diversification and annual distribution requirements. The Annual Distribution Requirement for a RIC is satisfied if we distribute 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short term capital gains in excess of realized net long term capital losses, if any, each taxable year as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes to our stockholders. To the extent we use preferred stock or debt financing in the future, we may be subject to certain asset coverage ratio requirements under the 1940 Act and financial covenants that could, under certain circumstances, restrict us from making distributions necessary to be subject to tax as a RIC. If we fail to make sufficient distributions, as a result of contractual restrictions in the Credit Facility or otherwise, we may fail to qualify to be subject to tax as a RIC and, thus, may be subject to corporate-level income tax. To qualify as a RIC, we must also meet certain asset diversification requirements at the end of each calendar quarter. If we fail to meet these requirements, we may need to dispose of certain investments quickly in order to prevent the loss of our RIC status. Because we anticipate that most of our investments will be in the debt of relatively illiquid lower middle market private companies, any such dispositions could be made at disadvantageous prices and may result in substantial losses. If we fail to qualify as a RIC for any reason and remain or become subject to corporate-level income tax, the resulting corporate taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution and the amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us and our stockholders.
Our returns will be reduced by any corporate income tax that our subsidiaries pay.
We may be required to recognize certain income and fees indirectly through one or more entities treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Such corporations will be required to incur corporate income tax on their earnings, which ultimately will reduce our return on such income and fees. In addition, we may invest in partnerships, including qualified publicly traded partnerships and limited liability companies treated as partnerships for tax purposes, which may result in our being subject to additional state, local or foreign income, franchise, withholding or other tax liabilities.
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We may have difficulty paying our required distributions if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.
For U.S. federal income tax purposes, we include in income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as original issue discount, which may arise if we receive warrants in connection with the making of a loan or possibly in other circumstances, or PIK, interest, which represents contractual interest added to the loan balance and due at the end of the loan term. Such original issue discount, which could be significant relative to our overall investment assets, and increases in loan balances as a result of PIK interest will be included in income before we receive any corresponding cash payments. In addition, generally we are required to recognize income for tax purposes no later than when recognized for financial reporting purposes.
We also may be required to include in income certain other amounts that we do not receive in cash. In addition, after the expiration of the reinvestment period under the Credit Facility on December 29, 2020, we must use asset sales and repayment proceeds, if any (including any realized gains), to pay down any outstanding debt and certain other amounts prior to distributing cash from WhiteHorse Credit to us. Also, if we do not meet certain coverage tests under the Credit Facility, Note Purchase Agreement, or the 2025 Notes or if an event of default and acceleration occurs under the Credit Facility, then income and capital gains which would otherwise be distributable by us to our stockholders could be diverted to pay down debt or other amounts due under the Credit Facility, the Note Purchase Agreement or the 2025 Notes.
As a result, we may have difficulty meeting the annual distribution requirement to distribute at least 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any, in order to be subject to tax as a RIC. Accordingly, we may have to sell some of our investments at times we would not consider advantageous, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investment originations to meet these distribution requirements. If we are not able to obtain cash from other sources, we may fail to qualify to be subject to tax as a RIC and thus be subject to corporate level income tax.
PIK interest payments we receive will increase our assets under management and, as a result, will increase the amount of base management fees payable by us to our Investment Adviser.
Certain of our debt investments contain provisions providing for the payment of PIK interest, which increases the loan balance of the underlying loan in lieu of receiving cash interest, causing interest to compound on such higher loan balance. PIK interest increases our assets under management and, because the base management fee that we pay to our Investment Adviser is based on the value of our consolidated gross assets, PIK interest increases the base management fee we pay. This increase in interest income from the higher loan balance increases our pre-incentive fee net investment income and the incentive fees that we pay to our Investment Adviser.
Regulations governing our operation as a business development company, including those related to the issuance of senior securities, will affect our ability to, and the way in which we, raise additional debt or equity capital.
We expect that we will require a substantial amount of capital. We may issue debt securities or preferred stock and/or 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. As a business development company, we are required to meet an asset coverage ratio, as defined under the 1940 Act, as amended by the Small Business Credit Availability Act, or the SBCAA, as the ratio of our gross assets (less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities) to our outstanding senior securities of at least 150% (equivalent to $2 of debt outstanding for each $1 of equity) after each issuance of senior securities. See “— We intend to continue to finance our investments with borrowed money, which will magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing in us.” If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy the 1940 Act’s asset coverage requirement. If that happens, we may be required to sell a portion of our investments at a time when such sale may be disadvantageous and, depending on the nature of our leverage, repay a portion of our indebtedness. The issuance of senior securities exposes us to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss, and if we incur additional leverage as permitted by the SBCAA, these risks will be magnified. If we
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issue preferred stock, such securities would rank “senior” to common stock in our capital structure, and preferred stockholders would have separate voting rights, dividend and liquidation rights and possibly other rights, preferences or privileges more favorable than those granted to holders of our common stock. Furthermore, the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change of control that might otherwise result in your receiving a premium price for your common stock or otherwise be in your best interest.
Our board of directors may decide to issue common stock to finance our operations rather than issuing debt or other senior securities. As a business development company, we are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below the then-current NAV per share. We may, however, issue or sell our common stock, at a price below the then-current NAV of the common stock, or sell warrants, options or rights to acquire such common stock, at a price below the then-current NAV of the common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of us and our stockholders, and if our stockholders approve such sale within the preceding 12 months. 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). We may also conduct rights offerings at prices per share less than the NAV per share, subject to the requirements of the 1940 Act. If we raise additional funds by issuing additional common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, the percentage ownership of our stockholders at that time would decrease, and our stockholders may experience dilution.
In addition to issuing securities to raise capital as described above, we have securitized, and may in the future seek to securitize, our loans to generate cash for funding new investments. To securitize loans, we may create one or more wholly owned subsidiaries and sell and contribute a pool of loans to such subsidiaries. This could include the sale or other issuance of debt by such subsidiaries on a non-recourse basis to purchasers who we would expect to be willing to accept a lower interest rate to invest in investment grade-rated debt secured by such loan pools, and we would retain all or a portion of the equity in any such subsidiary. An inability to securitize part of our loan portfolio could limit our ability to grow our business, fully execute our business strategy and increase our earnings. Moreover, the successful securitization of part of our loan portfolio might expose us to losses as the loans we are not able to securitize will tend to be those that are riskier and more apt to generate losses.
Any failure on our part to maintain our status as a business development company would reduce our operating flexibility.
If we do not remain a business development company, we might be regulated as a closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act, which would subject us to substantially more regulatory restrictions under the 1940 Act and, correspondingly, decrease our operating flexibility.
The Small Business Credit Availability Act allows us to incur additional leverage, which may increase the risk of investing with us.
Historically, the 1940 Act has permitted us to issue “senior securities,” including borrowing money from banks or other financial institutions, only in amounts such that its asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% after such incurrence or issuance. In March 2018, the SBCAA was enacted into law. The SBCAA, among other things, amended the 1940 Act to reduce the asset coverage requirements applicable to business development companies from 200% to 150% so long as the business development company meets certain disclosure requirements and obtains certain approvals. On May 3, 2018 and August 1, 2018, our board of directors, including a “required majority” (as such term is defined in Section 57(o) of the 1940 Act) and our stockholders, respectively, approved a reduced asset coverage ratio from 200% to 150% in accordance with the SBCAA, effective on August 2, 2018, such that our maximum debt to equity ratio increased from a prior maximum of 1.0x (equivalent of  $1 of debt outstanding for each $1 equity) to a maximum of 2.0x (equivalent to $2 of debt outstanding for each $1 of equity). As of December 31, 2019, our asset coverage for borrowed amounts was 203.0%. As a result of the effectiveness of the decrease in the asset coverage ratio applicable to us, we are able to incur additional leverage, and the risks associated with an investment in us may increase. For example, see “— Since we are using debt to finance our investments, and we may use additional debt or preferred stock financing going forward, changes in interest rates may affect our cost of capital, net investment income, value of our common stock and our rate of return on invested capital.”
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We intend to continue to finance our investments with borrowed money, which will magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing in us.
The use of leverage, including through the issuance of senior securities, magnifies the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested. We have incurred leverage in the past and currently incur leverage through the Credit Facility, the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes and, from time to time, intend to incur additional leverage to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. The use of leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique and increases the risks associated with investing in our securities. In the future, we may borrow from, and issue senior securities to, banks, insurance companies and other lenders. Holders of these senior securities will have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of our common stockholders, and we would expect such holders to seek recovery against our assets in the event of a default.
WhiteHorse Credit has pledged, and expects to continue to pledge, all or substantially all of its assets. WhiteHorse Credit has granted, and may in the future grant, a security interest in all or a portion of its assets under the Credit Facility. In addition, under the terms of the Credit Facility, we must use the net proceeds of any investments that we sell to repay amounts then due with respect to our debt and certain other amounts owing under the Credit Facility before applying such net proceeds to other uses, such as distributing them to our stockholders.
We may pledge up to 100% of our assets and may grant a security interest in all of our assets under the terms of any debt instruments into which we may enter. In addition, under the terms of any credit facility or other debt instrument we enter into, we are likely to be required by its terms to use the net proceeds of any investments that we sell to repay a portion of the amount borrowed under such facility or instrument before applying such net proceeds to any other uses.
If the value of our assets decreases, leverage would cause NAV to decline more sharply than it otherwise would have had we not leveraged, thereby magnifying losses or eliminating our equity stake in a leveraged investment. Similarly, any decrease in our revenue or income will cause our net income to decline more sharply than it would have had we not borrowed. Such a decline would also negatively affect our ability to make distributions on our common stock or preferred stock. Our ability to service our debt will depend largely on our financial performance and will be subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. In addition, our common stockholders will bear the burden of any increase in our expenses as a result of our use of leverage, including interest expenses and any increase in the management fee payable to our Investment Adviser.
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 include all of our borrowings and any preferred stock that we may issue in the future, of at least 150%, subject to certain disclosure requirements, as is specified in the 1940 Act. If this ratio declines below 150%, we cannot incur additional debt and could be required to sell a portion of our investments to repay some debt when it is disadvantageous to do so. This could have a material adverse effect on our operations, and we may not be able to make distributions. The amount of leverage that we employ will depend on our Investment Adviser’s and our board of directors’ assessment of market and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain our borrowings under the Credit Facility, the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes or obtain other credit at all or on terms acceptable to us. For information regarding a reduction in the asset coverage ratio applicable to us, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Recent Developments.”
In addition, the terms governing the Credit Facility, the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes and any indebtedness that we incur in the future could impose financial and operating covenants that restrict our business activities, including limitations that may hinder our ability to finance additional loans and investments or make the distributions required to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.
The Note Purchase Agreement governing the Private Notes contains additional terms and conditions for senior unsecured notes issued in a private placement, including minimum shareholders’ equity, minimum asset coverage ratio, maximum debt to equity ratio and prohibitions on certain fundamental changes of the Company or any subsidiary guarantor. The Note Purchase Agreement also contains
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customary events of default with customary cure and notice periods, including, without limitation, nonpayment, incorrect representation in any material respect, breach of covenant, cross-default under other indebtedness of the Company or certain significant subsidiaries, certain judgements and orders, and certain events of bankruptcy.
The breach of any of the covenants or restrictions, unless cured within the applicable grace period, would result in a default under the applicable indebtedness arrangement that would permit the lenders thereunder to declare all amounts outstanding to be due and payable. In such an event, we may not have sufficient assets to repay such indebtedness. As a result, any default could have serious consequences to our financial condition. An event of default of an acceleration under these arrangements could also cause a cross default or cross acceleration of another debt instrument or contractual obligation, which would adversely impact our liquidity. We may not be granted waivers or amendments to these arrangements if for any reason we are unable to comply with it, and we may not be able to refinance such arrangements on terms acceptable to us, or at all.
The reduction of our asset coverage requirement from 200% to 150% increases the amount of debt that we are permitted to incur, such that the Company’s maximum debt to equity ratio increased from a prior maximum of 1.0x (equivalent of  $1 of debt outstanding for each $1 equity) to a maximum of 2.0x (equivalent to $2 of debt outstanding for each $1 of equity). Increased leverage could increase the risks associated with investing in the Company. For example, if the value of the Company’s assets decreases, although the asset base and expected revenues would be larger because increased leverage would permit the Company to acquire additional assets, leverage will cause the Company’s NAV to decline more sharply than it otherwise would have without leverage or with lower leverage. Any decrease in the Company’s revenue would cause its net income to decline more sharply, on a relative basis, than it would have if the Company had not borrowed or had borrowed less.
The following table illustrates the effect of leverage on returns from an investment in our common stock as of December 31, 2019, assuming various annual returns, net of expenses. The purpose of this table is to assist investors in understanding the effects of leverage. The calculations in the table below are hypothetical and actual returns may be higher or lower than those appearing in the table below.
Assumed Return on Our Portfolio (Net of Expenses)
-10%
-5%
0%
5%
10%
Corresponding return to common stockholder assuming actual
asset coverage as of December 31, 2019 (203.0%)(1)
(22.8)% (13.4)% (4.0)% 5.4% 14.9%
Corresponding return to common stockholder assuming 200% asset coverage(2)
(29.8)% (18.3)% (6.7)% 4.8% 16.4%
Corresponding return to common stockholder assuming 150% asset coverage(3)
(44.3)% (27.8)% (11.3)% 5.3% 21.8%
(1)
Assumes $631.2 million in total assets, $303.9 million in debt outstanding and $313.0 million in net assets as of December 31, 2019, and an average cost of funds of 4.92%, which is our weighted average borrowing cost as of December 31, 2019.
(2)
Assumes $764.2 million in total assets, $313.0 million in debt outstanding and $313.0 million in net assets as of December 31, 2019, and an average cost of funds of 4.81%, which would be our weighted average borrowing cost assuming 200% asset coverage as of December 31, 2019.
(3)
Assumes $1,077.1 million in total assets, $625.9 million in debt outstanding and $313.0 million in net assets as of December 31, 2019, and an average cost of funds of 4.70%, which would be our weighted average borrowing cost assuming 150% asset coverage as of December 31, 2019.
Based on our outstanding indebtedness of  $303.9 million as of December 31, 2019 and an average cost of funds of 4.55%, 6.00% and 6.50%, which were the effective annualized interest rates of the Credit Facility, Private Notes and 2025 Notes, respectively, as of that date, our investment portfolio must experience an annual return of at least 2.53% to cover annual interest payments on our outstanding indebtedness.
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Because we expect to distribute substantially all of our ordinary income and net realized capital gains to our stockholders, we will need additional capital to finance our growth and such capital may not be available on favorable terms, or at all.
We will need additional capital to fund growth in our investment portfolio. We may issue debt or equity securities or borrow from financial institutions in order to obtain this additional capital. A reduction in the availability of new capital could limit our ability to grow. We are required to distribute at least 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any, each taxable year to our stockholders to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC. As a result, these earnings will not be available to fund new investments. If we are unable to obtain additional capital to fund new investments, this could limit our ability to grow, which may have an adverse effect on the value of our securities.
Since we are using debt to finance our investments, and we may use additional debt or preferred stock financing going forward, changes in interest rates may affect our cost of capital, net investment income, value of our common stock and our rate of return on invested capital.
Since we are using debt to finance investments, our net investment income will depend, in part, upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the rate at which we invest those funds. As a result, a significant change in market interest rates may have a material adverse effect on our net investment income. In periods of rising interest rates when we have debt outstanding, our cost of funds will increase, which could reduce our net investment income.
Conversely, in periods of falling interest rates, the probability that our loans and other investments in portfolio companies will be pre-paid increases. In such event, we can offer no assurance that we will be able to make new loans on the same terms, or at all. If we cannot make new loans on terms that are the same or better than the investments that are repaid, then our results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected. We expect that our investments will be financed primarily with equity and medium to long-term debt or preferred stock. We may use interest rate risk management techniques in an effort to limit our exposure to interest rate fluctuations. These techniques may include various interest rate hedging activities to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. These activities may limit our ability to benefit from 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. Additionally, our ability to engage in hedging transactions may also be adversely affected by recent rules adopted by the CFTC unless our Investment Adviser registers with the CFTC as a commodity pool operator or obtain an exemption from such requirement. On January 23, 2020, our Investment Adviser claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the CEA and, therefore, is not subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under such Act.
You should also be aware that a rise in the general level of interest rates can be expected to lead to higher interest rates applicable to our debt investments. Accordingly, an increase in interest rates would make it easier for us to meet or exceed the incentive fee Hurdle Rate and may result in a substantial increase in the amount of incentive fees payable to our Investment Adviser with respect to Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income. An increase in interest rates may decrease the value of any investments we hold which earn fixed interest rates and also may increase our interest expense, thereby decreasing our net income, and also may make investments in our common stock less attractive if we are not able to increase our distribution rate, which may reduce the market value of our common stock.
In July 2017, the head of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority, or the FCA, announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. To identify a successor rate for U.S. dollar LIBOR, the Federal Reserve System, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, has identified the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, as its preferred alternative rate for LIBOR. SOFR is a measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight, collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, and is based on directly observable U.S. Treasury-backed repurchase transactions. Although SOFR appears to be the preferred replacement rate for U.S. dollar LIBOR, at this time, it is not possible to predict whether
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SOFR will attain market traction as a LIBOR replacement tool or the effect of any such changes as the establishment of alternative reference rates or other reforms to LIBOR may be enacted in the United States, United Kingdom or elsewhere. As such, the potential effect of SOFR and LIBOR on our net investment income cannot yet be determined.
If LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate the credit agreements extending beyond 2021 with our portfolio companies that utilize LIBOR as a factor in determining the interest rate to replace LIBOR with the new standard that is established. In addition, we may need to renegotiate certain terms of the Credit Agreement. If we are unable to do so, amounts drawn under the Credit Facility may bear interest at a higher rate, which would increase the cost of our borrowings and, in turn, affect our results of operations. In addition, any further changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of LIBOR may result in a sudden or prolonged increase or decrease in reported LIBOR, which could have an adverse impact on the market value for or value of any LIBOR-linked securities, loans and other financial obligations or extensions of credit held by or due to us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, tax position and results of operations.
We may expose ourselves to risks if we engage in hedging transactions.
We may engage in currency or interest rate hedging transactions to the extent such transactions are permitted under the 1940 Act and applicable commodities law. If we engage in hedging transactions, we may expose ourselves to risks associated with such transactions, including the risk of counterparty default. In this regard, we may utilize instruments such as futures, forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of our portfolio positions from changes in currency exchange rates and market interest rates. Hedging against a decline in the values of our portfolio positions does not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such portfolio positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for us to realize a gain on a net basis if the values of the underlying portfolio positions should increase. Moreover, it may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price.
While we may enter into transactions to seek to reduce currency exchange rate and interest rate risks, unanticipated changes in currency exchange rates or interest rates or counterparty default may result in poorer overall investment performance than if we had not engaged in any hedging transactions. In addition, the degree of correlation between price movements of the instruments used in a hedging strategy and price movements in the portfolio positions being hedged may vary. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek or be able to establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and the portfolio holdings being hedged. Any such imperfect correlation may prevent us from achieving the intended hedge position and expose us to risk of loss. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge fully or perfectly against currency fluctuations affecting the value of securities denominated in non-U.S. currencies because the value of those securities may also fluctuate as a result of factors not related to currency fluctuations.
Future legislation or rules could modify how we treat derivatives and other financial arrangements for purposes of our compliance with the leverage limitations of the 1940 Act.
Future legislation or rules may modify how we treat derivatives and other financial arrangements for purposes of our compliance with the leverage limitations of the 1940 Act. For example, the SEC proposed a new rule in November 2019 that was designed to enhance the regulation of the use of derivatives by registered investments companies and business development companies. While the adoption of the proposed rule is currently uncertain, the proposed rule, if adopted, or any future legislation or rules, may modify how leverage is calculated under the 1940 Act and, therefore, may increase or decrease the amount of leverage currently available to us under the 1940 Act, which may be materially adverse to us and our shareholders.
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There are significant potential conflicts of interest that could affect our investment returns.
As a result of our arrangements with H.I.G. Capital and our investment committee, there may be times when H.I.G. Capital or our investment committee have interests that differ from those of our stockholders, giving rise to a conflict of interest.
There may be conflicts related to obligations our investment committee, our Investment Adviser or its affiliates have to other clients.
The members of our investment committee serve or may serve as officers, directors or principals of entities that operate in the same or a related line of business as we do, or of investment funds managed by our Investment Adviser or its affiliates. Similarly, our Investment Adviser or its affiliates may have other clients with similar, different or competing investment objectives. In serving in these multiple capacities, they may have obligations to other clients or investors in those entities, the fulfillment of which may not be in the best interests of us or our stockholders. For example, the members of our investment committee have, and will continue to have, management responsibilities for other investment funds, accounts or other investment vehicles managed or sponsored by our Investment Adviser and its affiliates, including entities that may raise additional capital from time to time. These other investment funds, accounts or investment vehicles may have different fee and expense arrangements, including requirements to share or offset certain fees from portfolio companies, than those paid by us to the Investment Adviser. Our investment objective overlaps or may overlap with the investment objectives of such affiliated investment funds, accounts or other investment vehicles. As a result, those individuals may face conflicts in the allocation of investment opportunities among us and other investment funds or accounts advised by or affiliated with our Investment Adviser. Our Investment Adviser will seek to allocate investment opportunities among eligible accounts in a manner that is fair and equitable over time and consistent with its allocation policy. However, we cannot assure you that such opportunities will be allocated to us fairly or equitably in the short-term or over time or that there may not be inadvertent errors in our application of our Investment Advisor’s allocation policy. Where we are able to co-invest consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act, including the Exemptive Relief Order, if sufficient securities or loan amounts are available to satisfy our and each such account’s proposed demand, we expect that the opportunity will be allocated in accordance with our Investment Adviser’s pre-transaction determination. If there is an insufficient amount of an investment opportunity to satisfy our demand and that of other accounts sponsored or managed by our Investment Adviser or its affiliates, the allocation policy further provides that allocations among us and such other accounts will generally be made pro rata based on each account’s available capital in the asset class being allocated, up to the amount proposed to be invested by each account. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to participate in all suitable investment opportunities. Where we are unable to co-invest consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act, our Investment Adviser’s allocation policy provides for investments to be allocated on a rotational basis to assure that all clients have fair and equitable access to such investment opportunities.
Our investment committee, our Investment Adviser or its affiliates may, from time to time, possess material non-public information, limiting our investment discretion.
Principals of our Investment Adviser and its affiliates and members of our investment committee may serve as directors of, or in a similar capacity with, companies in which we invest, the securities of which are purchased or sold on our behalf. If we obtain material nonpublic information with respect to such companies, or we become subject to trading restrictions under the internal trading policies of those companies or as a result of applicable law or regulations, we could be prohibited for a period of time from purchasing or selling the securities of such companies, and this prohibition may have an adverse effect on us.
Our incentive fee structure may create incentives for our Investment Adviser that are not fully aligned with the interests of our stockholders and may induce our Investment Adviser to make speculative investments.
In the course of our investing activities, we pay management and incentive fees to our Investment Adviser. The incentive fee payable by us to our Investment Adviser may create an incentive for our Investment Adviser to make investments on our behalf that are risky or more speculative than would be the case in the absence of such compensation arrangement. The management fee is based on our consolidated
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gross assets. As a result, investors in our common stock will invest on a “gross” basis and receive distributions on a “net” basis after expenses, resulting in a lower rate of return than one might achieve through direct investments. Because the management fee is based on our consolidated gross assets, our Investment Adviser will benefit when we incur debt or use leverage. The use of leverage increases the likelihood of default, which disfavors the holders of our common stock.
Additionally, under the incentive fee structure, our Investment Adviser may benefit when capital gains are recognized and, because our Investment Adviser determines when a holding is sold, our Investment Adviser controls the timing of the recognition of such capital gains. Our board of directors is charged with protecting our interests by monitoring how our Investment Adviser addresses these and other conflicts of interest associated with its management services and compensation. While they are not expected to review or approve each investment or realization, our independent directors will periodically review our Investment Adviser’s services and fees as well as its portfolio management decisions and portfolio performance. In connection with these reviews, our independent directors will consider whether such fees and our expenses (including those related to leverage) remain appropriate. As a result of this arrangement, our Investment Adviser or its affiliates may from time to time have interests that differ from those of our stockholders, giving rise to a conflict.
Unlike that portion of the incentive fee based on income, there is no Hurdle Rate applicable to the incentive fee based on net capital gains. As a result, our Investment Adviser may seek to invest more capital in investments that are likely to result in capital gains as compared to income producing securities. This practice could result in our investing in more speculative securities than would otherwise be the case, which could result in higher investment losses, particularly during economic downturns.
In addition, under the terms of the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism, the amount of incentive fees earned by our Investment Adviser will depend, in part, upon the timing of capital gains or losses in our investment portfolio, as well as the timing of our recognition of income. Depending on the circumstances, there may be a lag of as long as 12 fiscal quarters between the occurrence of an event giving rise to an obligation to pay incentive fees to the Investment Adviser and the payment of such incentive fees. Therefore, investors who acquire shares of our common stock may pay indirectly to our Investment Adviser incentive fees in respect of income or capital gains that were received by or paid to us prior to such investor becoming a stockholder. As a result, such investors may not participate in the income or capital gains giving rise to such indirect expense.
The valuation process for certain of our portfolio holdings creates a conflict of interest.
We expect to make many portfolio investments in the form of securities that are not publicly traded. As a result, our board of directors determines the fair value of these securities in good faith under our valuation policies and procedures. In connection with that determination, investment professionals from our Investment Adviser provide our board of directors with portfolio company valuations based upon the most recent portfolio company financial statements available and projected financial results of each portfolio company. In addition, certain members of our board of directors have an indirect pecuniary interest in our Investment Adviser. The participation of our Investment Adviser’s investment professionals in our valuation process, and the indirect pecuniary interest in our Investment Adviser by certain members of our board of directors, could result in a conflict of interest as the management fee paid to our Investment Adviser is based, in part, on our consolidated gross assets.
We have conflicts related to other arrangements with our Investment Adviser or its affiliates.
We have entered into a license agreement with an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital under which H.I.G. Capital has granted us a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use the name “WhiteHorse”. In addition, we pay to WhiteHorse Administration our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by WhiteHorse Administration in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, such as rent and our allocable portion of the cost of our chief financial officer and chief compliance officer and their respective staffs. These arrangements create conflicts of interest that our board of directors must monitor.
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Our Investment Adviser may be paid incentive compensation even if we incur a net loss, and we cannot recover any portion of the incentive fee previously paid.
Our Investment Adviser is entitled to incentive compensation for each fiscal quarter in an amount equal to a percentage of our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income, subject to the Hurdle Rate, a catch-up provision and the Incentive Fee Cap and Deferral Mechanism. Our Pre-Incentive Fee Net Investment Income excludes realized and unrealized capital losses that we may incur in the fiscal quarter, even if such capital losses result in a net loss for that quarter. Thus, we may be required to pay our Investment Adviser incentive compensation for a fiscal quarter even if we incur a net loss. In addition, if we pay the capital gains portion of the incentive fee and thereafter experience additional realized capital losses or unrealized capital depreciation, we will not be able to recover any portion of the incentive fee previously paid.
Our ability to enter into transactions with our affiliates is restricted, which may limit the scope of investments available to us.
We are prohibited under the 1940 Act from participating in certain transactions with our affiliates without the prior approval of our independent directors and, in some cases, of the SEC. The Exemptive Relief Order permits us to participate in negotiated investments with our affiliates that would otherwise be prohibited by the 1940 Act, subject to certain conditions. Any person that owns, directly or indirectly, five percent or more of our outstanding voting securities will be our affiliate for purposes of the 1940 Act, and we are generally prohibited from buying or selling any security from or to, or entering into certain “joint” transactions (which could include investments in the same portfolio company) with such affiliates, absent the prior approval of our independent directors. Our Investment Adviser and its affiliates, including persons that control, or are under common control with, us or our Investment Adviser, are also considered to be our affiliates under the 1940 Act.
We may invest alongside other clients of our Investment Adviser and its affiliates in certain circumstances where doing so is consistent with applicable law, the terms of our Exemptive Relief Order, SEC staff interpretations and/or exemptive relief issued by the SEC. For example, we may invest alongside such accounts consistent with guidance promulgated by the staff of the SEC permitting us and such other accounts to purchase interests in a single class of privately placed securities so long as certain conditions are met, including that our Investment Adviser, acting on our behalf and on behalf of other clients, negotiates no term other than price. We may also invest alongside our Investment Adviser’s other clients as otherwise permissible under regulatory guidance, applicable regulations and the allocation policy of H.I.G. Capital and our Investment Adviser. Under this allocation policy, a fixed calculation, based on the type of investment, will be applied to determine the amount of each opportunity to be allocated to us. This allocation policy will be periodically approved by our Investment Adviser and reviewed by our independent directors. We expect that these determinations will be made similarly for other accounts sponsored or managed by our Investment Adviser and its affiliates. If sufficient securities or loan amounts are available to satisfy our and each such account’s proposed demand, we expect that the opportunity will be allocated in accordance with our Investment Adviser’s pre-transaction determination. Where there is an insufficient amount of an investment opportunity to satisfy us and other accounts sponsored or managed by our Investment Adviser or its affiliates, the allocation policy further provides that, except as may otherwise be provided by the Exemptive Relief Order, allocations among us and such other accounts will generally be made pro rata based on the amount that each such party would have invested if sufficient securities or loan amounts were available. However, we can offer no assurance that investment opportunities will be allocated to us fairly or equitably in the short-term or over time.
The Exemptive Relief Order permits greater flexibility to negotiate the terms of co-investments and requires our board of directors to determine that it would be advantageous for us to co-invest with other accounts sponsored or managed by our Investment Adviser or its affiliates in a manner consistent with our investment objective, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions, as well as regulatory requirements and other relevant factors. See “Related Party Transactions and Certain Relationships.” We cannot assure you, however, that we will continue to develop opportunities that comply with such limitations.
In situations where co-investment with other accounts managed by our Investment Adviser or its affiliates is not permitted or appropriate, H.I.G. Capital and our Investment Adviser will need to decide which client will proceed with the investment. Our Investment Adviser’s allocation policy provides, in such
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circumstances, for investments to be allocated on a rotational basis to assure that all clients of our Investment Adviser and its affiliates have fair and equitable access to such investment opportunities. Moreover, except in certain circumstances, we will be unable to invest in any issuer in which a fund managed by our Investment Adviser or its affiliates has previously invested. Similar restrictions limit our ability to transact business with our officers or directors or their affiliates. These restrictions may limit the scope of investment opportunities that would otherwise be available to us.
Our portfolio investments will be recorded at fair value as determined in good faith by our board of directors. As a result, there will be uncertainty as to the value of our portfolio investments.
Many of our portfolio investments will take the form of securities that are not publicly traded. The fair value of securities and other investments that are not publicly traded may not be readily determinable, and we value these securities at fair value as determined in good faith by our board of directors, including to reflect significant events affecting the value of our securities. As discussed in more detail under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Policies,” all of our investments (other than cash and cash equivalents) are classified as Level 3 under Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, Accounting Standards Codification, or ASC, Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures, or ASC Topic 820. This means that our portfolio valuations are based on unobservable inputs and our own assumptions about how market participants would price the asset or liability in question. Inputs into the determination of fair value of our portfolio investments require significant management judgment or estimation. Even if observable market data are available, such information may be the result of consensus pricing information or broker quotes, which include a disclaimer that the broker would not be held to such a price in an actual transaction. Consensus pricing is a methodology for the determination of fair value based on quotations from market makers. These quotations include a disclaimer that the market maker would not be held to such a price in an actual transaction. The non-binding nature of consensus pricing and/or quotes accompanied by disclaimers materially reduces the reliability of such information.
We have retained the services of several independent service providers to periodically review the valuation of securities for which there is no market guided price or that are thinly traded. The types of factors that the board of directors may take into account in determining the fair value of our investments generally include, as appropriate, comparison to publicly traded securities, including such factors as yield, maturity and measures of credit quality, the enterprise value of a portfolio company, 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 and other relevant factors. Because such valuations, and particularly valuations of private securities and private companies, are inherently uncertain, may fluctuate over short periods of time and may be based on estimates, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would have been used if a ready market for these securities existed. In addition, the determination of fair value and thus the amount of unrealized losses we may incur in any year, is, to a degree, subjective, in that it is based on unobservable inputs and certain assumptions. Our NAV 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.
We adjust quarterly the valuation of our portfolio to reflect our board of directors’ determination of the fair value of each investment in our portfolio. Any changes in fair value are recorded in our consolidated statements of operations as net change in unrealized appreciation or depreciation.
The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business.
We generally make investments in private companies. Substantially all of these investments are subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or are otherwise less liquid than publicly traded securities. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if the need arises. 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 have previously recorded our investments. In addition, we may face other restrictions on our ability to liquidate an investment in a portfolio company if we have material non-public information regarding such portfolio company.
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Price declines and illiquidity in the corporate debt markets may adversely affect the fair value of our portfolio investments, reducing our NAV 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 value as determined in good faith by our board of directors under our valuation policy and process. 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:

a comparison of the portfolio company’s securities to publicly traded securities;

the enterprise value of the portfolio company;

the nature and realizable value of any collateral;

the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings;

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. We record decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments as unrealized depreciation. Declines in prices and liquidity in the corporate debt markets may result in significant net unrealized depreciation in our portfolio. The effect of all of these factors on our portfolio may reduce our NAV by increasing net unrealized depreciation in our portfolio, and therefore creating a challenging environment in which to raise debt and equity capital. As a business development company, we are generally not able to issue additional shares of common stock at a price less than NAV without first obtaining approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. Depending on market conditions, we could incur substantial realized losses and may suffer additional unrealized losses in future periods, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly results.
We could experience fluctuations in our quarterly operating results due to a number of factors, including the interest rate payable on the debt securities and loans 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.
Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations may adversely affect our business or cause us to alter our business strategy.
We and our portfolio companies are subject to regulation at the local, state and federal level. We are also subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations and are subject to judicial and administrative decisions, as well as interpretations or directives from the U.S. presidential administration and others in the executive branch, that affect our operations, including maximum interest rates, fees and other charges, disclosures to portfolio companies, the terms of secured transactions, collection and foreclosure proceedings and other trade practices. If these laws, regulations or decisions change, or if we expand our business into additional jurisdictions, we may have to incur significant expenses in order to comply or we might have to restrict our operations. New legislation may be enacted or new interpretations, rulings or regulations could be adopted, including those governing the types of investments we or our portfolio companies are permitted to make, any of which could harm us and our stockholders, potentially with retroactive effect.
In particular, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, and related implemented regulations impact many aspects of the financial services industry. The effects of the Dodd-Frank Act on the financial services industry will depend, in large part, upon the scope of such regulations and the extent to which regulators exercise the authority granted to them. The U.S. presidential administration and certain members of Congress have amended and repealed portions of the Dodd-Frank
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Act, which may create regulatory uncertainty in the near term. While the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on us and our portfolio companies is subject to continuing uncertainty, the Dodd-Frank Act, including the implementing regulations and the interpretation of those rules, and potential repeals thereof, along with other legislative and regulatory proposals directed at the financial services industry that are proposed or pending in the U.S. Congress, may negatively impact the operations, cash flows or financial condition of us or our portfolio companies, impose additional costs on us or our portfolio companies, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or our portfolio companies or otherwise adversely affect our business or the business of our portfolio companies.
In that regard, significant tax reform legislation (commonly referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”) was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanently reduced the maximum federal corporate income tax rate, reduced the maximum individual income tax rate (effective for taxable years 2018 through 2025), restricted the deductibility of business interest expense, changed the rules regarding the calculation of net operating loss deductions that may be used to offset taxable income, expanded the circumstances in which a foreign corporation will be treated as a “controlled foreign corporation” and, under certain circumstances, required accrual method taxpayers to recognize income for U.S. federal income tax purposes no later than the income is taken into account as revenue in an applicable financial statement. The effects of the various provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act listed above on the respective tax positions of us, our stockholders and our portfolio companies may be material and depend on the factual circumstances of each, over time. Prospective investors are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the effects of the new legislation on an investment in us. If we do not comply with applicable laws and regulations, we could lose any licenses that we then hold for the conduct of our business and may be subject to civil fines and criminal penalties.
Additionally, changes to or repeal of the laws and regulations governing our operations related to permitted investments may cause us to alter our investment strategy in order to avail ourselves of new or different opportunities. Such changes could result in material differences to the strategies and plans set forth in this annual report on Form 10-K and may shift our investment focus from the areas of expertise of our Investment Adviser to other types of investments in which our Investment Adviser may have little or no expertise or experience. Any such changes, if they occur, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.
Our board of directors may change our investment objective, operating policies and strategies without prior notice or stockholder approval.
Our board of directors has the authority to modify or waive certain of our operating policies and strategies without prior notice and without stockholder approval (except as required by the 1940 Act). However, absent stockholder approval, we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as, a business development company. We cannot predict the effect that any changes to our current operating policies and strategies would have on our business, operating results and value of our stock. Nevertheless, the effects of any such changes may adversely affect our business and impact our ability to make distributions.
Additionally, changes to the laws and regulations governing our operations, including those associated with RICs, may cause us to alter our investment strategy in order to avail ourselves of new or different opportunities or result in the imposition of corporate-level taxes on us. Such changes could result in material differences to our strategies and plans and may shift our investment focus from the areas of expertise of WhiteHorse Advisers to other types of investments in which WhiteHorse Advisers may have little or no expertise or experience. Any such changes, if they occur, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment. If we invest in commodity interests in the future, WhiteHorse Advisers may determine not to use investment strategies that trigger additional regulation by the CFTC or may determine to operate subject to CFTC regulation, if applicable. If we or WhiteHorse Advisers were to operate subject to CFTC regulation, we may incur additional expenses and would be subject to additional regulation.
In addition, certain regulations applicable to debt securitizations implementing credit risk retention requirements that have taken effect or will take effect in both the United States and in the European Union may adversely affect certain amendments to or new issuances by the Credit Facility and may adversely
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affect or prevent us from entering into any future securitization transaction. The impact of these risk retention rules on the loan securitization market are uncertain, and such rules may cause an increase in our cost of funds under or may prevent us from completing any future securitization transactions or certain amendments to or new issuances by our existing debt securitizations.
Over the last several years, there also has been an increase in regulatory attention to the extension of credit outside of the traditional banking sector, raising the possibility that some portion of the non-bank financial sector will be subject to new regulation. While it cannot be known at this time whether any regulation will be implemented or what form it will take, increased regulation of no-bank credit extension could negatively impact our operations, cash flows or financial condition, impose additional costs on us, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Provisions of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, the Credit Facility, the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse effect on the price of our common stock and the rights of our common stockholders.
The General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, or the DGCL, contains provisions that may discourage, delay or make more difficult a change in control of us or the removal of our directors. Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that limit liability and provide for indemnification of our directors and officers. These provisions and others also may have the effect of deterring hostile takeovers or delaying changes in control or management. We are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, the application of which is subject to any applicable requirements of the 1940 Act. This section generally prohibits us from engaging in mergers and other business combinations with stockholders that beneficially own 15% or more of our voting stock, or with their affiliates, unless our directors or stockholders approve the business combination in the prescribed manner. Our board of directors may adopt a resolution exempting from Section 203 of the DGCL any business combination between us and any other person, subject to prior approval of such business combination by our board of directors, including approval by a majority of our directors who are not “interested persons.” If the resolution exempting business combinations is repealed or our board of directors does not approve a business combination, Section 203 of the DGCL may discourage third parties from trying to acquire control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating such an offer.
We have also adopted measures that may make it difficult for a third party to obtain control of us, including provisions of our certificate of incorporation classifying our board of directors in three classes serving staggered three-year terms, and provisions of our certificate of incorporation authorizing our board of directors to classify or reclassify shares of our preferred stock in one or more classes or series and to cause the issuance of additional shares of our stock. These provisions, as well as other provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, may delay, deter or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders. In addition, if we issue preferred stock, such securities would rank “senior” to common stock in our capital structure, resulting in preferred stockholders having separate voting rights, dividend and liquidation rights, and possibly other rights, preferences or privileges more favorable than those granted to holders of our common stock.
If we or one of our affiliates approved by the Lender is no longer the portfolio manager under the Credit Facility or if certain change of control events occur, then an event of default will occur under the Credit Facility which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. A change of control under the Credit Facility occurs if  (1) we or our affiliates, collectively, (i) cease to possess, directly or indirectly, the right to elect or appoint managers that at all times have a majority of the votes of the board of managers (or similar governing body) of WhiteHorse Credit or to direct the management policies and decisions of WhiteHorse Credit or (ii) cease, directly or indirectly, to own and control legally and beneficially all of the equity interests of WhiteHorse Credit or (2) WhiteHorse Advisers or its affiliates, collectively, cease to be our investment adviser. The occurrence of an event of default could result in us being unable to make distributions to our stockholders sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, or at all, terminates the reinvestment period if then in effect, permits the facility agent on behalf of the Lender to take over management of WhiteHorse Credit’s portfolio and to direct the liquidation of its assets, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business,
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financial condition and results of operations. For a description of the effects of a change in control event under our Note Purchase Agreement, see “Risks Relating to our Other Indebtedness — We may not be able to prepay the Private Notes upon a change in control.”
Our Investment Adviser can resign on 60 days’ notice, and we may not be able to find a suitable replacement within that time, resulting in a disruption in our operations that could adversely affect our financial condition, business and results of operations.
Our Investment Adviser has the right, under the Investment Advisory Agreement, to resign at any time upon not less than 60 days’ written notice, whether we have found a replacement or not. If our Investment Adviser resigns, we may not be able to find a new investment adviser or hire internal management with similar expertise and ability to provide the same or equivalent services on acceptable terms within 60 days, or at all. If we are unable to do so quickly, our operations are likely to experience a disruption, our financial condition, business and results of operations as well as our ability to pay distributions are likely to be adversely affected and the market price of our shares may decline. In addition, the coordination of our internal management and investment activities is likely to suffer if we are unable to identify and reach an agreement with a single institution or group of executives having the expertise possessed by our Investment Adviser and its affiliates. Even if we are able to retain comparable management, whether internal or external, the integration of such management and their lack of familiarity with our investment objective may result in additional costs and time delays that may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our Administrator can resign on 60 days’ notice, and we may not be able to find a suitable replacement within that time, resulting in a disruption in our operations that could adversely affect our financial condition, business and results of operations.
Our Administrator has the right, under the Administration Agreement, to resign at any time upon 60 days’ notice, whether we have found a replacement or not. If our Administrator resigns, we may not be able to find a new administrator or hire internal management with similar expertise and ability to provide the same or equivalent services on acceptable terms within 60 days, or at all. If we are unable to do so quickly, our operations are likely to experience a disruption, our financial condition, business and results of operations as well as our ability to pay distributions are likely to be adversely affected and the market price of our shares may decline. In addition, the coordination of our internal management and administrative activities is likely to suffer if we are unable to identify and reach an agreement with a service provider or individuals with the expertise possessed by our Administrator. Even if we are able to retain a comparable service provider or individuals to perform such services, whether internal or external, their integration into our business and lack of familiarity with our operations may result in additional costs and time delays that may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Efforts to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act involve significant expenditures, and non-compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may adversely affect us and the market price of our common stock.
Under current SEC rules, we are required to report on our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, or the Sarbanes Oxley Act, and related rules and regulations of the SEC. Our independent registered public accounting firm must audit this report, pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We are required to review on an annual basis our internal control over financial reporting, and on a quarterly and annual basis to evaluate and disclose changes in our internal control over financial reporting.
As a result, we incur additional expenses that may negatively impact our financial performance and our ability to make distributions. This process also results in a diversion of management’s time and attention. We may not be able to ensure that the process is effective or that our internal control over financial reporting is or will be effective in a timely manner. In the event that we are unable to maintain or achieve compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related rules, we and the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.
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Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents may adversely affect our business or those of our portfolio companies by causing a disruption to our operations, a compromise or corruption of confidential information and/or damage to business relationships, or those of our portfolio companies, all of which could negatively impact our business, results of operations or financial condition.
A cyber incident is considered to be any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity or availability of our information resources. These incidents may be an intentional attack or an unintentional event and could involve gaining unauthorized access to, use, alteration or destruction of our information systems for purposes of misappropriating assets, obtaining ransom payments, stealing confidential information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption, or may involve phishing. The result of these incidents may include disrupted operations, misstated or unreliable financial data, liability for stolen information, misappropriation of assets, increased cybersecurity protection and insurance costs, litigation and damage to our business relationships. This could result in significant losses, reputational damage, litigation, regulatory fines or penalties, or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, we may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify our protective measures and to investigate and remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures arising from operational and security risks. The costs related to cybersecurity incidents may not be fully insured or indemnified. As our and our portfolio companies’ reliance on technology has increased, so have the risks posed to our information systems, both internal and those provided by our Investment Adviser and third-party service providers, and the information systems of our portfolio companies. We, our Investment Adviser and its affiliates have implemented processes, procedures and internal controls to help mitigate cybersecurity risks and cyber intrusions, but these measures, as well as our increased awareness of the nature and extent of a risk of a cyber incident, may be ineffective and do not guarantee that a cyber incident will not occur or that our financial results, operations or confidential information will not be negatively impacted by such an incident.
Third parties with which we do business (including, but not limited to, service providers, such as accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators, and the issuers of securities in which we invest) may also be sources or targets of cybersecurity or other technological risks. We outsource certain functions and these relationships allow for the storage and processing of our information and assets, as well as certain investor, counterparty, employee and borrower information. While we engage in actions to reduce our exposure resulting from outsourcing, we cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by these third parties and ongoing threats may result in unauthorized access, loss, exposure or destruction of data, or other cybersecurity incidents, with increased costs and other consequences, including those described above. Privacy and information security laws and regulation changes, and compliance with those changes, may also result in cost increases due to system changes and the development of new administrative processes.
We are highly dependent on information systems and systems failures or interruption could significantly disrupt our business, which may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay dividends and other distributions.
We depend on the communications and information systems of our Investment Adviser and its affiliates as well as certain third-party service providers. As our reliance on these systems has increased, so have the risks posed to these communications and information systems. Any failure or interruption in these systems, including due to (i) electrical or telecommunication outages, (ii) natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes, (iii) disease pandemics, (iv) events arising from local or larger state political or social matters, including terrorist activities, and (v) cyberattacks could cause disruptions in our activities.
We and our Investment Adviser could be the target of litigation.
We and WhiteHorse Advisers could become the target of securities class action litigation or other similar claims if our common stock price fluctuates significantly or for other reasons. The proceedings could continue without resolution for long periods of time and the outcome of any such proceedings could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and/or operating results. Any litigation or other similar claims could consume substantial amounts of our management’s time and attention, and that time and attention and the devotion of associated resources could, at times, be disproportionate to the amounts
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at stake. Litigation and other claims are subject to inherent uncertainties, and a material adverse impact on our financial statements could occur for the period in which the effect of an unfavorable final outcome in litigation or other similar claims becomes probable and reasonably estimable. In addition, we could incur expenses associated with defending ourselves against litigation and other similar claims, and these expenses could be material to our earnings in future periods.
We are subject to risks related to corporate social responsibility.
There is increased public scrutiny related to environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) activities of public companies. We risk damage to our brand and reputation if we do not act responsibly in a number of key areas, including diversity and inclusion, environmental stewardship, support for local communities, corporate governance and transparency and considering ESG factors in our investment processes. Adverse incidents with respect to ESG activities could impact the value of our brand, the cost of our operations and relationships with investors, all of which could negatively affect our business and results of operations. Additionally, new regulatory initiatives related to ESG could adversely affect our business.
Risks Relating to our Investments
Our investments may be risky, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
We invest primarily in (1) first lien senior secured loans, (2) second lien senior secured loans, (3) “one-stop” or “unitranche” senior secured loans, (4) mezzanine loans and (5) to a lesser extent, selected equity co-investments in lower middle market companies. We invest primarily in securities that are rated below investment grade by rating agencies or that may be rated below investment grade if they were so rated. Below investment grade securities, which are often referred to as “junk” bonds, are viewed as speculative investments because of concerns with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal.
Secured Loans.   When we extend first lien senior secured, second lien senior secured and unitranche loans, we generally take a security interest in the available assets of these portfolio companies, including the equity interests of their subsidiaries. We expect this security interest to help mitigate the risk that we will not be repaid. However, 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 the portfolio company to raise additional capital. Also, in the case of first lien senior secured loans, our lien may be subordinated to claims of other creditors and, in the case of second lien senior secured loans, our lien will be subordinated to claims of certain other creditors. In addition, 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. 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 at all, or that we will be able to collect on the loan should we be forced to enforce our remedies.
Mezzanine Loans.   Our mezzanine investments generally are subordinated to senior loans and will generally be unsecured. This may result in an above average amount of risk and volatility or a loss of principal. These investments may involve additional risks that could adversely affect our investment returns. To the extent interest payments associated with such debt are deferred, such debt may be subject to greater fluctuations in valuations, and such debt could subject us and our stockholders to non-cash income as described above under “Risks Relating to Our Business and Structure — We may have difficulty paying our required distributions if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.” Since, generally, we will not receive any substantial repayments of principal prior to the maturity of our mezzanine debt investments, such investments are riskier than amortizing loans.
Equity Investments.   We may make selected equity investments. Our goal is ultimately to dispose of direct equity investments (and equity received upon exercising warrants) and realize gains upon our disposition of such interests. 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.
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Warrants.   When we invest in first lien, second lien, unitranche or mezzanine loans, we may acquire warrants to purchase equity securities. We may not be able to sell warrants we receive from borrowers, or the equity securities (including those received upon exercise of warrants) for a significant period of time due to legal or contractual restrictions on resale or the absence of a liquid secondary market. The value of the warrants that we receive is dependent on the value of the equity securities for which the warrants can be exercised. If the value of the equity securities underlying a warrant does not increase above the exercise price during the life of the warrant, the warrant may be permitted to expire unexercised and the warrant would then have no value.
We are subject to risks associated with lower middle market companies.
Investing in lower middle market companies involves a number of significant risks, including:

these companies may have limited financial resources and may be unable to meet their obligations under their debt securities that we hold, which may be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of any collateral and a reduction in the likelihood of us realizing any guarantees we may have obtained in connection with our investment;

they typically have shorter operating histories, narrower product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and changing market conditions, as well as general economic downturns;

they are more likely to depend on the management talents and efforts of a small group of persons; therefore, the death, disability, resignation or termination of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on our portfolio company and, in turn, on us;

generally little public information exists about these companies, and we are required to rely on our Investment Adviser to obtain adequate information to evaluate the potential returns from investing in these companies;

they generally have less predictable operating results, may from time to time be parties to litigation, may be engaged in rapidly changing businesses with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, and may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position. In addition, our executive officers, directors and our Investment Adviser may, in the ordinary course of business, be named as defendants in litigation arising from our investments in the portfolio companies; and

they may have difficulty accessing the capital markets to meet future capital needs, which may limit their ability to grow or to repay their outstanding indebtedness upon maturity.
We are a non-diversified investment company within the meaning of the 1940 Act, and therefore we are not limited by the 1940 Act with respect to the proportion of our assets that may be invested in securities of a single issuer.
We are classified as a non-diversified investment company within the meaning of the 1940 Act, which means that we are not limited by the 1940 Act with respect to the proportion of our assets that we may invest in securities of a single issuer. To the extent that we assume large positions in the securities of a small number of issuers, our NAV may fluctuate to a greater extent than that of a diversified investment company as a result of changes in the financial condition or the market’s assessment of the issuer. We may also be more susceptible to any single economic or regulatory occurrence than a diversified investment company. Beyond the asset diversification requirements associated with our qualification as a RIC under the Code and the requirements under the documents governing the Credit Facility or other agreements, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification, and our investments are and could be concentrated in relatively few portfolio companies.
Our portfolio may be concentrated in a limited number of portfolio companies and industries, which would subject us to a risk of significant loss if any of these companies defaults on its obligations under any of its debt instruments or if there is a downturn in a particular industry.
Our portfolio may be concentrated in a limited number of portfolio companies and industries. As a result, the aggregate returns we realize may be significantly and adversely affected if a small number of
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investments perform poorly or if we need to write down the value of any one investment. Additionally, while we are not targeting any specific industries, our investments may be concentrated in relatively few industries. As a result, a downturn in any particular industry in which we are invested could also significantly impact the aggregate returns we realize.
Like many businesses in Puerto Rico, our portfolio company Grupo HIMA San Pablo, Inc., or Grupo HIMA, has been adversely affected by Puerto Rico’s troubled economy, including high unemployment, population decline and high government debt. Grupo HIMA’s management engaged an adviser to explore financing and strategic options designed to improve its finances and operations. We are monitoring the status of Grupo HIMA’s operations and the impact of this strategic review on our investments in senior secured loans issued by Grupo HIMA. As of December 31, 2019, the fair value of our investment in senior secured loans was approximately $14.8 million.
Our investments in the health care sector face considerable uncertainties including substantial regulatory challenges.
As of December 31, 2019, our investments in portfolio companies that operate in the health care sector represented 7.5% of our total portfolio, at fair value. Our investments in the health care sector are subject to substantial risks, including the risk that the laws and regulations governing the business of health care companies, and interpretations thereof, may change frequently. Substantial latitude is given to the agencies administering those laws and regulations. Current or future laws and regulations could force our portfolio companies engaged in health care, including Grupo HIMA, to change their policies related to how they operate, restrict revenue, change costs, change reserve levels and change business practices.
Companies engaged in health care often must obtain and maintain regulatory approvals to market certain products, change prices for certain regulated products and consummate some acquisitions and divestitures. Delays in obtaining or failing to obtain or maintain such approvals could reduce revenue or increase costs. Local, state and federal policy changes, such as the government’s expanding role in health care and federal health care reform initiatives involving alternative assessments and tax increases specific to the health care industry or products, could fundamentally change the dynamics of the health care industry. In addition, insurance company and other reimbursement rates may be subject to change, often with little notice, and decreases in such rates could materially adversely affect the value of the health care companies in our portfolio.
We may hold the debt securities and loans of leveraged companies that may, due to the significant volatility of such companies, enter into bankruptcy proceedings.
Leveraged companies may experience bankruptcy or similar financial distress. The bankruptcy process has a number of significant inherent risks. Many events in a bankruptcy proceeding are the product of contested matters and adversary proceedings and are beyond the control of the creditors. A bankruptcy filing by a portfolio company may adversely and permanently affect such portfolio company. If the proceeding is converted to a liquidation, the value of the issuer may not equal the liquidation value that was believed to exist at the time of our investment. The duration of a bankruptcy proceeding is also difficult to predict, and a creditor’s return on investment can be adversely affected by delays until a plan of reorganization or liquidation ultimately becomes effective. The administrative costs in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding are frequently high and would be paid out of the debtor’s estate prior to any return to creditors. Because the standards for classification of claims under bankruptcy law are vague, our influence with respect to the class of securities or other obligations we own may be lost by increases in the number and amount of claims in the same class or by different classification and treatment. In the early stages of the bankruptcy process, it is often difficult to estimate the extent of, or even to identify, any contingent claims that might be made. In addition, certain claims that have priority by law (for example, claims for taxes) may be substantial, eroding the value of any recovery by holders of other securities of the bankrupt entity.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of our investments and the extent of our involvement in the management of a portfolio company, upon the bankruptcy of a portfolio company, a bankruptcy court may recharacterize our debt investments as equity interests and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors. This could occur even though we may have structured our investment as senior debt.
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Our portfolio companies may experience financial distress, and our investments in such portfolio companies if they are restructured.
Our portfolio companies may experience financial distress from time to time. The debt investments of these companies may not produce income, may require us to bear certain expenses to protect our investment and may subject us to uncertainty as to when, in what manner and for what value such distressed debt will eventually be satisfied, including through liquidation, reorganization or bankruptcy. If an exchange offer is made or plan of reorganization is adopted with respect to the debt securities we currently hold, there can be no assurance that the securities or other assets received by us in connection with such exchange offer or plan of reorganization will have a value or income potential similar to what we anticipated when our original investment was made or even at the time of restructuring. In addition, we may receive equity securities in exchange for the debt investment that we currently hold, which may require significantly more of our management’s time and attention or carry restrictions on their disposition.
Our portfolio companies may be unable to repay or refinance outstanding principal on their loans at or prior to maturity, and rising interest rates may make it more difficult for portfolio companies to make periodic payments on their loans.
Our portfolio companies may be unable to repay or refinance outstanding principal on their loans at or prior to maturity. This risk and the risk of default is increased to the extent that the loan documents do not require the portfolio companies to pay down the outstanding principal of such debt prior to maturity. In addition, if general interest rates rise, there is a risk that our portfolio companies will be unable to pay escalating interest amounts, which could result in a default under their loan documents with us. Rising interest rates could also cause portfolio companies to shift cash from other productive uses to the payment of interest, which may have a material adverse effect on their business and operations and could, over time, lead to increased defaults. Any failure of one or more portfolio companies to repay or refinance its debt at or prior to maturity or the inability of one or more portfolio companies to make ongoing payments following an increase in contractual interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, rising interest rates could also cause portfolio companies to refinance into fixed interest rate loans, which may adversely impact our selections to invest in stronger portfolio companies.
Economic recessions or downturns could impair our portfolio companies and harm our operating results.
Our portfolio companies are susceptible to economic slowdowns or 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 portfolio is likely to decrease during these 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. These events could prevent us from increasing our investments and harm our operating results, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition.
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 its loans and foreclosure on its assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize our 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, lenders in certain cases can be subject to lender liability claims for actions taken by them when they become too involved in the borrower’s business or exercise control over a borrower. It is possible that we could become subject to a lender’s liability claim, including as a result of actions taken if we render significant managerial assistance to the borrower. Furthermore, if one of our portfolio companies were to file for bankruptcy protection, even though we may have structured our investment as senior secured debt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we provided managerial assistance to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might re-characterize our debt holding and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to claims of other creditors.
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We may be subject to risks associated with syndicated loans.
From time to time, we may acquire interests in syndicated loans. Under the documentation for syndicated loans, a financial institution or other entity typically is designated as the administrative agent and/or collateral agent. This agent is granted a lien on any collateral on behalf of the other lenders and distributes payments on the indebtedness as they are received. The agent is the party responsible for administering and enforcing the loan and generally may take actions only in accordance with the instructions of a majority or two-thirds in commitments and/or principal amount of the associated indebtedness. In most cases, we do not expect to hold a sufficient amount of the indebtedness to be able to compel any actions by the agent. Consequently, we would only be able to direct such actions if instructions from us were made in conjunction with other holders of associated indebtedness that together with us compose the requisite percentage of the related indebtedness then entitled to take action. Conversely, if holders of the required amount of the associated indebtedness other than us desire to take certain actions, such actions may be taken even if we did not support such actions. Furthermore, if an investment is subordinated to one or more senior loans made to the applicable obligor, our ability to exercise such rights may be subordinated to the exercise of such rights by the senior lenders. Accordingly, we may be precluded from directing such actions unless we act together with other holders of the indebtedness. If we are unable to direct such actions, we cannot assure you that the actions taken will be in our best interests.
If an investment is a syndicated revolving loan or delayed drawdown loan, other lenders may fail to satisfy their full contractual funding commitments for such loan, which could create a breach of contract, result in a lawsuit by the obligor against the lenders and adversely affect the fair market value, or FMV, of our investment.
There is a risk that a loan agent in respect of one of our loans may become bankrupt or insolvent. Such an event would delay, and possibly impair, any enforcement actions undertaken by holders of the associated indebtedness, including attempts to realize upon the collateral securing the associated indebtedness and/or direct the agent to take actions against the related obligor or the collateral securing the associated indebtedness and actions to realize on proceeds of payments made by obligors that are in the possession or control of any other financial institution. In addition, we may be unable to remove the agent in circumstances in which removal would be in our best interests. Moreover, agented loans typically allow for the agent to resign with certain advance notice.
We may not realize gains from our equity investments.
When we invest in loans, we may also invest in the equity securities of the borrower or acquire warrants or other equity securities as well. In addition, we may invest directly in the equity securities of portfolio companies. Our goal is ultimately to dispose of such equity interests and realize gains upon our disposition of such interests. However, the equity interests we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not realize gains from our equity interests, and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of such equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses we experience.
Our failure to make follow-on investments in our portfolio companies could impair the value of our portfolio, and our ability to make follow-on investments in certain portfolio companies may be restricted.
Following an initial investment in a portfolio company, we may make additional investments in that portfolio company as “follow-on” investments, in order to:

increase or maintain in whole or in part our equity ownership percentage;

exercise warrants, options or convertible securities that we acquired in the original or a subsequent financing; or

attempt to preserve or enhance the value of our investment.
We have the discretion to make any follow-on investments, subject to the availability of capital resources, the limitations of the 1940 Act, the requirements associated with our status as a RIC and contractual requirements imposed on us under the Credit Facility or otherwise. We may elect not to make follow-on investments or otherwise lack sufficient funds to make those investments. The failure to make
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follow-on investments may, in some circumstances, jeopardize the continued viability of a portfolio company and our initial investment, or may result in a missed opportunity for us to increase our participation in a successful portfolio company. Even if we have sufficient capital to make a desired follow-on investment, we may elect not to make a follow-on investment because we do not want to increase our exposure to the portfolio company, because we prefer other opportunities or because we are inhibited by compliance with business development company requirements, our contractual requirements or the desire to maintain our tax status.
Because we generally do not hold controlling equity interests in our portfolio companies, we will not be in a position to exercise control over our portfolio companies or to prevent decisions by management of our portfolio companies that could decrease the value of our investments.
We do not currently anticipate taking controlling equity positions in our portfolio companies. In addition, we may not be in a position to control any portfolio company by investing in its debt securities or loans. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company may make business decisions with which we disagree, and the stockholders and management of a portfolio company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that are adverse to our interests. Due to the lack of liquidity for the debt and equity investments that we typically hold in our portfolio companies, we may not be able to dispose of our investments in the event we disagree with the actions of a portfolio company, and we may therefore suffer a decrease in the value of our investments.
Defaults by our portfolio companies will harm our operating results.
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 its loans and foreclosure on its assets. This could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize such portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt or equity securities that we hold. We may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms, which may include the waiver of certain financial covenants, with a defaulting portfolio company. Any such diversion of cash flow or any event of default could result in our being unable to make distributions to our stockholders in amounts sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, or at all, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our portfolio companies may incur debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies.
We generally intend to invest a portion of our capital in first lien and second lien, unitranche loans and, to a lesser extent in mezzanine loans and, equity securities of U.S. lower middle market companies. The portfolio companies usually have, or may be permitted to incur, other debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, the debt securities in which we invest. By their terms, such debt instruments may provide that the holders 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 senior creditors, the portfolio company may not have sufficient assets to use for repaying its obligation to us in full, or at all. In the case of debt ranking equally with debt securities in which we invest, we would have to share any distributions on an equal and ratable basis with other creditors holding such debt in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of the relevant portfolio company.
Additionally, certain loans that we make to portfolio companies may be secured on a second-priority basis by the same collateral securing senior secured debt of such companies. The first-priority liens on the collateral secure the portfolio company’s obligations under any outstanding senior debt and may secure certain other future debt that may be permitted to be incurred by the portfolio company under the agreements governing the loans. The holders of obligations secured by first-priority liens on the collateral will generally control the liquidation of, and be entitled to receive proceeds from, any realization of the collateral to repay their obligations in full before us.
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In addition, the value of the collateral in the event of liquidation depends on market and economic conditions, the availability of buyers and other factors. There can be no assurances that the proceeds, if any, from sales of all of the collateral would be sufficient to satisfy the loan obligations secured by the second-priority liens after payment in full of all obligations secured by the first-priority liens on the collateral. If such proceeds were not sufficient to repay amounts outstanding under the loan obligations secured by the second-priority liens, then we, to the extent not repaid from the proceeds of the sale of the collateral, only have an unsecured claim against the portfolio company’s remaining assets, if any.
The rights we may have with respect to the collateral securing the loans we make to our portfolio companies with senior debt outstanding may also be limited pursuant to the terms of one or more inter-creditor agreements that we enter into with the holders of such senior debt. Under a typical inter-creditor agreement, at any time that obligations that have the benefit of the first-priority liens are outstanding, any of the following actions that may be taken in respect of the collateral will be at the direction of the holders of the obligations secured by the first-priority liens:

the ability to cause the commencement of enforcement proceedings against the collateral;

the ability to control the conduct of such proceedings;

the approval of amendments to collateral documents;

releases of liens on the collateral; and

waivers of past defaults under collateral documents.
We may not have the ability to control or direct such actions, even if our rights are adversely affected. We may also make unsecured loans to portfolio companies, meaning that such loans will not benefit from any security interest over the assets of such companies. Liens on such portfolio companies’ assets, if any, will secure the portfolio company’s obligations under its outstanding secured debt and may secure certain future debt that is permitted to be incurred by the portfolio company under its secured loan agreements. The holders of obligations secured by such liens will generally control the liquidation of, and be entitled to receive proceeds from, any realization of such collateral to repay their obligations in full before us. In addition, the value of such collateral in the event of liquidation will depend on market and economic conditions, the availability of buyers and other factors. There can be no assurance that the proceeds, if any, from sales of such collateral would be sufficient to satisfy our unsecured obligations after payment in full of all secured loan obligations. If such proceeds were not sufficient to repay the outstanding secured loan obligations, then our unsecured claims would rank equally with the unpaid portion of such secured creditors’ claims against the portfolio company’s remaining assets, if any.
Our Investment Adviser’s liability is limited under the Investment Advisory Agreement, and we have agreed to indemnify our Investment Adviser against certain liabilities, which may lead our Investment Adviser to act in a riskier manner on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account.
Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, our Investment Adviser does not assume any responsibility to us, including other than to render the services called for under those agreements, and it is not responsible for any action of our board of directors in following or declining to follow our Investment Adviser’s advice or recommendations. Our Investment Adviser maintains a contractual and fiduciary relationship with us. Under the terms of the Investment Advisory Agreement, our Investment Adviser, its officers, members, personnel, agents, any person controlling or controlled by our Investment Adviser are not liable to us, any subsidiary of ours, our directors, our stockholders or any subsidiary’s stockholders or partners for acts or omissions performed in accordance with and pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement, except those resulting from acts constituting gross negligence, willful misconduct, bad faith or reckless disregard of our Investment Adviser’s duties under the Investment Advisory Agreement. In addition, we have agreed to indemnify our Investment Adviser and each of its officers, directors, members, managers and employees from and against any claims or liabilities, including reasonable legal fees and other expenses reasonably incurred, arising out of or in connection with our business and operations or any action taken or omitted on our behalf pursuant to authority granted by the Investment Advisory Agreement, except where attributable to gross negligence, willful misconduct, bad faith or reckless disregard
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of such person’s duties under the Investment Advisory Agreement and the sub-collateral management agreement. These protections may lead our Investment Adviser to act in a riskier manner when acting on our behalf than it would when acting for its own account.
Our portfolio companies may prepay loans, which prepayment may reduce our yields if capital returned cannot be invested in transactions with equal or greater expected yields.
The loans in our investment portfolio generally are prepayable at any time, some of which have no premium to par. It is not clear at this time when each loan may be prepaid. Whether a loan is prepaid will depend both on the continued positive performance of the portfolio company and the existence of favorable financing market conditions that allow such company the ability to replace existing financing with less expensive capital. As market conditions change frequently, it is unknown when, and if, this may be possible for each portfolio company. In the case of some of these loans, having the loan prepaid may reduce the achievable yield for us if the capital returned cannot be invested in transactions with equal or greater expected yields, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The disposition of our investments may result in contingent liabilities.
We currently expect that a significant portion of our investments will involve private securities. In connection with the disposition of an investment in private securities, we may be required to make representations about the business and financial affairs of the portfolio company typical of those made in connection with the sale of a business. We may also be required to indemnify the purchasers of such investment to the extent that any such representations turn out to be inaccurate or with respect to certain potential liabilities. These arrangements may result in contingent liabilities that ultimately yield funding obligations that must be satisfied through our return of certain distributions previously made to us.
Investments in securities of foreign companies, if any, may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.
We may make investments 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 United States, 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.
In addition, any investments that we make that are denominated in a foreign currency will be subject to the risk that the value of a particular currency will change in relation to one or more other currencies. Among the factors that may affect currency values are trade balances, the level of short-term interest rates, differences in relative values of similar assets in different currencies, long-term opportunities for investment and capital appreciation, and political developments. We may employ hedging techniques to minimize these risks, but we cannot assure you that we will, in fact, hedge currency risk, or, that if we do, such strategies will be effective.
We may invest through joint ventures, partnerships or other special purpose vehicles and our investments through these vehicles may entail greater risks, and investments in which we have a non-controlling interest may involve risks specific to third-party management of those investments.
We may co-invest with third parties through partnerships, joint ventures or other entities, thereby acquiring jointly-controlled or non-controlling interests in certain investments in conjunction with participation by one or more third parties in such investment. Such joint venture partners or third party managers may include former H.I.G. Capital personnel or associated persons. For example, on January 14, 2019, we entered into an agreement with the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, a public pension fund established under Ohio law, to create WHF STRS Ohio Senior Loan Fund, LLC, a joint venture, which invests primarily in senior secured first and second lien term loans. As co-investors, we may have interests or objectives that are inconsistent with those of the third-party partners or co-venturers. Although
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we may not have full control over these investments and therefore, may have a limited ability to protect its position therein, we expect that we will negotiate appropriate rights to protect our interests. Nevertheless, such investments may involve risks not present in investments where a third party is not involved, including the possibility that a third-party partner or co-venturer may have financial difficulties, resulting in a negative impact on such investment, may have economic or business interests or goals which are inconsistent with ours, or may be in a position to take (or block) action in a manner contrary to the our investment objectives or the increased possibility of default by, diminished liquidity or insolvency of, the third party, due to a sustained or general economic downturn. Third-party partners or co-venturers may opt to liquidate an investment at a time during which such liquidation is not optimal for us. In addition, we may in certain circumstances be liable for the actions of its third-party partners or co-venturers. In those circumstances where such third parties involve a management group, such third parties may receive compensation arrangements relating to such investments, including incentive compensation arrangements.
Risks Relating to the Credit Facility
Our interests in WhiteHorse Credit are subordinated.
We own 100% of the equity interests in WhiteHorse Credit and consolidate the financial statements of WhiteHorse Credit in our consolidated financial statements. We treat the indebtedness of WhiteHorse Credit as our leverage for purposes of compliance with the 1940 Act. Our equity interests in WhiteHorse Credit are subordinated in priority of payment to its obligations to its debt holders and its service providers. All of these persons have claims superior to our claims as equity interest holder in any liquidation of WhiteHorse Credit.
Credit or market value deterioration in our portfolio companies will harm our operating results.
A payment default on a loan to a portfolio company or a default leading to the acceleration of debt of a portfolio company could cause the loan to such portfolio company held by us to become, or to be deemed to be, a defaulted obligation under the Credit Facility. This, in turn, could result in a coverage test under the Credit Facility not being met and the diversion of distributions of assets held by WhiteHorse Credit to pay down debt under the Credit Facility rather than to make distributions. Such a portfolio company default could also lead to an event of default and acceleration under the Credit Facility and liquidation by the related lender of the assets securing the Credit Facility. Any such diversion of cash flow or any event of default could result in our being unable to make distributions to our stockholders in amounts sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, or at all, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may not receive cash from WhiteHorse Credit.
We expect to receive cash from WhiteHorse Credit as distributions on our equity interests in WhiteHorse Credit. We will receive distributions on our equity interests in WhiteHorse Credit only to the extent cash is available and permitted to be distributed under the Credit Facility. WhiteHorse Credit may not receive sufficient cash to make distributions, in which case we would not be entitled to receive distributions from WhiteHorse Credit and, as a result, we would be unable to make distributions to our stockholders in amounts sufficient to maintain our status as a RIC, or at all. Limitations under the Credit Facility will impair our ability to sell investments owned by WhiteHorse Credit, and we may not be able to sell such investments. These limitations include prior satisfaction of certain coverage tests and collateral quality tests, the minimum price at which we may sell such investments and the amount of investments we may sell within a certain timeframe.
Under the Credit Facility, there are two coverage tests that WhiteHorse Credit must meet on specified compliance dates in order to permit WhiteHorse Credit to make new borrowings under the Credit Facility and to make distributions to us in the ordinary course — a borrowing base test and a market value test. The borrowing base test compares, at any given time, the aggregate outstanding amount of all Lender advances under the Credit Facility less the amount of principal proceeds in respect of the collateral on deposit in the accounts to the NAV of the collateral, as set forth in the credit agreement and related documentation. To meet the borrowing base test, this ratio must be less than or equal to 50%, as set forth in the credit
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agreement and related documentation. To meet the market value test, the value of WhiteHorse Credit’s portfolio investments must exceed a minimum of 165% of the aggregate outstanding amount of all Lender advances as set forth in the credit agreement and related documentation. If either of these coverage tests is not met on a compliance date, then WhiteHorse Credit may sell portfolio investments or apply cash until such coverage tests are satisfied. If we fail to receive cash from WhiteHorse Credit, we may be unable to make distributions to our stockholders in amounts sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, or at all.
We may experience an event of default and acceleration under the Credit Facility, which would have a material adverse effect on us.
There are several circumstances under which an event of default may occur under the Credit Facility, some of which relate to the performance of the assets of WhiteHorse Credit or the performance by WhiteHorse Credit of its obligations under the Credit Facility. The Credit Facility also includes customary events of default for credit facilities of this nature, including breaches of representations, warranties or covenants by WhiteHorse Finance or WhiteHorse Credit, the occurrence of a change in control, or failure to maintain certain ratios required under the Credit Facility. The occurrence of an event of default could, among other consequences, (a) prevent us from making distributions to our stockholders sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, or at all, (b) terminate the reinvestment period under the Credit Facility, if it is then in effect, and (c) permit the facility agent to assume the management of WhiteHorse Credit’s portfolio and to direct the liquidation of its assets. Any of these developments could or would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Upon the occurrence of an event of default, the Lender may exercise customary remedies, including declaring all amounts due and payable under the Credit Facility, blocking distributions in respect of the equity of WhiteHorse Credit or selling assets, including selling assets at a lower price than what might otherwise be achieved in an orderly liquidation.
The ability of WhiteHorse Credit to purchase and sell investments is limited.
The Credit Facility restricts the portfolio manager’s ability to purchase and sell investments for WhiteHorse Credit. As a result, the portfolio manager may be unable to purchase or sell investments or take other actions that might be in our best interests, which could impair our performance and result in losses. During the reinvestment period, WhiteHorse Credit will have the ability to borrow funds for the acquisition of investments that meet the eligibility criteria set forth in the Credit Facility. Such funds may be repaid and re-borrowed during the reinvestment period, subject to compliance with the terms of the Credit Facility.
We may lose the ability to manage WhiteHorse Credit even if we continue to own its equity.
If an event of default occurs under the Credit Facility or if we resign or are terminated for cause as portfolio manager under the loan agreement, we may no longer manage the WhiteHorse Credit portfolio investments even though we are required to continue to own the equity interests in WhiteHorse Credit. If an agent for the Lender or the successor portfolio manager does not manage WhiteHorse Credit’s portfolio in the same manner that we would have, our performance may not meet expectations and result in losses.
Risks Relating to our Other Indebtedness
The Private Notes and the 2025 Notes are unsecured and therefore effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we have currently incurred or may incur in the future.
The Private Notes mature on August 7, 2023 and bear interest at an annual rate of 6.00% and the 2025 Notes mature on November 30, 2025 and bear interest at an annual rate of 6.50%. The Private Notes and the 2025 Notes are not secured by any of our assets or any of the assets of our subsidiaries and rank equally in right of payment with all of our existing and future unsubordinated, unsecured senior indebtedness. As a result, the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we or our subsidiaries have currently incurred and may incur in the future (or any indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In any liquidation, dissolution, bankruptcy or other similar
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proceeding, the holders of any of our existing or future secured indebtedness and the secured indebtedness of our subsidiaries may assert rights against the assets pledged to secure that indebtedness in order to receive full payment of their indebtedness before the assets may be used to pay other creditors, including the holders of the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes.
The Private Notes and the 2025 Notes are structurally subordinated to the indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries.
The Private Notes and the 2025 Notes are obligations exclusively of WhiteHorse Finance, Inc. and not of any of our subsidiaries. None of our subsidiaries currently is or acts as a guarantor of the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes, although any subsidiary that guarantees or otherwise becomes liable at any time for any indebtedness under a material credit facility in the future (other than the Credit Facility or any replacement of the Credit Facility) will be required to guarantee the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes. Such guaranty must rank equally in right of payment with all other unsecured and unsubordinated indebtedness of us and our subsidiaries.
Except to the extent we are a creditor with recognized claims against our subsidiaries, all claims of creditors (including holders of preferred stock, if any, of our subsidiaries) will have priority over our equity interests in such subsidiaries (and therefore the claims of our creditors, including holders of the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes) with respect to the assets of such subsidiaries. Even if we are recognized as a creditor of one or more of our subsidiaries, our claims would still be effectively subordinated to any security interests in the assets of any such subsidiary and to any indebtedness or other liabilities of any such subsidiary senior to our claims. Consequently, the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes are structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other liabilities (including trade payables) of our subsidiaries and any subsidiaries that we may in the future acquire or establish. In addition, our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, all of which would be structurally senior to the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes.
We are subject to the risk of an event of default and acceleration under our unsecured debt agreements, which would have a material adverse effect on us.
The Private Notes will mature on August 7, 2023, unless redeemed, purchased or prepaid prior to such date by us or our affiliates in accordance with their terms. The 2025 Notes will mature on November 30, 2025, unless redeemed prior to such date by us or our affiliates in accordance with their terms. There are several circumstances under which an event of default may occur under the debt agreement for the Private Notes or the indenture for the 2025 Notes, such as failure to make scheduled principal or interest payments and certain events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization.
Upon the occurrence of an event of default, our lenders may exercise customary remedies, including declaring all amounts due and payable. Any of these developments would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The indenture for the 2025 Notes contains limited protection for holders of the 2025 Notes.
The indenture for the 2025 Notes offers limited protection to holders of the 2025 Notes. The terms of the applicable indenture for the 2025 Notes do not restrict our or any of our subsidiaries’ ability to engage in, or otherwise be a party to, a variety of corporate transactions, circumstances or events that could have an adverse impact on your investment in the 2025 Notes. In particular, the terms of the applicable indenture, the 2025 Notes do not place any restrictions on our or our subsidiaries’ ability to:

issue securities or otherwise incur additional indebtedness or other obligations, including (1) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be equal in right of payment to the 2025 Notes, (2) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be secured and therefore rank effectively senior in right of payment to the 2025 Notes to the extent of the values of the assets securing such debt, (3) indebtedness of ours that is guaranteed by one or more of our subsidiaries and which therefore would rank structurally senior to the 2025 Notes and (4) securities, indebtedness or other obligations issued or incurred by our subsidiaries that would be senior in right of payment to our equity interests in our subsidiaries and therefore would rank structurally senior in right of
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payment to the 2025 Notes with respect to the assets of our subsidiaries, in each case other than an incurrence of indebtedness or other obligation that would cause a violation of the asset coverage requirement under Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions;

pay dividends on, or purchase or redeem or make any payments in respect of, capital stock or other securities ranking junior in right of payment to the 2025 Notes;

sell assets (other than certain limited restrictions on our ability to consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets);

create liens (including liens on the shares of our subsidiaries) or enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

make investments; or

create restrictions on the payment of dividends or other amounts to us from our subsidiaries.
In addition, the indenture does not require us to offer to purchase the 2025 Notes in connection with a change of control or any other event.
Furthermore, the terms of the indenture for the 2025 Notes do not protect holders of the 2025 Notes in the event that we experience changes (including significant adverse changes) in our financial condition, results of operations or credit ratings, as they do not require that we or our subsidiaries adhere to any financial tests or ratios or specified levels of net worth, revenues, income, cash flow or liquidity, except as required under the 1940 Act.
Our ability to recapitalize, incur additional debt and take a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the 2025 Notes may have important consequences for you as a holder of the 2025 Notes, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to the 2025 Notes or negatively affecting the trading value of the 2025 Notes.
Certain of our current debt instruments include more protections for their holders than the indenture and the 2025 Notes. In addition, other debt we issue or incur in the future could contain more protections for its holders than the applicable indenture for the 2025 Notes, including additional covenants and events of default. The issuance or incurrence of any such debt with incremental protections could affect the market for and trading levels and prices of the 2025 Notes.
An active trading market for the 2025 Notes may not develop or be sustained, which could limit the market price of the 2025 Notes or your ability to sell them.
Although the 2025 Notes are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “WHFBZ,” we cannot provide any assurances that an active trading market will develop or be sustained for the 2025 Notes or that the 2025 Notes will be able to be sold. At various times, the 2025 Notes may trade at a discount from their initial offering price depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our credit ratings, general economic conditions, our financial condition, performance and prospects and other factors. To the extent an active trading market is not sustained, the liquidity and trading price for the 2025 Notes may be harmed.
We may not be able to prepay the Private Notes upon a change in control.
In addition, the Note Purchase Agreement governing the Private Notes requires us to offer to prepay all of the issued and outstanding Private Notes upon a change in control and election by the holders, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. A change in control under the Note Purchase Agreement occurs upon (i) the direct or indirect transfer or other disposition of all of the property or assets held by us and our subsidiaries, subject to certain exceptions (ii) the consummation of a transaction which results in a “person” or “group” (as those terms are used in Section 13(d)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1984, as amended, or the Exchange Act) becoming the beneficial owner of more than 50% of our outstanding voting stock or (iii) the approval by our stockholders of any plan or proposal relating to the liquidation of the Company.
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Upon a change in control event, holders of the Private Notes may require us to prepay for cash some or all of the Private Notes at a prepayment price equal to 100% of the aggregate principal amount of the Private Notes being prepaid, plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but not including, the date of prepayment. If a change in control were to occur, we may not have sufficient funds to prepay any such accelerated indebtedness.
We may choose to prepay the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes when prevailing interest rates are relatively low.
At any time on or after February 7, 2023, the Private Notes may be prepaid, at our option, at 100% of the principal amount, together with accrued and unpaid interest to the prepayment date. Prior to February 7, 2023, we may prepay all or any principal amount of the Private Notes, together with accrued and unpaid interest, subject a make-whole premium.
At any time on or after November 30, 2021, the 2025 Notes may be redeemed, at our option, in whole or in part, at a redemption price of  $25 per security plus accrued and unpaid interest payments otherwise payable for the then-current quarterly interest period accrued to the date fixed for redemption.
We may choose to prepay the Private Notes and redeem the 2025 Notes from time to time, especially when prevailing interest rates are lower than the rate borne by the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes. If prevailing rates are lower at the time of prepayment, holders would not be able to reinvest the proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as the interest rate on the Private Notes being repaid and the 2025 Notes being redeemed. Our prepayment and redemption right may adversely impact holders’ ability to sell Private Notes and 2025 Notes as the applicable prepayment date and redemption date approaches. If we choose to prepay the Private Notes prior to the date of maturity on August 7, 2023 and redeem the 2025 Notes prior to the date of maturity on November 30, 2025, we will need to obtain sufficient liquidity, through available cash, refinancings of our existing indebtedness or otherwise, to repay the principal or redemption price, together with any accrued and unpaid interest and applicable make-whole premiums, on the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes.
If we default on our obligations to pay our other indebtedness, we may not be able to make payments on the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes.
Any default under the agreements governing our indebtedness, including a default under the Credit Facility, any indenture or under other indebtedness to which we may be a party that is not waived by the required lenders or holders, and the remedies sought by the holders of such indebtedness could make us unable to pay principal, premium, if any, and interest on the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow and are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants, including financial and operating covenants, in the instruments governing our indebtedness, we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lenders under the Credit Facility or other debt we may incur in the future could elect to terminate their commitments, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If our operating performance declines, we may in the future need to seek to obtain waivers from the required lenders under the agreements relating to the Credit Facility, or other debt that we may incur in the future to avoid being in default. If we breach our covenants under the Credit Facility or other debt and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required lenders or holders. If this occurs, we would be in default and our lenders or debt holders could exercise their rights as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we are unable to repay debt, lenders having secured obligations, including the lenders under the Credit Facility, could proceed against the collateral securing the debt. Because the Credit Facility has, and any future debt will likely have, customary cross-default provisions, if the indebtedness thereunder or under any future credit facility is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due.
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FATCA withholding may apply to payments to certain foreign entities.
Payments made under the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes to a foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity (including such an institution or entity acting as an intermediary) may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act provisions of the Code, or FATCA. This tax may apply to certain payments of interest unless the foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity complies with certain information reporting, withholding, identification, certification and related requirements imposed by FATCA. Holders should consult their tax advisors regarding FATCA and how it may affect an investment in the Private Notes and the 2025 Notes.
The trading market or market value of any publicly issued debt securities may fluctuate.
Our publicly issued debt securities, if any, may or may not have an established trading market. We cannot assure you that a trading market for our publicly issued debt securities will ever develop or be maintained if developed. In addition to our creditworthiness, many factors may materially adversely affect the trading market for, and market value of, our publicly issued debt securities. These factors include the following:

the time remaining to the maturity of these debt securities;

the outstanding principal amount of debt securities with terms identical to these debt securities;

the ratings assigned by national statistical ratings agencies, if any;

the general economic environment;

the supply of debt securities trading in the secondary market, if any;

the redemption or repayment features, if any, of these debt securities;

the level, direction and volatility of market interest rates generally; and

market rates of interest higher or lower than rates borne by the debt securities.
You should also be aware that there may be a limited number of buyers when you decide to sell your debt securities. This too may materially adversely affect the market value of the debt securities or the trading market for the debt securities.
Terms relating to redemption may materially adversely affect your return on any debt securities that we may issue.
If your debt securities are redeemable at our option, we may choose to redeem your debt securities at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on your debt securities. In addition, if your debt securities are subject to mandatory redemption, we may be required to redeem your debt securities also at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on your debt securities. In this circumstance, you may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as your debt securities being redeemed.
Our credit ratings may not reflect all risks of an investment in our debt securities.
Our credit ratings are an assessment by third parties of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of our debt securities. Our credit ratings, however, may not reflect the potential impact of risks related to market conditions generally or other factors discussed above on the market value of or trading market for the publicly issued debt securities.
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Risks Relating to an Investment in our Common Stock
We may obtain the approval of our stockholders to issue shares of our common stock at prices below the then-current NAV per share of our common stock. If we receive such approval from stockholders in the future, we may issue shares of our common stock at a price below the then current NAV per share of common stock. Any such issuance could materially dilute your interest in our common stock and reduce our NAV per share.
We may seek to obtain the approval of our stockholders, and they may approve a proposal that authorizes us, to issue shares of our common stock at prices below the then-current NAV per share of our common stock in one or more offerings for a twelve-month period. Such approval would allow us to access the capital markets in a way that we are typically unable to do as a result of restrictions that, absent stockholder approval, apply to business development companies under the 1940 Act.
Any sale or other issuance of shares of our common stock at a price below NAV per share will result in an immediate dilution to your interest in our common stock and a reduction of our NAV per share. This dilution would occur as a result of 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. Because the number of future shares of common stock that may be issued below our NAV per share and the price and timing of such issuances are not currently known, we cannot predict the actual dilutive effect of any such issuance. We also cannot determine the resulting reduction in our NAV per share of any such issuance at this time. We caution you that such effects may be material, and we undertake to describe all the material risks and dilutive effects of any offering that we make at a price below our then-current NAV in the future in a prospectus supplement issued in connection with any such offering.
Investing in 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 than alternative investment options and a higher risk of volatility or loss of principal. Our investments in portfolio companies involve higher levels of risk, and therefore, an investment in our shares may not be suitable for someone with lower risk tolerance. In addition, our common stock is intended for long-term investors and should not be treated as a trading vehicle. Our shares may trade at a price that is less than the offering price. This risk may be greater for investors who sell their shares in a relatively short period of time after completion of an offering.
Shares of closed-end investment companies, including business development companies, often trade at a discount to their NAV.
Shares of closed-end investment companies, including business development companies, may trade at a discount from NAV. This characteristic of closed-end investment companies and business development companies is separate and distinct from the risk that our NAV per share may decline. We cannot predict whether our common stock will trade at, above or below NAV.
There is a risk that investors in our equity securities may not receive distributions or that our distributions may not grow over time and a portion of our distributions may be a return of capital.
We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results that will allow us to make a specified level of cash distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions. If the amount of any distribution exceeds the sum of our investment company taxable income, determined without regard to any deduction for distributions paid, and net capital gains, if any, then all or a portion of such distribution could constitute a return of capital to stockholders rather than dividend income for tax purposes. A return of capital is a return to investors of a portion of their original investment in the company rather than income or capital gains. A return of capital will have the effect of reducing a stockholder’s basis in its shares of common stock, which may, if such stockholder sells or otherwise disposes such stock at a price greater than its then-current basis, result in a higher taxable gain to such stockholder at the time of sale.
Our ability to pay distributions might be adversely affected by the impact of one or more of the risk factors described in this annual report on Form 10-K. Due to the asset coverage test applicable to us under the 1940 Act as a business development company, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. If
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we declare a dividend and if more stockholders opt to receive cash distributions rather than participate in our distribution reinvestment plan, we may be forced to sell some of our investments in order to make cash dividend payments. In addition, after the reinvestment period under the Credit Facility, asset sales proceeds, if any (including any realized gains), must be used to pay down any outstanding debt and certain other amounts prior to distributing cash from WhiteHorse Credit to us. Also, if certain coverage tests are not met under the Credit Facility, the Private Notes or the 2025 Notes or if an event of default and acceleration occurs under the Credit Facility, the Private Notes or the 2025 Notes, then income and capital gains which would otherwise be distributable by us to our stockholders will be diverted to pay down debt or other amounts due under the Credit Facility, the Private Notes or the 2025 Notes, as applicable. All distributions will be paid at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our earnings, our financial condition, maintenance of our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, compliance with applicable business development company regulations and such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant from time to time. We cannot assure investors that we will pay distributions to our stockholders in the future.
FATCA withholding may apply to payments to certain foreign entities.
Withholding of U.S. tax at a 30% rate is currently required on payments of dividends paid to certain non-U.S. entities that fail to comply with certain information reporting, identification, certification, and related requirements imposed by FATCA. Stockholders and persons intended to hold common stock should consult their tax advisors regarding FATCA and how it may affect an investment in our stock.
Our stockholders could experience dilution in their ownership percentage if they do not participate in our distribution reinvestment plan.
All distributions declared in cash payable to stockholders that are participants in our distribution reinvestment plan are automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. As a result, our stockholders that do not participate in our distribution reinvestment plan could experience dilution in their ownership percentage of our common stock over time if we issue additional shares of our common stock.
Our stockholders may receive shares of our common stock as dividends, which could result in adverse tax consequences to them.
In order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, we may declare a large portion of a dividend in shares of our common stock instead of in cash. Historically, we have not declared any portion of our dividends in shares of our common stock. As long as at least 20% of such dividend is paid in cash and certain requirements are met, the entire distribution will be treated as a dividend for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, a stockholder generally would be subject to tax on 100% of the fair market value of the dividend on the date the dividend is received by the stockholder in the same manner as a cash dividend, even though most of the dividend was paid in shares of our common stock.
Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market may have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.
Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, including by any selling stockholders, adoption of an at the market issuance program, or the availability of such common stock for sale, whether or not actually sold, could adversely affect the prevailing market prices for our common stock. If this occurs and continues, it could impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of securities should we desire to do so.
If we issue preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt securities, the NAV and market value of our common stock may become more volatile.
We cannot assure you that the issuance of preferred stock and/or debt securities would result in a higher yield or return to the holders of our common stock. The issuance of preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt would likely cause the NAV and market value of our common stock to become more volatile. If the dividend rate on the preferred stock, or the interest rate on the debt securities, were to approach the net rate of return on our investment portfolio, the benefit of leverage to the holders of our common stock would be reduced. If the dividend rate on the preferred stock, or the interest rate on the debt
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securities, were to exceed the net rate of return on our portfolio, the use of leverage would result in a lower rate of return to the holders of common stock than if we had not issued the preferred stock or debt securities. Any decline in the NAV of our investment would be borne entirely by the holders of our common stock. Therefore, if the market value of our portfolio were to decline, the leverage would result in a greater decrease in NAV to the holders of our common stock than if we were not leveraged through the issuance of preferred stock. This decline in NAV would also tend to cause a greater decline in the market price for our common stock.
There is also a risk that, in the event of a sharp decline in the value of our net assets, we would be in danger of failing to maintain required asset coverage ratios which may be required by the preferred stock, debt securities, convertible debt or of a downgrade in the ratings of the preferred stock, debt securities, convertible debt or our current investment income might not be sufficient to meet the dividend requirements on the preferred stock or the interest payments on the debt securities. In order to counteract such an event, we might need to liquidate investments in order to fund redemption of some or all of the preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt. In addition, we would pay (and the holders of our common stock would bear) all costs and expenses relating to the issuance and ongoing maintenance of the preferred stock, debt securities, convertible debt or any combination of these securities. Holders of preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt may have different interests than holders of common stock and may at times have disproportionate influence over our affairs.
Your interest in us may be diluted if you do not fully exercise your subscription rights in any rights offering. In addition, if the subscription price is less than our NAV per share, then you will experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate NAV of your shares.
In the event we issue subscription rights, stockholders who do not fully exercise their subscription rights should expect that they will, at the completion of a rights offering pursuant to this annual report on Form 10-K, own a smaller proportional interest in us than would otherwise be the case if they fully exercised their rights. We cannot state precisely the amount of any such dilution in share ownership because we do not know at this time what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering.
In addition, if the subscription price is less than the NAV per share of our common stock, then our stockholders would experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate NAV of their shares as a result of the offering. The amount of any decrease in NAV is not predictable because it is not known at this time what the subscription price and NAV per share will be on the expiration date of a rights offering or what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering. Such dilution could be substantial.
These dilutive effects may be exacerbated if we were to conduct multiple subscription rights offerings, particularly if such offerings were to occur over a short period of time. In addition, subscription rights offerings and the prospect of future subscription rights offerings may create downward pressure on the secondary market price of our common stock due to the potential for the issuance of shares at a price below our NAV, without a corresponding change to our NAV.
Risks Relating to Our Offerings
The market price of our securities may fluctuate significantly.
The market price and liquidity of the market for our securities may be significantly affected by numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance. These factors include:

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of business development companies or other companies in our sector, which are not necessarily related to the operating performance of the companies;

changes in regulatory policies, accounting pronouncements or tax guidelines, particularly with respect to RICs and business development companies;
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loss of our qualification or ability to be subject to tax as a RIC or qualification as a business development company;

changes in earnings or variations in operating results;

changes in the value of our portfolio investments;

changes in accounting guidelines governing valuation of our investments;

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

departure of WhiteHorse Advisers’ or any of its affiliates’ key personnel;

operating performance of companies comparable to us;

general economic trends and other external factors; and

loss of a major funding source or an event of default under a material financing contract.
See “Risks Relating to an Investment in our Common Stock” above for additional risks you should carefully consider before deciding to invest in shares of our common stock.
We are a holding company and depend on payments from our subsidiaries in order to make payments on any debt securities that we may issue as well as to pay dividends on our common stock. Any debt securities that we issue will be structurally subordinated to the obligations of our subsidiaries.
We are a holding company and fund a majority of our investments through wholly-owned subsidiaries, and a majority of the assets that we hold directly are the equity interests in such subsidiaries. We depend upon the cash flow from our subsidiaries and the receipt of funds from them, any of which may be subject to restriction or limitations based on the organizational documents of the subsidiaries and the agreements governing the debt of any such subsidiary. In addition, because we are a holding company, any debt securities that we issue will be structurally subordinated to the obligations of our subsidiaries. In the event that one of our subsidiaries becomes insolvent, liquidates, reorganizes, dissolves or otherwise winds up, its assets will be used first to satisfy the claims of its creditors. Consequently, any claim by us or our creditors, including holders of any debt securities that we may issue, against any subsidiary will be structurally subordinated to all of the claims of the creditors of such subsidiary. We cannot assure security holders that they will receive any payments required to be made under the terms of any debt securities that we may issue, dividends or other distributions.
Holders of preferred stock that we issue, if any, would have the right to elect members of the board of directors and have class voting rights on certain matters.
The 1940 Act requires that holders of shares of preferred stock must be entitled as a class to elect two directors at all times and to elect a majority of the directors if dividends on such preferred stock are in arrears by two years or more, until such arrearage is eliminated. In addition, certain matters under the 1940 Act require the separate vote of the holders of any issued and outstanding preferred stock, including changes in fundamental investment restrictions and conversion to open-end status and, accordingly, preferred stockholders could veto any such changes. Restrictions imposed on the declarations and payment of dividends or other distributions to the holders of our common stock and preferred stock, both by the 1940 Act and by requirements imposed by rating agencies, might impair our ability to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.
Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
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Item 2.
Properties
Our executive offices are located at 1450 Brickell Avenue, 31st Floor, Miami, Florida 33131 and are provided by our administrator in accordance with the terms of the Administration Agreement. We believe that our office facilities are suitable and adequate for our business as it is contemplated to be conducted.
Item 3.
Legal Proceedings
WhiteHorse Finance, WhiteHorse Advisers and WhiteHorse Administration are not currently subject to any material legal proceedings.
Item 4.
Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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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 began trading on December 5, 2012 and is currently traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “WHF.” As of March 12, 2020, we had 14 stockholders of record, which did not include stockholders for whom shares are held in nominee or “street” name.
Distributions
We intend to continue making quarterly distributions to our stockholders. The timing and amount of our quarterly distributions, if any, are determined by our board of directors. We have elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code and intend to maintain such treatment. To maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, we must meet the Annual Distribution Requirement.
We maintain an “opt out” distribution reinvestment plan for our common stockholders. If we declare a dividend or other distribution, then stockholders’ cash distributions will be automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock, unless they specifically “opt out” of the distribution reinvestment plan so as to receive cash distributions. As a result, stockholders that do not participate in the distribution reinvestment plan may experience dilution over time. Stockholders who do not elect to receive distributions in shares of common stock may experience accretion to the NAV of their shares if our shares are trading at a premium and dilution if our shares are trading at a discount. The level of accretion or dilution would depend on various factors, including the proportion of our stockholders who participate in the plan, the level of premium or discount at which our shares are trading and the amount of the distribution payable to a stockholder.
Sale of Unregistered Securities
None.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
None.
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Stock Performance Graph
This graph compares the stockholder return on our common stock from December 5, 2012 (initial public offering) to December 31, 2019 with that of the Nasdaq Financial 100, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Wells Fargo Business Development Company Stock Indices. This graph assumes that on December 5, 2012, $100 was invested in our common stock, the Nasdaq Financial 100, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Wells Fargo Business Development Company Stock Indices. The stock price information reflected in the graph is based upon market closing prices, which for our common stock was $13.90 on December 5, 2012. The graph also assumes the reinvestment of all cash dividends prior to any tax effect. The graph and other information furnished under this Part II Item 5 of this annual report on 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 Exchange Act. The stock price performance included in the below graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock performance.
[MISSING IMAGE: tv537551-lc_stockperf4c.jpg]
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Item 6.
Selected Consolidated Financial Data
The selected consolidated financial and other data below should be read in conjunction with our “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the related financial statements and notes thereto. Financial information is presented for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and has been derived from our financial statements that were audited by Crowe LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm.
As of and for the years ended December 31,
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
(In thousands, except per share data)
Statement of Operations Data:
Total investment income
$ 67,073 $ 63,246 $ 54,804 $ 53,849 $ 47,074
Base management fees, net of fees waived
10,903 10,241 9,508 8,990 8,560
Performance-based incentive fees
7,710 12,134 6,553 6,755 4,323
All other expenses
16,451 14,929 12,531 11,093 13,436
Net investment income before excise tax
32,009 25,942 26,212 27,011 20,755
Excise tax
813 942
Net investment income
31,196 25,000 26,212 27,011 20,755
Net realized (gains) losses on investments and foreign currency transactions
(408) 32,734 108 (478) (379)
Net change in unrealized appreciation (depreciation) on investments and foreign currency translation
53 (433) 8,128 4,796 (23,204)
Net increase (decrease) in net assets resulting from
operations
30,841 57,301 34,448 31,329 (2,828)
Per share data:
Net asset value
15.23 15.35 13.98 13.63 13.33
Net investment income
1.52 1.22 1.36 1.48 1.36
Net realized gains (losses) on investments and foreign currency transactions
(0.02) 1.59 0.01 (0.02) (0.02)
Net change in unrealized (depreciation) appreciation and foreign currency translation
0.00 (0.02) 0.40 0.26 (1.45)
Net increase (decrease) in net assets resulting from
operations
1.50 2.79 1.77 1.72 (0.18)
Per share distributions declared
1.62 1.42 1.42 1.42 1.42
Dollar amount of distributions declared
33,182 29,165 27,573 25,992 22,455
Balance Sheet data at period end:
Investments, at fair value
589,688 469,564 440,680 411,714 415,343
Cash and cash equivalents
4,294 24,148 35,219 17,036 22,769
Restricted cash and cash equivalents
23,252 9,584 3,717 11,858
Other assets
13,990 10,799 5,915 5,626 3,599
Total assets
631,224 514,095 485,531 446,234 441,711
Total liabilities
318,269 198,799 198,579 196,845 197,659
Total net assets
312,955 315,296 286,952 249,389 244,052
Other data:
Weighted average effective yield on income producing debt investments(1)
10.4% 11.9% 11.9% 11.8% 11.8%
Weighted average effective yield on total portfolio,
including equities(1)
9.9% 11.8% 11.4% 11.1% 11.0%
Number of portfolio investments at period end
66 53 43 37 35
(1)
Weighted average effective yield is computed by dividing (a) annualized interest income (including interest income resulting from the amortization of fees and discounts) by (b) the weighted average cost of investments.
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Item 7.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The information contained in this section should be read in conjunction with the Selected Financial Data and our Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data appearing elsewhere in this annual report on Form 10-K.
Forward-Looking Statements
Some of the statements in this annual report on Form 10-K constitute forward-looking statements, which relate to future events or our future performance or financial condition. The forward-looking statements contained in this annual report on Form 10-K involve risks and uncertainties, including statements as to:

our future operating results;

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

the ability of our portfolio companies to achieve their objectives;

our ability to consummate new investments and the impact of such investments;

our contractual arrangements and relationships with third parties;

changes in political, economic or industry conditions, the interest rate environment or conditions affecting the financial and capital markets, which could result in changes to the value of our assets;

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

the impact of increased competition;

the ability of our investment adviser to locate suitable investments for us and to monitor our investments;

our expected financings and investments;

our ability to pay dividends or make distributions;

the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital;

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

the impact of future acquisitions and divestitures.
We use words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “intends,” “should,” “could,” “can,” “would,” “expects,” “believes,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “predicts,” “potential,” “plan” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Our actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements for any reason, including the factors set forth in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report on Form 10-K.
We have based the forward-looking statements included in this annual report on Form 10-K on information available to us on the date of this annual report on Form 10-K, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Although we undertake no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, you are advised to consult any additional disclosures that we may make directly to you or through reports that we may file with the SEC in the future, including annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K.
You should understand that under Sections 27A(b)(2)(B) and (D) of the Securities Act and Sections 21E(b)(2)(B) and (D) of the Exchange Act, the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, do not apply to statements made in connection with this annual report on Form 10-K or any periodic reports we file under the Exchange Act.
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Overview
We are an externally managed, non-diversified, closed-end management investment company that has elected to be treated as a business development company under the 1940 Act. In addition, for tax purposes, we elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code.
We were formed on December 28, 2011 and commenced operations on January 1, 2012. We were originally capitalized with approximately $176.3 million of contributed assets from H.I.G. Bayside Debt & LBO Fund II, L.P. and H.I.G. Bayside Loan Opportunity Fund II, L.P., each of which is an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital. These assets were contributed as of January 1, 2012 in exchange for 11,752,383 units in WhiteHorse Finance, LLC. On December 4, 2012, we converted from a Delaware limited liability company into a Delaware corporation and elected to be treated as a business development company under the 1940 Act. As part of the BDC Conversion, all outstanding units in WhiteHorse Finance, LLC were converted to 7,826,284 shares of common stock of WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.
On December 4, 2012, we priced our initial public offering, or the IPO, selling 6,666,667 shares. Concurrent with the IPO, certain of our directors and officers, the managers of our investment adviser and their immediate family members or entities owned by, or family trusts for the benefit of, such persons, purchased an additional 472,673 shares through a private placement transaction exempt from the Securities Act, or the Concurrent Private Placement.
Our shares are currently listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “WHF”.
On June 30, 2017, we completed an offering of 2,200,000 shares of our common stock at a public offering price of  $13.97 per share. Our Investment Adviser agreed to bear a portion of the underwriting discounts and commissions in connection with the offering, such that the issuance of shares resulted in net proceeds to us of approximately $30.3 million, which was at or above our NAV per share at the time of the offering.
We are a direct lender targeting debt investments in privately held, lower middle market companies located in North America. Our investment objective is to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns primarily by originating and investing in senior secured loans, including first lien and second lien facilities, to performing lower middle market companies across a broad range of industries. Such loans typically carry a floating interest rate based on a risk-free index rate such as LIBOR plus a spread and typically have a term of three to six years. While we focus principally on originating senior secured loans to lower middle market companies, we may also opportunistically make investments at other levels of a company’s capital structure, including mezzanine loans or equity interests, and in companies outside of the lower middle market market, to the extent we believe the investment presents an opportunity to achieve an attractive risk-adjusted return. We also may receive warrants to purchase common stock in connection with our debt investments. We expect to generate current income through the receipt of interest payments, as well as origination and other fees, capital appreciation and dividends.
Our investment activities are managed by WhiteHorse Advisers and supervised by our board of directors, a majority of whom are independent of us, WhiteHorse Advisers and its affiliates. Under our Investment Advisory Agreement, we have agreed to pay WhiteHorse Advisers an annual base management fee based on our average consolidated gross assets as well as an incentive fee based on our investment performance. See “Business — Management Agreements — Investment Advisory Agreement.” We have also entered into an Administration Agreement with WhiteHorse Administration. Under our Administration Agreement, we have agreed to reimburse WhiteHorse Administration for our allocable portion (subject to the review and approval of our independent directors) of overhead and other expenses incurred by WhiteHorse Administration in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement.
As of December 31, 2019, our investment portfolio consisted primarily of senior secured loans across 66 positions in 51 companies with an aggregate fair value of approximately $589.7 million. As of December 31, 2018, our investment portfolio consisted primarily of senior secured loans across 53 positions in 39 companies with an aggregate fair value of approximately $469.6 million. As of both dates, the majority of our portfolio comprised senior secured loans to lower middle market borrowers.
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Revenues
We generate revenue in the form of interest payable on the debt securities that we hold and capital gains and distributions, if any, on the portfolio company investments that we originated or acquire. Our debt investments, whether in the form of senior secured loans or mezzanine loans, typically have terms of three to six years and bear interest at a fixed or floating rate based on a risk-free index rate such as LIBOR. Interest on debt securities is generally payable monthly or quarterly, with the amortization of principal generally being deferred for several years from the date of the initial investment. In some cases, we may also defer payments of interest for the first few years after our investment. The principal amount of the debt securities and any accrued but unpaid interest generally becomes due at the maturity date. In addition, we generate revenue in the form of commitment, origination, structuring or diligence fees, fees for providing managerial assistance and possibly consulting fees. We capitalize loan origination fees, original issue discount and market discount, and we then amortize such amounts as interest income. Upon the prepayment of a loan or debt security, we record any unamortized loan origination fees as interest income. We record prepayment premiums on loans and debt securities as interest income when we receive such amounts.
Expenses
Our primary operating expenses include (1) investment advisory fees to WhiteHorse Advisers; (2) the allocable portion of overhead under the Administration Agreement; (3) the interest expense on our outstanding debt; and (4) other operating costs as detailed below. Our investment advisory fees compensate our investment adviser for its work in identifying, evaluating, negotiating, consummating and monitoring our investments. See “Business — Management Agreements — Investment Advisory Agreement” and “Business — Management Agreements — Administration Agreement.”
We bear all other costs and expenses of our operations and transactions, including:

our organization;

calculating our NAV and NAV per share (including the costs and expenses of independent valuation firms);

fees and expenses, including travel expenses, incurred by WhiteHorse Advisers or payable to third parties in performing due diligence on prospective portfolio companies, monitoring our investments and, if necessary, enforcing our rights;

the costs of all future offerings of common shares and other securities, and other incurrences of debt;

the base management fee and any incentive fee;

distributions on our shares;

transfer agent and custody fees and expenses;

amounts payable to third parties relating to, or associated with, evaluating, making and disposing of investments;

brokerage fees and commissions;

registration fees;

listing fees;

taxes;

independent directors’ fees and expenses;

costs associated with our reporting and compliance obligations under the 1940 Act and applicable U.S. federal and state securities laws;

the costs of any reports, proxy statements or other notices to our stockholders, including printing costs;
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costs of holding stockholder meetings;

our fidelity bond;

directors and officers/errors and omissions liability insurance and any other insurance premiums;

litigation, indemnification and other non-recurring or extraordinary expenses;

direct costs and expenses of administration and operation, including audit and legal costs;

fees and expenses associated with marketing efforts, including deal sourcing and marketing to financial sponsors;

dues, fees and charges of any trade association of which we are a member; and

all other expenses reasonably incurred by us or WhiteHorse Administration in connection with administering our business, including rent and our allocable portion of the costs and expenses of our chief financial officer and chief compliance officer along with their respective staffs.
Whitehorse Advisers or WhiteHorse Administration may pay for certain expenses that we incur, which are subject to reimbursement by us.
Recent Developments
For the period January 1, 2020 through March 12, 2020, we contributed an additional set of assets, which included three new issuers of senior secured debt facilities to STRS JV.
Consolidated Results of Operations
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018
Set forth below are the consolidated results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018. For information regarding the consolidated results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2017, see the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 as filed with the SEC on March 14, 2019.
The consolidated results of operations described below may not be indicative of the results we report in future periods. Net investment income and net increase in net assets can vary substantially from period to period due to various reasons, including the level of new investments and the recognition of realized gains and losses and unrealized appreciation and depreciation. As a result, comparisons of net increases in net assets resulting from operations may not be meaningful.
Investment Income
Investment income for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 totaled $67.1 million and $63.2 million, respectively, and was attributable to interest, fees and dividends earned from investments in portfolio companies. Investment income included fee income, primarily related to amendments and prepayments, of  $8.4 million and $4.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Non-recurring fee income for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 totaled $7.9 million and $4.5 million, respectively. Investment income excluding fee income increased due to larger investment portfolio balances, offset partially by the impact of spread compression. We expect to generate some level of non-recurring fee income each quarter from prepayments, amendments and other sources.
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Operating Expenses
Expenses, excluding excise tax, were $35.1 million and $37.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Interest expense totaled $13.5 million and $11.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The increase was primarily due to higher borrowing base, partially offset by interest rates resulting from a decrease in LIBOR.
Base management fees (net of fees waived, if any) and performance-based incentive fees totaled $10.9 million and $7.7 million, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2019 and $10.2 million and $12.1 million, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2018. Base management fees increased year over year due to the increase in total gross assets. The decrease in performance-based incentive fees during the year ended December 31, 2019 was attributable to an increase in pre-incentive net investment income as well as an additional $4.7 million accrual for the capital gains incentive fee component, which was primarily a result of the realized gain generated from the disposition from our investment in Aretec Group, Inc. during the year ended December 31, 2018. Administrative service fees totaled approximately $0.6 million and $0.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Excise Tax Expense
We have elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code and operate in a manner so as to qualify for the tax treatment applicable to RICs. In order to be subject to tax as a RIC, we are required to meet certain source of income and asset diversification requirements, as well as timely distribute to our stockholders dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes of an amount generally at least equal to 90% of investment company taxable income, as defined by the Code, and determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid for each tax year. We have made and intend to continue to make the requisite distributions to our stockholders that will generally relieve us from U.S. federal income taxes.
Depending on the level of taxable income earned in a tax year, we may choose to retain taxable income in excess of current year distributions into the next tax year in an amount less than what would trigger payments of U.S. federal income tax under Subchapter M of the Code. We may then be required to incur a 4% excise tax on such income. To the extent that we determine that our estimated current year annual taxable income may exceed estimated current year distributions, we accrue excise tax, if any, on estimated excess taxable income as taxable income is earned. For the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, we incurred a net excise tax expense of  $0.8 million, $0.9 million and $0.0 million, respectively, for U.S. federal excise tax.
Net Realized and Unrealized Gains and Losses on Investments
Net realized gains (losses) on investments for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 were $(0.4) million and $32.7 million, respectively. Our net realized gain during the year ended December 31, 2018 was attributable to the realization of our equity investment in Aretec Group, Inc., which generated a realized gain of approximately $33.0 million.
We generated net unrealized appreciation of  $0.1 million and net unrealized depreciation of $0.4 million, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, due to credit related adjustments, which caused changes in fair value, as well as the reversal of unrealized appreciation or depreciation on investments disposed of during each of those years. The unrealized appreciation on investments during the year ended December 31, 2019 was primarily attributable to fair value increases in our investments in StackPath, LLC and Sigue Corporation and the reversal of prior unrealized depreciation upon the full disposal on our investment in Outcome Health. This was partially offset by a fair value decrease in our investment in AG Kings Holdings Inc. The unrealized depreciation on investments during the year ended December 31, 2018 was primarily attributable to fair value decreases in our investments in StackPath, LLC and AG Kings Holdings Inc. This was partially offset by fair value increases in our investments in Caelus Energy Alaska O3, LLC and the reversal of prior unrealized depreciation upon the full disposal on our investment in Aretec Group, Inc.
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Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources
As a business development company, we generally distribute substantially all of our net income to our stockholders. We generate cash primarily from offerings of securities, the Credit Facility and cash flows from operations, including interest earned from the temporary investment of cash in U.S. government securities and other high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. We expect to fund a portion of our investments through future borrowings under the Credit Facility. In the future, we may obtain borrowings under other credit facilities and from issuances of senior securities. We may also borrow funds to the extent we determine that additional capital would allow us to take advantage of additional investment opportunities, if the market for debt financing presents attractively priced debt financing opportunities or if our board of directors determines that leveraging our portfolio would be in our best interest and the best interests of our stockholders.
Restricted cash and cash equivalents include amounts that are collected and held by the trustee appointed as custodian of the assets securing the Credit Facility. Restricted cash is held by the trustee for the payment of interest expense and principal on the outstanding borrowings or reinvestment into new assets. Restricted cash that represents interest or fee income is transferred to unrestricted cash accounts by the trustee once a quarter after the payment of operating expenses and amounts due under the Credit Facility.
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018
Set forth below are our liquidity and capital resources for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018. For information regarding our liquidity and capital resources for the year ended December 31, 2017, see the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, as filed with the SEC on March 14, 2019.
Our operating activities used cash and cash equivalents of approximately $95.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily for acquisition of investments partially offset by proceeds from principal payments and sale of portfolio investments. Our financing activities generated cash and cash equivalents of approximately $88.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily from borrowings under the credit facility partially offset by distributions to stockholders.
Our operating activities provided cash and cash equivalents of approximately $31.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily from proceeds received from realization of investments partially offset by net cash deployed for the acquisition of investments. Our financing activities used cash and cash equivalents of approximately $36.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2018. During the year ended December 31, 2018, we refinanced and increased our existing fixed rate debt within our capital structure by redeeming our 2020 Notes and replacing them with the issuance of  $30.0 million of aggregate principal amount of Private Notes as well as by issuing an additional $35.0 million of aggregate principal amount of 2025 Notes. We also had net repayments of  $40.0 million on our Credit Facility and made cash payments in respect of net distributions to our stockholders of approximately $29.0 million.
As of December 31, 2019, we had cash and cash equivalent resources, including restricted cash, of $27.5 million. As of the same date, we had $11.1 million undrawn under the Credit Facility based on the collateral and portfolio quality requirements stipulated in the related credit and security agreement.
As of December 31, 2018, we had cash and cash equivalent resources, including restricted cash, of $33.7 million. As of the same date, we had $85.0 million undrawn under the Credit Facility based on the collateral and portfolio quality requirements stipulated in the related credit and security agreement.
STRS JV
In January 2019, we and STRS Ohio, formed a joint venture, STRS JV, that invests primarily in senior secured loans, including first lien and second lien facilities, to performing lower middle market companies across a broad range of industries that typically carry a floating interest rate based on a risk-free index rate such as LIBOR and have a term of three to six years. STRS JV was formed as a Delaware limited liability company and is not consolidated by either us or STRS Ohio for financial reporting purposes. On July 19, 2019 STRS JV formally launched operations. As of December 31, 2019, STRS JV had total assets of
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$99.5 million. STRS JV’s portfolio consisted of debt investments in ten portfolio companies as of December 31, 2019. As of December 31, 2019, the five largest investments in portfolio companies in STRS JV’s portfolio totaled $57.8 million. STRS JV invests in portfolio companies in the same industries in which we may directly invest.
We provide capital to STRS JV in the form of LLC equity interests and subordinated notes. As of December 31, 2019, we and STRS Ohio owned 60% and 40%, respectively, of the LLC equity interests of STRS JV. Our investment in STRS JV consisted of equity contributions and subordinated note advances of $6.6 million and $26.3 million as of December 31, 2019, respectively. As of the same date, we had commitments to fund equity interests and subordinated notes in STRS JV of  $15 million and $60 million, of which $8.4 million and $33.7 million were unfunded, respectively. STRS JV is managed by a four-person board of managers, two of whom are selected by us and two of whom are selected by STRS Ohio.
All material decisions with respect to STRS JV, including those involving its investment portfolio, require unanimous approval of a quorum of the board of managers. Quorum is defined as (i) the presence of two members of the board of managers; provided that at least one individual is present that was elected, designated or appointed by each member; (ii) the presence of three members of the board of managers; provided that the individual that was elected, designated or appointed by the member with only one individual present is entitled to cast two votes on each matter; or (iii) the presence of four members of the board of managers; provided that two individuals are present that were elected, designated or appointed by each member.
Below is a summary of STRS JV’s portfolio as of December 31, 2019:
Total investments(1)
$ 97,260
Weighted average effective yield on total portfolio(2)
8.5%
Number of portfolio companies in STRS JV
10
Largest portfolio company investment(1)
$ 13,657
Total of five largest portfolio company investments (1)
$ 57,819
(1)
At fair value.
(2)
Weighted average effective yield is computed by dividing (a) annualized interest income (including interest income resulting from the amortization of fees and discounts) by (b) the weighted average cost of investment.
Investments consisted of the following:
December 31, 2019
Amortized Cost
Fair Value
First lien secured loans
$ 96,910 $ 97,260
Total
$ 96,910 $ 97,260
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The following table shows the portfolio composition by industry grouping at fair value:
December 31, 2019
Advertising
$ 8,672 8.9%
Construction & Engineering
10,132 10.4
Diversified Support Services
10,497 10.8
Health Care Services
13,482 13.9
Industrial Machinery
9,990 10.3
Insurance Brokers
10,051 10.3
Internet & Direct Marketing Retail
13,657 14.1
Packaged Foods & Meats
7,688 7.9
Personal Products
4,781 4.9
Systems Software
8,310 8.5
Total
$ 97,260 100.00%
See Note 3 to our consolidated financial statements for further discussion on STRS JV’s portfolio and selected balance sheet information as of December 31, 2019 and selected statement of operations information for the period July 19, 2019 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2019.
Capital Raises
On June 30, 2017, we completed an offering of 2,200,000 shares of our common stock at a public offering price of  $13.97 per share. Our investment adviser agreed to bear a portion of the underwriting discounts and commissions in connection with the offering, such that the issuance of shares resulted in net proceeds to us of approximately $30.3 million, which was at or above our NAV per share at the time of the offering.
Credit Facility
On December 23, 2015, WhiteHorse Credit entered into a $200 million revolving credit and security agreement with the Lender. On June 27, 2016, the Credit Facility was amended and restated to clarify certain terms. On June 29, 2017, the Credit Facility was again amended and restated to, among other things, (i) extend the maturity date to December 29, 2021, (ii) increase the amount contained within the accordion feature which allows for the expansion of the borrowing limit from $220 million to $235 million and (iii) reduce the interest rate spread applicable on outstanding borrowings to 2.75%. On May 15, 2018, the terms of the Credit Facility were again amended and restated to, among other things, permit the financing of certain assets to be held by WhiteHorse California. On November 19, 2018, we entered into an amendment which, among other things, allowed for an increase in the advance rate and a temporary reduction, through August 19, 2019, in the required minimum outstanding borrowings under the Credit Facility.
On November 22, 2019, the terms of the Credit Facility were again amended and restated to, among other things, (i) extend the maturity date from December 29, 2021 to November 22, 2024; (ii) increase the size of the facility from $200 million to $250 million with an additional $100 million accordion feature, which allows for the expansion of the borrowing limit, exercisable in increments of at least $35 million, or the Commitment; (iii) reduce the interest rate spread applicable on outstanding borrowings from 2.75% to 2.50%; (iv) change the minimum borrowing amount from 77.5% to 70.0% of the Commitment; (v) increase the advance rate from 57% to 60%; and (vi) extend the non-call period from October 29, 2019 to November 22, 2021.
As of December 31, 2019, there was $238.9 million in outstanding borrowings under the Credit Facility and, based on collateral and portfolio requirements stipulated in the Credit Facility agreement, approximately $11.1 million was available to be drawn on such date. The Credit Facility is secured by all of the assets of WhiteHorse Credit, which included loans with a fair value of  $394.9 million as of December 31, 2019.
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As of December 31, 2018, there was $115 million in outstanding borrowings under the Credit Facility and, based on collateral and portfolio requirements stipulated in the Credit Facility agreement, approximately $85 million was available to be drawn on such date. The Credit Facility is secured by all of the assets of WhiteHorse Credit, which included loans with a fair value of  $432.2 million as of December 31, 2018.
The Credit Facility provides for borrowings in an aggregate principal amount up to $250 million with an accordion feature which allows for the expansion of the borrowing limit up to $350 million, subject to consent from the Lender and other customary conditions. The required minimum outstanding borrowings under the Credit Facility are $175 million, unless the accordion feature is exercised, at which time the required minimum outstanding borrowings will be $245 million.
Under the Credit Facility, there are two coverage tests that WhiteHorse Credit must meet on specified compliance dates in order to permit WhiteHorse Credit to make new borrowings and to make distributions in the ordinary course — a borrowing base test and a market value test. The borrowing base test compares, at any given time, the aggregate outstanding amount of all Lender advances under the Credit Facility less the amount of principal proceeds in respect of the collateral on deposit in the accounts to the NAV of the collateral, as set forth in the credit agreement and related documentation. To meet the borrowing base test, this ratio must be less than or equal to 50%, as set forth in the credit agreement and related documentation. To meet the market value test, the value of WhiteHorse Credit’s portfolio investments must exceed a minimum of 165% of the aggregate outstanding amount of all Lender advances as set forth in the credit agreement and related documentation.
Advances under the Credit Facility are based on the one-month LIBOR plus an annual spread of 2.50%. Interest is payable quarterly in arrears. WhiteHorse Credit is required to pay a non-usage fee which accrues at 1.00% per annum (or 0.60% per annum with respect to any date in which the aggregated amount of outstanding borrowings is greater than 70.0% of the total commitments), on the average daily unused amount of the financing commitments, to the extent the aggregate principal amount available under the Credit Facility has not been borrowed. WhiteHorse Credit paid an upfront fee and incurred certain other customary costs and expenses in connection with obtaining the Credit Facility. Any amounts borrowed under the Credit Facility will mature, and all accrued and unpaid interest thereunder will be due and payable, on November 22, 2024.
The Credit Facility and the related documents require WhiteHorse Finance and WhiteHorse Credit to, among other things, agree to make certain customary representations and to comply with customary affirmative and negative covenants. The Credit Facility also includes customary events of default for credit facilities of this nature, including breaches of representations, warranties or covenants by WhiteHorse Finance or WhiteHorse Credit, the occurrence of a change in control, or failure to maintain certain required ratios.
If we fail to perform our obligations under the credit agreement or the related agreements, an event of default may occur under the Credit Facility, which could cause the Lender to accelerate all of the outstanding debt and other obligations under the Credit Facility or to exercise other remedies under the Credit Facility. Any such developments could have a material adverse effect on our financial conditions and results of operations.
If any of our contractual obligations discussed above is terminated, our costs under new agreements that we enter into may increase. In addition, we will likely incur significant time and expense in locating alternative parties to provide the services we expect to receive under our Investment Advisory Agreement and our Administration Agreement. Any new investment management agreement would also be subject to approval by our stockholders.
2020 Notes
On July 23, 2013, we completed a public offering of  $30.0 million of aggregate principal amount of the 2020 Notes, the net proceeds of which were used to reduce outstanding obligations under an unsecured term loan. Interest on the 2020 Notes had paid quarterly on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31, at an annual rate of 6.50%. On July 10, 2018, we notified American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC, the trustee of our 2020 Notes, of our election to redeem the $30 million of aggregate
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principal amount of the 2020 Notes outstanding, and instructed the trustee to provide notice of such redemption to the holders of the 2020 Notes in accordance with the terms of the indenture agreement under which the 2020 Notes were issued. The redemption was completed on August 9, 2018, and the 2020 Notes were delisted from the Nasdaq Global Select Market where they were previously listed under the symbol “WHFBL.”
Private Notes
On July 13, 2018, we entered into the Note Purchase Agreement, to sell in a private offering $30 million of aggregate principal amount of unsecured notes to qualified institutional investors in reliance on Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act. Interest on the Private Notes is payable semiannually on February 7 and August 7, at a fixed, annual rate of 6.00%. This interest rate is subject to increase (up to 6.50%) in the event that, subject to certain exceptions, the Private Notes cease to have an investment grade rating. The Private Notes mature on August 7, 2023, unless redeemed, purchased or prepaid prior to such date by us or our affiliates in accordance with their terms. The Private Notes are general unsecured obligations that rank pari passu with all outstanding and future unsecured unsubordinated indebtedness that we may issue. The closing of the transaction occurred on August 7, 2018. We used the net proceeds from this offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the 2020 Notes, as discussed above.
2025 Notes
On November 13, 2018, we completed a public offering of  $35.0 million of aggregate principal amount of unsecured notes, the net proceeds of which were used to fund investments in debt and equity securities and repay outstanding indebtedness under our revolving credit facility. Interest on the 2025 Notes is paid quarterly on February 28, May 31, August 31 and November 30 each year, at a fixed, annual rate of 6.50%. The 2025 Notes will mature on November 30, 2025 and may be redeemed in whole or in part at any time, or from time to time, at our option on or after November 30, 2021. The 2025 Notes will rank equally in right of payment with our other outstanding and future unsecured, unsubordinated indebtedness, including the Private Notes. The 2025 Notes will effectively rank behind all of our existing and future secured indebtedness (including indebtedness that is initially unsecured in respect of which we subsequently grant security) in right of payment, to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness, including our Credit Facility. The 2025 Notes are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the trading symbol “WHFBZ.”
Distributions
During the year ended December 31, 2019, we declared distributions of  $1.62 per share for total distributions of  $33.2 million. During the year ended December 31, 2018, we declared distributions of  $1.42 per share for total distributions of  $29.2 million. We monitor available net investment income to determine if a return of capital for taxation purposes may occur for the fiscal year.
To the extent our taxable earnings fall below the total amount of our distributions for a fiscal year, a portion of those distributions may be deemed a return of capital to our stockholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Thus, the source of a distribution to our stockholders may be the original capital invested by the stockholder rather than our income or gains. Notices to stockholders will be provided in accordance with Section 19(a) of the 1940 Act. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, distributions to stockholders did not include a return of capital, but did include approximately $26.0 million and $11.6 million, respectively, relating to long-term capital gains, for tax purposes. The specific tax characteristics of the distribution are reported to stockholders subject to tax reporting on Form 1099-DIV after the end of each calendar year and in our periodic reports with the SEC. Stockholders should read any written disclosure accompanying a distribution payment carefully and should not assume that the source of any distribution is our ordinary income or gains.
Portfolio Investments and Yield
Set forth below are our portfolio investments and yield for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018. For information regarding our portfolio investments and yields for the year ended December 31, 2017, see the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, as filed with the SEC on March 14, 2019.
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As of December 31, 2019, our investment portfolio consisted primarily of senior secured loans across 66 positions in 51 companies with an aggregate fair value of  $589.7 million. As of that date, the majority of our portfolio was comprised of senior secured loans to lower middle market borrowers and nearly all of those loans were variable-rate investments (primarily indexed to LIBOR) with the single fixed-rate loan investment representing 0% based on fair value. As of December 31, 2019, our portfolio had an average investment size of  $8.7 million (average debt investment size of  $10.2 million), with investment sizes ranging from zero to $26.3 million and a weighted average effective yield of 9.9% (and a weighted average effective yield on income-producing debt investments of 10.4%).
As of December 31, 2018, our investment portfolio consisted primarily of senior secured loans across 53 positions in 39 companies with an aggregate fair value of  $469.6 million. As of that date, the majority of our portfolio was comprised of senior secured loans to lower middle market borrowers and nearly all of those loans were variable-rate investments (primarily indexed to LIBOR) with the single fixed-rate loan investment representing less than 0.1% based on fair value. As of December 31, 2018, our portfolio had an average investment size of  $8.9 million (average debt investment size of  $10.1 million), with investment sizes ranging from less than $0.1 million to $24.7 million and a weighted average effective yield of 11.8% (and a weighted average effective yield on income-producing debt investments of 11.9%).
For the year ended December 31, 2019, we invested $363.2 million in new and existing portfolio companies, offset by repayments and sales of  $249.4 million. Repayments included $37.0 million of scheduled repayments and $147.7 million of unscheduled repayments.
For the year ended December 31, 2018, we invested $277.0 million in new and existing portfolio companies, offset by repayments and sales of  $285.8 million. Proceeds from sales totaled $70.4 million and repayments included $9.8 million of scheduled repayments and $205.6 million of unscheduled repayments.
We actively monitor and manage our portfolio with regard to individual company performance as well as general market conditions. Investment decisions on new originations generally include an analysis of the impact of the new loan on our broader portfolio, including a “top-down” assessment of portfolio diversification and risk exposure. This assessment includes a review of portfolio concentration by issuer, industry, geography and type of credit as well as an evaluation of our portfolio’s exposure to macroeconomic factors and cyclical trends.
We believe that consistent, active monitoring of individual companies and the broader market is integral to portfolio management and a critical component of our investment process. Our investment adviser uses several methods to evaluate and monitor the performance and fair value of our investments, which may include the following:

frequent discussions with management and sponsors, including board observation rights where possible;

comparing/analyzing financial performance to the portfolio company’s business plan, as well as our internal projections developed at underwriting;

tracking portfolio company compliance with covenants as well as other metrics identified at initial investment stage, such as acquisitions, divestitures, product development and specified management hires; and

periodic review by the investment committee of each asset in the portfolio and more rigorous monitoring of  “watch list” positions.
As part of the monitoring process, our investment adviser regularly assesses the risk profile of each of our investments and, on a quarterly basis, grades each investment on a risk scale of 1 to 5. This risk rating system is intended to identify and assess risks relative to when we initially made the investment and could be impacted by such factors as company-specific performance, changes in collateral, changes in potential exit opportunities or macroeconomic conditions.
All investments are initially assigned a rating of 2, as this grade represents a company that is meeting initial expectations with regard to performance and outlook. A rating may be improved to a 1 if, in the opinion of our investment adviser, a portfolio company’s risk of loss has been reduced relative to initial
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expectations. An investment will be assigned a rating of 3 if the risk of loss has increased relative to initial expectations and will be assigned a rating of 4 if our investment principal is at a material risk of not being fully repaid. A rating of 5 indicates an investment is in payment default and has significant risk of not receiving full repayment.
The following table shows the distribution of our investments on the 1 to 5 investment performance rating scale at fair value:
December 31, 2019
December 31, 2018
Investment Performance Rating
Investments at
Fair Value
Percentage of
Total
Portfolio
Investments at
Fair Value
Percentage of
Total
Portfolio
(Dollars in
Millions)
(Dollars in
Millions)
1
$ 13.4 2.3% $ 29.5 6.3%
2
491.4 83.3 376.3 80.1
3
77.2 13.1 63.7 13.6
4
0.1 0.0
5
7.7 1.3
Total Portfolio
$ 589.7 100.0% $ 469.6 100.0%
Inflation
Inflation has not had a significant effect on our results of operations in any of the reporting periods presented in our consolidated financial statements. However, from time to time, inflation may impact the operating results of our portfolio companies.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We may become a party to financial instruments with off-balance sheet risk in the normal course of our business to meet the financial needs of our portfolio companies. These instruments may include commitments to extend credit and involve elements of liquidity and credit risk in excess of the amount recognized on the statements of assets and liabilities. As of December 31, 2019, we had commitments to fund approximately $9.1 million of revolving lines of credit or delayed draw facilities to our portfolio companies. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we funded approximately $0.1 million, on a net basis, of commitments that were outstanding as of December 31, 2018. STRS JV had outstanding commitments to fund investments totaling $8.6 million under undrawn revolvers as of December  31, 2019. As of December 31, 2018, we had commitments to fund approximately $1.6 million of revolving lines of credit or delayed draw facilities. During the year ended December 31, 2018, we funded approximately $3.5 million, on a net basis, of commitments that were outstanding as of December 31, 2017. We reasonably believe that we have sufficient assets to adequately cover and allow us to satisfy our outstanding unfunded commitments.
Distributions
In order to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC and to avoid corporate-level tax on income, we must meet the Annual Distribution Requirement.
The timing and amount of our quarterly distributions, if any, are determined by our board of directors. While we intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution, 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 our distributions from time to time. In addition, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions due to the asset coverage requirements applicable to us as a business development company under the 1940 Act. If we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income annually, we will suffer adverse tax consequences, including the possible loss of our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC. We cannot assure stockholders that they will receive any distributions.
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We have adopted an “opt out” distribution reinvestment plan for our common stockholders. As a result, if we declare a distribution, then stockholders’ cash distributions will be automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock unless a stockholder specifically “opts out” of our distribution reinvestment plan. If a stockholder opts out, that stockholder receives cash distributions. Although distributions paid in the form of additional shares of our common stock will generally be subject to U.S. federal, state and local taxes in the same manner as cash distributions, stockholders participating in our distribution reinvestment plan will not receive any corresponding cash distributions with which to pay any such applicable taxes.
Contractual Obligations
A summary of our significant contractual payment obligations as of December 31, 2019 is as follows:
Payments Due by Period
Total
Less Than
1 Year
1 – 3 Years
3 – 5 Years
More Than
5 Years
(Dollars in millions)
Credit Facility
$ 238.9 $ $ $ 238.9 $
Private Notes
30.0 30.0
2025 Notes
35.0 35.0
Total contractual obligations
$ 303.9 $ $ $ 268.9 $ 35.0
As of December 31, 2019, we had $11.1 million of unused borrowing capacity under the Credit Facility.
We entered into the Investment Advisory Agreement with WhiteHorse Advisers in accordance with the 1940 Act. The Investment Advisory Agreement became effective upon the pricing of the IPO. Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, WhiteHorse Advisers manages our day-to-day investment operations and provides us with access to personnel and an investment committee and certain other resources so that we may fulfill our obligation to act as portfolio manager of WhiteHorse Credit under the Credit Facility. Payments under the Investment Advisory Agreement in future periods will be equal to (1) a management fee equal to a percentage of the value of our consolidated gross assets and (2) an incentive fee based on our performance. See “Business — Management Agreements — Investment Advisory Agreement.”
We also entered into the Administration Agreement with WhiteHorse Administration on December 4, 2012. Pursuant to the Administration Agreement, WhiteHorse Administration furnishes us with office facilities and administrative services necessary to conduct our day-to-day operations. WhiteHorse Administration also furnishes us with the resources necessary for us to act as portfolio manager to WhiteHorse Credit under the Credit Facility. If requested to provide managerial assistance to our portfolio companies, WhiteHorse Administration will be paid an additional amount based on the services provided, which amount will not, in any case, exceed the amount we receive from the portfolio companies for such services. Payments under the Administration Agreement will be based upon our allocable portion of WhiteHorse Administration’s overhead expenses in performing its obligations under the Administration Agreement, including rent and our allocable portion of the costs of our chief financial officer and chief compliance officer along with their respective staffs. See “Business — Management Agreements — Administration Agreement.”
Related Party Transactions
We have entered into a number of business relationships with affiliated or related parties, including the following:

WhiteHorse Advisers manages the day-to-day operations of, and provides investment management services to, us pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement.
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WhiteHorse Administration and certain of its affiliates provide us with the office facilities and administrative services, including access to the resources necessary for us to perform our obligations as portfolio manager of WhiteHorse Credit under the Credit Facility and for certain portfolio companies, pursuant to the Administration Agreement.

We entered into the License Agreement with an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital pursuant to which we have been granted a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use the “WhiteHorse” name.

Concurrent with the closing of our IPO, certain of our directors and officers, the managers of our investment adviser and their immediate family members or entities owned by, or family trusts for the benefit of, such persons, purchased an additional 472,673 shares through the Concurrent Private Placement for proceeds to us of approximately $7.1 million. We received the full proceeds from the sale of these shares, and no underwriting discounts or commissions were paid in respect of these shares.
WhiteHorse Advisers, WhiteHorse Administration or their respective affiliates may have other clients with similar, different or competing investment objectives. In serving in these multiple capacities, WhiteHorse Advisers, WhiteHorse Administration or their respective affiliates may have obligations to other clients or investors in those entities, the fulfillment of which may not be in the best interests of us or our stockholders. Such persons may face conflicts in the allocation of investment opportunities among us and other investment funds or accounts advised by or affiliated with WhiteHorse Advisers or WhiteHorse Administration. WhiteHorse Advisers or its affiliates will seek to allocate investment opportunities among eligible accounts in a manner that is fair and equitable over time and consistent with its allocation policy. However, we can offer no assurance that such opportunities will be allocated to us fairly or equitably in the short-term or over time.
We depend on the communications and information systems and policies of WhiteHorse Advisers and its affiliates as well as certain third-party service providers to monitor and prevent cybersecurity incidents. Our board of directors and management periodically review and assess the effectiveness of such communications and information systems and policies.
Critical Accounting Policies
The preparation of our financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. Changes in the economic environment, financial markets and any other parameters used in determining such estimates could cause actual results to differ. We have identified the following as critical accounting policies.
Principles of Consolidation
Under the investment company financial accounting guidance, as formally codified in Accounting Standards Codification, or ASC, Topic 946, Financial Services — Investment Companies, we are precluded from consolidating any entity other than another investment company. As provided under ASC Topic 946, we generally consolidate any investment company when we own 100% of its partners’ or members’ capital or equity units. We own a 100% equity interest in each of WhiteHorse Credit and WhiteHorse Finance Warehouse, LLC, or WhiteHorse Warehouse, which are investment companies for accounting purposes. As such, we have consolidated the accounts of WhiteHorse Credit (and its wholly owned subsidiary, WhiteHorse California) and WhiteHorse Warehouse into our financial statements. As a result of this consolidation, the amount outstanding under the Credit Facility is treated as our indebtedness.
Valuation of Portfolio Investments
We value our investments in accordance with ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures. ASC Topic 820 defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value and expands disclosures about assets and liabilities measured at fair value. ASC Topic 820’s definition of fair value focuses on exit price in the principal, or most advantageous, market and prioritizes the use of market-based inputs over entity-specific inputs within a measurement of fair value.
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Our portfolio consists primarily of debt investments. These investments are valued at their bid quotations obtained from unaffiliated market makers or other financial institutions that trade in similar investments or based on prices provided by independent third party pricing services. For investments where there are no available bid quotations, fair value is derived using proprietary models that consider the analyses of independent valuation agents as well as credit risk, liquidity, market credit spreads and other applicable factors for similar transactions.
Due to the nature of our strategy, our portfolio includes relatively illiquid investments that are privately held. Valuations of privately held investments are inherently uncertain, may fluctuate over short periods of time and may be based on estimates. The determination of fair value may differ materially from the values that would have been used if a ready market for these investments existed. Our NAV could be materially affected if the determinations regarding the fair value of our investments were materially higher or lower than the values that we ultimately realize upon the disposal of such investments.
Our board of directors is ultimately responsible for determining the fair value of the portfolio investments that are not publicly traded, whose market prices are not readily available on a quarterly basis in good faith or any other situation where portfolio investments require a fair value determination. Our board of directors has retained one or more independent valuation firms to review the valuation of each portfolio investment that does not have a readily available market quotation at least once during each 12-month period. Independent valuation firms retained by our board of directors provide a valuation review on approximately 25% of our investments for which market quotations are not readily available each quarter to ensure that the fair value of each investment for which a market quote is not readily available is reviewed by an independent valuation firm at least once during each 12-month period. However, our board of directors does not intend to have de minimis investments of less than 1.5% of our total assets (up to an aggregate of 10% of our total assets) independently reviewed.
The valuation process is conducted at the end of each fiscal quarter, with a portion of our valuations of portfolio companies without market quotations subject to review by one or more independent valuation firms each quarter. When an external event occurs with respect to one of our portfolio companies, such as a purchase transaction, public offering or subsequent equity sale occurs, we expect to use the pricing indicated by such external event to corroborate our valuation.
With respect to investments for which market quotations are not readily available, our board of directors undertakes a multi-step valuation process each quarter, as described below:

Our quarterly valuation process begins with each portfolio company or investment valuation being initially reviewed by investment professionals of our investment adviser responsible for credit monitoring.

Preliminary valuation conclusions are then documented and discussed with our investment committee and our investment adviser.

The audit committee of the board of directors reviews these preliminary valuations.

At least once annually, the valuation for each significant portfolio investment is reviewed by an independent valuation firm.

The board of directors discusses valuations and determines the fair value of each investment in our portfolio in good faith.
Fair value of publicly traded instruments is generally based on quoted market prices. Fair value of non-publicly traded instruments, and of publicly traded instruments for which quoted market prices are not readily available, may be determined based on other relevant factors, including without limitation, quotations from unaffiliated market makers or independent third party pricing services, the price activity of equivalent instruments and valuation pricing models. For those investments valued using quotations, the bid price is generally used unless we determine that it is not representative of an exit price.
Fair value is the price that would be received in the sale of an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. Where available, fair value is based on observable market prices or parameters, or derived from such prices or parameters. Where
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observable prices or inputs are not available, valuation models are applied. These valuation models involve some level of management estimation and judgment, the degree of which is dependent on the price transparency for the instruments or market and the instruments’ complexity. Our fair value analysis includes an analysis of the value of any unfunded loan commitments. Financial investments recorded at fair value in the consolidated financial statements are categorized for disclosure purposes based upon the level of judgment associated with the inputs used to measure their value. The valuation hierarchical levels are based upon the transparency of the inputs to the valuation of the investment as of the measurement date. The three levels are defined as follows:
Level 1:   Quoted prices (unadjusted) for identical assets or liabilities in active public markets that the entity has the ability to access as of the measurement date.
Level 2:   Significant other observable inputs other than Level 1 prices such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities; quoted prices in markets that are not active; or other inputs that are observable or can be corroborated by observable market data.
Level 3:   Significant unobservable inputs that reflect a reporting entity’s own assumptions about what market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability.
Investments for which fair value is determined using inputs defined above as Level 3 are fair valued using the income and market approaches, which may include the discounted cash flow method, reference to performance statistics of industry comparables, relative comparable yield analysis and, in certain cases, third party valuations performed by independent valuation firms. The valuation methods can reference various factors and use various inputs such as assumed growth rates, capitalization rates and discount rates, loan-to-value ratios, liquidation value, relative capital structure priority, market comparables, compliance with applicable loan, covenant and interest coverage performance, book value, market derived multiples, reserve valuation, assessment of credit ratings of an underlying borrower, review of ongoing performance, review of financial projections as compared to actual performance, review of interest rate and yield risk. Such factors may be given different weighting depending on our assessment of the underlying investment, and we may analyze apparently comparable investments in different ways.
In certain cases, the inputs used to measure fair value may fall into different levels of the fair value hierarchy. In such cases, a financial instrument’s categorization within the fair value hierarchy is based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. Our assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment, and considers factors specific to the financial instrument.
Fair value for each investment is derived using a combination of valuation methodologies that, in the judgment of the investment committee of the Investment Adviser are most relevant to such investment, including being based on one or more of the following: (i) market prices obtained from market makers for which the investment committee has deemed there to be enough breadth (number of quotes) and depth (firm bids) to be indicative of fair value, (ii) the price paid or realized in a completed transaction or binding offer received in an arms’-length transaction, (iii) a discounted cash flow analysis, (iv) the guideline public company method, (v) the similar transaction method or (vi) the option pricing method.
Investment Transactions and Related Investment Income and Expense
We record our investment transactions on a trade date basis, which is the date when we have determined that all material terms have been defined for the transactions. These transactions could possibly settle on a subsequent date depending on the transaction type. All related revenue and expenses attributable to these transactions are reflected on our consolidated statements of operations commencing on the trade date unless otherwise specified by the transaction documents. Realized gains and losses on investment transactions are recorded on the specific identification method.
We accrue interest income if we expect that ultimately we will be able to collect it. Generally, when an interest payment default occurs on a loan in our portfolio, or if our management otherwise believes that the issuer of the loan will not be able to service the loan and other obligations, we place the loan on non-accrual status and will cease recognizing interest income on that loan until all principal and interest is current through payment or until a restructuring occurs, such that the interest income is deemed to be
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collectible. However, we remain contractually entitled to this interest. We may make exceptions to this policy if the loan has sufficient collateral value and is in the process of collection. Accrued interest is written off when it becomes probable that such interest will not be collected and the amount of uncollectible interest can be reasonably estimated. Any original issue discount as well as any other market purchase discount or premium on debt investments, are accreted or amortized to interest income or expense, respectively, over the maturity periods of the investments. Dividend income is recorded on the record date for private portfolio companies or on the ex-dividend date for publicly traded portfolio companies.
Interest expense is recorded on an accrual basis. Certain expenses related to legal and tax consultation, due diligence, rating fees, valuation expenses and independent collateral appraisals may arise when we make certain investments. These expenses are recognized in the consolidated statements of operations as they are incurred.
Loan Origination, Facility, Commitment and Amendment Fees
We may receive fees in addition to interest income from the loans during the life of the investment. We may receive origination fees upon the origination of an investment. We defer these origination fees and deduct them from the cost basis of the investment and subsequently accrete them into income over the term of the loan. We may receive facility, commitment and amendment fees, which are paid to us on an ongoing basis. We accrue facility fees, sometimes referred to as asset management fees, as a percentage periodic fee on the base amount (either the funded facility amount or the committed principal amount). Commitment fees are based upon the undrawn portion committed by us and we record them on an accrual basis. Amendment fees are paid in connection with loan amendments and waivers and we account for them upon completion of the amendments or waivers, generally when such fees are receivable. We include any such fees in fee income on the consolidated statements of operations.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements, which discusses recent accounting pronouncements applicable to us.
Item 7A.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
We are subject to financial market risks, including changes in interest rates. During the period covered by our financial statements, many of the loans in our portfolio had floating interest rates, and we expect that many of our loans to portfolio companies in the future will also have floating interest rates. These loans are usually based on a floating rate based on LIBOR that resets quarterly to the applicable LIBOR. Interest rate fluctuations may have a substantial negative impact on our investments, the value of our common stock and our rate of return on invested capital. Since we plan to use debt to finance investments, our net investment income will depend, in part, upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the rate at which we invest those funds. As a result, we can offer no assurance that a significant change in market interest rates will not have a material adverse effect on our net investment income.
Assuming that the consolidated statement of financial condition as of December 31, 2019 were to remain constant and that we took no actions to alter our existing interest rate sensitivity, the following table shows the annualized impact of hypothetical base rate changes in interest rates (dollars in thousands):
Basis point Increase (Decrease)
Increase (Decrease)
in Interest Income
Increase (Decrease)
in Interest Expense
Net Increase
(Decrease)
(100)
$ (4,588) (2,389) (2,199)
100
6,225 2,389 3,836
200
12,127 4,778 7,347
300
18,028 7,167 10,861
400
23,930 9,557 14,373
500
29,832 11,946 17,886
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As of December 31, 2019, 95.3% of the floating rate investments in our portfolio had interest rate floors. Variable-rate investments subject to a floor generally reset periodically to the applicable floor and, in the case of investments in our portfolio, quarterly to a floor based on LIBOR, only if the floor exceeds the index. Under these loans, we do not benefit from increases in interest rates until such rates exceed the floor and thereafter benefit from market rates above any such floor. For a discussion of the risks associated with the discontinuation of LIBOR, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business and Structure — Since we are using debt to finance our investments, and we may use additional debt or preferred stock financing going forward, changes in interest rates may affect our cost of capital, net investment income, value of our common stock and our rate of return on invested capital.”
Although management believes that this analysis is indicative of our existing sensitivity to interest rate changes, it does not adjust for changes in the credit markets, the size, credit quality or composition of the assets in our portfolio and other business developments, including borrowing, that could affect net increase in net assets resulting from operations or net income. It also does not adjust for the effect of the time-lag between a change in the relevant interest rate index and the rate adjustment under the applicable loan. Accordingly, we can offer no assurances that actual results would not differ materially from the statement above.
We may in the future hedge against interest rate fluctuations by using standard hedging instruments such as futures, options and forward contracts to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act and applicable commodities laws. While hedging activities may insulate us against adverse changes in interest rates, they may also limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to the investments in our portfolio with fixed interest rates.
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Item 8.
Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
85
87
88
89
90
91
102
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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
Shareholders and the Board of Directors
of WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.
Miami, Florida
Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting
We have audited the accompanying consolidated statements of assets and liabilities, including the consolidated schedules of investments, of WhiteHorse Finance, Inc. (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in net assets, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2019, and the related notes and the consolidated financial highlights for each of the five years in the period then ended (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework: (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).
In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, and the results of its operations, the changes in its net assets and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2019 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework: (2013) issued by COSO.
Basis for Opinions
The Company’s management is responsible for these financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements and an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audits of the financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. 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 audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. These procedures include confirmation of investments owned as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, by correspondence with the custodian, loan agent, borrower and other auditing procedures where replies were not received. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
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
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control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) 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 (3) 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/ Crowe LLP
Crowe LLP
As a result of affiliated fund relationships, we have served as auditor since 2006.
New York, New York
March 16, 2020
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WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities
(in thousands, except share and per share data)
December 31,
2019
December 31,
2018
Assets
Investments, at fair value
Non-controlled/non-affiliate company investments
$ 546,744 $ 459,399
Non-controlled affiliate company investments
9,651 10,165
Controlled affiliate company investments
33,293
Total investments, at fair value (amortized cost $597,725 and $477,839, respectively)
589,688 469,564
Cash and cash equivalents
4,294 24,148
Restricted cash and cash equivalents
23,252 9,584
Interest receivable
6,010 4,616
Amounts receivable on unsettled investment transactions
360 5,608
Prepaid expenses and other receivables
7,620 575
Total assets
$ 631,224 $ 514,095
Liabilities
Debt
$ 298,924 $ 175,953
Distributions payable
7,294 7,294
Management fees payable
8,290 11,193
Amounts payable on unsettled investment transactions
445
Interest payable
1,674 1,562
Accounts payable and accrued expenses
1,944 2,322
Advances received from unfunded credit facilities
143 30
Total liabilities
318,269 198,799
Commitments and contingencies (See Note 7)
Net assets
Common stock, 20,546,032 and 20,546,032 shares issued and outstanding, par
value $0.001 per share, respectively, and 100,000,000 shares authorized
21 21
Paid-in capital in excess of par
300,744 301,557
Accumulated undistributed (overdistributed) earnings
12,190 13,718
Total net assets
312,955 315,296
Total liabilities and total net assets
$ 631,224 $ 514,095
Number of shares outstanding
20,546,032 20,546,032
Net asset value per share
$ 15.23 $ 15.35
See notes to consolidated financial statements
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WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Operations
(in thousands, except share and per share data)
Years ended December 31,
2019
2018
2017
Investment income
From non-controlled/non-affiliate company investments
Interest income
$ 56,566 $ 56,208 $ 49,233
Fee income
8,398 4,906 2,858
From non-controlled affiliate company investments
Dividend income
1,173 2,132 2,713
From controlled affiliate company investments
Interest income
936
Total investment income
67,073 63,246 54,804
Expenses
Interest expense
13,468 11,599 9,811
Base management fees
11,300 10,511 9,508
Performance-based incentive fees
7,710 12,134 6,553
Administrative service fees
646 684 696
General and administrative expenses
2,337 2,646 2,024
Total expenses, before fees waived
35,461 37,574 28,592
Base management fees waived
(397) (270)
Total expenses, net of fees waived
35,064 37,304 28,592
Net investment income before excise tax
32,009 25,942 26,212
Excise tax
813 942
Net investment income after excise tax
31,196 25,000 26,212
Realized and unrealized gains (losses) on investments and foreign
currency transactions
Net realized gains (losses)
Non-controlled/non-affiliate company investments
(409) (216) 108
Non-controlled affiliate company investments
32,950
Foreign currency transactions
1
Net realized gains (losses)
(408) 32,734 108
Net change in unrealized appreciation (depreciation)
Non-controlled/non-affiliate company investments
388 (5,136) (1,620)
Non-controlled affiliate company investments
(514) 4,703 9,748
Controlled affiliate company investments
363
Translation of assets and liabilities in foreign currencies
(184)
Net change in unrealized appreciation (depreciation)
53 (433) 8,128
Net realized and unrealized gains (losses) on investments and foreign currency transactions
(355) 32,301 8,236
Net increase in net assets resulting from operations
$ 30,841 $ 57,301 $ 34,448
Per Common Share Data
Basic and diluted earnings per common share
$ 1.50 $ 2.79 $ 1.77
Dividends and distributions declared per common share
$ 1.62 $ 1.42 $ 1.42
Basic and diluted weighted average common shares outstanding
20,546,032 20,538,971 19,433,003
See notes to consolidated financial statements
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WhiteHorse Finance, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Net Assets
(in thousands, except share and per share data)
Common Stock
Paid-in
Capital in
Excess of
Par
Accumulated
Undistributed
(Overdistributed)
Earnings
Total Net
Assets
Shares
Par
amount
Balance at December 31, 2016
18,303,890 $ 18 $ 272,242 $ (22,871) $ 249,389
Stock issued in connection with public offering
2,200,000 2 30,285 30,287