DEFINITION of 'Highly Leveraged Transaction - HLT'

A bank loan to a highly leveraged company. HLTs can be thought of as similar to junk bonds as they both face default risk, but HLTs are more secure and have stronger debt covenants due to their structure.

HLT guidelines are set out by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

BREAKING DOWN 'Highly Leveraged Transaction - HLT'

For a loan to be classified as an HLT it must meet the following guidelines:

· loan financing used for buyouts, acquisitions and recapitalizations.
· loan financing which doubles the borrower's liabilities and results in a
leverage ratio greater than 50% or increase the leverage ratio higher than 75%.
· loan financing designated as an HLT by the syndication agent.
· loan financing to subsidiaries of highly leveraged companies, even if the subsidiary
does not meet the other HLT definitions.

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