Most junk-bond investors can’t sell their energy-related holdings fast enough. Then there’s Matt Eagan.

The money manager at Loomis Sayles & Co. is going the other way, buying debt in an industry where an alarming number of borrowers increasingly can’t meet their obligations. He’s lured to yields that have surged to the highest since 2009 on the speculative-grade securities of oil and gas companies -- in some cases to over 30 percent.

“You’re already getting compensated for a very high level of defaults,” Eagan, whose Boston-based firm oversees $242 billion, said in an interview. “Your upside to downside looks pretty attractive.”

He declined to be specific about the individual bonds he was buying since he was currently active making trades. The $21.3 billion Loomis Sayles Bond Fund, which Eagan helps manage, has performed better than 95 percent of its peers over the past five years, Bloomberg data show.

The fate of the most-indebted energy companies, which have sold record amounts of bonds in the past six years, has been heavily linked to oil prices that have plummeted 60 percent since last year’s peak.

August’s trailing 12-month default rate on high-yield energy companies is now at 3 percent and could rise to 4 percent, more than double the historic average of 1.9 percent, Fitch Ratings said in a note Thursday.

Surging Yields

“The worst for energy and metals/mining has not necessarily passed,” wrote Eric Rosenthal, Fitch’s senior director of leveraged finance.

Pretty much in line with that, yields on $212 billion of U.S. energy junk bonds have surged to 11.8 percent as of Wednesday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data show.

The carnage is much more pronounced at companies such as Energy XXI Ltd., the Houston, Texas-based explorer and producer of oil and natural gas, which is offering 42 percent for $4.1 billion of bonds, and Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy Inc., which focuses on natural gas, at 33 percent for $4.4 billion of notes.

Not all energy bonds are attractive to Eagan, who emphasized the importance of researching each company that may seem like a good investment. A bunch of the borrowers are going to default on their debt. Some, however, have enough staying power that even if they do file for bankruptcies, the recoveries from their assets will be substantial.

“I’m OK with looking foolish in the short term,” Eagan said. “What I don’t want are permanent capital losses.”