Turnaround Investing Blog

George Putnam, one of the country's leading turnaround and distressed investing professionals, shares his timely insight on the economy and turnaround investing opportunities.

Bankruptcy/Chapter 11 / Bonds

Four Big Recent Bankruptcies: Harbingers of More to Come?

After a long dry spell with few significant bankruptcies, we’ve seen four large public companies file for Chapter 11 protection in the last three weeks: MF Global Holdings (total assets of $40.5 billion) on October 31, Syms (assets of $271million) on November 2, Dynegy Holdings (assets of $9.9 billion) on November 7 and General Maritime (assets of $1.8 billion) on November 17. Taken together, these four filings represent more assets going into Chapter 11 than all of the other bankruptcies over the preceding 19+ months combined.

Each of these bankruptcies has its own unique causes, and there are few, if any, common threads among them. Nonetheless, these four high profile Chapter 11 cases could be significant just because they have gotten people thinking about bankruptcy again. We’ve been through a nearly two-year period when it’s almost been hard for large companies to fail because so much liquidity has been available from Wall Street. These four big cases serve to remind both debtors and creditors that bankruptcy is an option--and often the preferred option. As a result, we could see more significant Chapter 11 filings in the months ahead.

Moreover, each of these recent bankruptcies has its own potential investment opportunities and pitfalls. We plan to discuss the investment considerations in these four bankruptcies in the upcoming December issue.

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IBM: Not Yet Time to Swing at this Pitch

IBM’s stock underperformance since IBM’s current CEO took the helm in 2012 has been stark, with the shares declining 23% while the S&P500 Index has more than doubled. One big problem: revenue growth rate is zero, at best. Without revenue growth, what’s left to entice investors? The real driver of value at IBM – free cash flow that is used to repurchase shares. Can IBM borrow its way to shareholder prosperity as its cash flows shrink? What to do with IBM shares? Wait for a better pitch in the form of a catalyst or much lower valuation. Read More.

Comparing Stocks Vs. Bonds

While the common stock of a turnaround candidate usually has the greatest upside potential, other classes of securities, such as bonds or preferred stock, may offer attractive profit possibilities with less risk. Many turnaround companies have only one class of securities available to investors but where there are different classes to choose from, it can pay to do a little extra analysis of the various options.

Read More.

Turnaround Letter Stock Pick Named Top Performer of 2017

 

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What Last Year's Top Stock Pickers Are Buying in 2018

 

This Forbes write-up follows up on the recent Top Stock Tips report--naming The Turnaround Letter's Crocs recommendation the top performer of 2017: With 90% gains, CROX beat out 100 other investment ideas included in the report; and the stock continues to have value investing appeal, according to Putnam.

 

George notes, "We see additional upside for the stock in 2018 as management's efforts continue to bear fruit, though the gains will likely be more muted than we saw in 2017."