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General Electric Bankrupt 2011

January 7, 2011 Comments off

The numbers are staggering! Over $660 Billion in debt. That is almost the entire US federal bail out package that was passed during the financial crisis last year. All for one, albeit very large, company. That company is General Electric. GE has over 300,000 employees and operates in more than 100 countries. Can it really go bankrupt? The answer is yes!

GE seems to have a history of building debt obligations. GE’s long-term asset base grew $200 billion (or 30%) between 2003 and 2008 when prices were at their highest. Now GE is attempting to sell off many of those assets (when prices are low, but they are desperate for cash so they are forced to sell). In the near term GE has to repay or refinance $240 Billion before the end of 2011.

In March of last year GE lost their prized AAA credit rating from Standard and Poor rating agency. Other agencies have them ranked much lower. John Atkins, a fixed-income analyst at IDEAGlobal.com, said “it remained unclear what the impact will be on GE’s borrowing costs. Even with the ‘AAA’ credit rating, the cost of insuring debt of GE Capital had been in distressed territory recently.” This is a dramatic understatement. In fact, last year, the U.S. government had to guarantee $500 billion in GE’s debt. GE’s interest on its debts are about to soar.

As Porter Stansberry said in November of 2009, with the guarantee, GE only spent roughly $17 billion last year to service its $660+ Billion in debt. That’s an annualized interest rate of 2.5%. This is not sustainable. Sooner or later, GE is going to have to pay a market interest rate. The government guarantee expires in 2011 and that is when you can expect costs to soar.

Currently, the yield on high-yield corporate debt is around 10%. GE is now rated two slots above “junk” by Egan Jones. Assuming that GE could still qualify as an investment-grade credit – (since there is some discrepancy between ratings agencies) GE would pay something like 8% on its debt in a free market.

That would cost more than $52 billion a year. Last year, GE earned $11 billion before interest and taxes – in total. That’s not nearly enough money to pay the interest on its debts – whether they’re backed by the government or not.

Check back tomorrow and I’ll show you one way to play General Electric that has already earned 40% returns in just 2 weeks, but has much more to go.

Ross Williams