Friday, June 17, 2022

Cosmetic Giant Revlon Files for Bankruptcy

I am sad to read that U.S. cosmetic giant Revlon has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection [news]. The company had buckled under a combined debt of US$3.7 billion, with an asset total of only US$2.3 billion.

I remember Revlon because I had often seen their commercials on the television during my younger days.

This is another sombre lesson why investors need to watch the right side of companies' balance sheet carefully. It is even more critical now as central banks around the world are starting to hike interest rates, meaning the financing expense for companies will only grow larger.

Personally, I have been burnt by my investment in Hyflux's perpetual bonds because I did not pay attention to the company's financial health when I first subscribed for the security. Had I bothered to scrutinise the numbers, I should have caught a few red flags. Oh well.

This also drove my preference now for companies with little or no debt. At the least, the company should have sufficient cash and marketable securities to cover their total liabilities.

Do pay attention to the fundamentals of the companies you are investing. A bit of homework can potentially save you money, and some heartache.

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