Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Or add to your news reader: Add to My Yahoo! Add to Google

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Caterpillar. That's right. Caterpillar.

I don't often write about stocks outside of technology except when I'm ranting about the collapse of the financial system. Since this relates to CAT's financing operations, I figured I'd rant a little.

I recently went into the SEC database and did a keyword scan of a number of permutations of factoring receivables. This is a common industry practice in retail. It's also been a very common business for semiconductor capital equipment companies in the past. Factoring receivables is when you're owed a bunch of money and you sell the receivable to someone else at a discount to generate cash for operations. Instead of you waiting to get paid, the party that ultimately buys the receivable waits to get paid. My thought was if banks are having trouble borrowing from each other, trying to sell accounts receivable has to be almost impossible.

Caterpillar and Deere came up as pretty frequent and large factorers. As both companies are leveraged to the construction market and commodity prices through their farming units, they seem like they're very vulnerable to the current environment.

CAT says accounts past due over 30 days spiked from 2.5% to 3.6% in the current quarter. That could be the beginning of a big problem for them. If credit quality is deteriorating and they're reliant on markets widely perceived to be under significant pressure, credit rating downgrades can't be far behind and that could send their financing operations into a tailspin.

I'm short some CAT.

No comments:

Blog Archive