Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 2
What are Fools thinking about Calpine now? Are you waiting before buying? Are you holding your breath until the bankruptcy goes through?

Absolutely not. I need the oxygen. ;-)

I just can't believe that a company the size of Calpine has a stock price so low.

Apparently you have never heard of Enron!

I realize it is probably going into Chapter 11 very soon, but once it comes out, don't you think someone will buy it quickly or it will recover under new management?

ASSUMING that it "comes out" at all. Calpine is full to the brim of trouble. Any company with enough resources to buy another company can choose from other candidates with less baggage and more promise.

What are you thinking about it? Are you thinking it's a bargain, or are you waiting until something positive happens?

I guess you have not read this board at all. The most positive possible things have already happened to this company: the departures of its two top executives and many of its board members. Other than discovering a diamond mine on one of its properties, I can't think of any other magic cures for its problems. Check back in about 3 years.

When I look at a company with $27B in assets, $22B in debt, that leaves $5B in shareholder's equity. And the market cap is $173M?????

Slim, you have now joined a dubious list of newcomers to the Calpine board who fiddle around with the company's numbers and think that they've discovered hidden value that the rest of Wall Street is too stupid to have seen.

Read the board. Among other things, you'll find messages from me quoting Morningstar, whose stock analyst has given Calpine a "fair value" of less than 25 cents for about a year now. Most recently, he lowered it to zero. The stock price is low because it should be low.

What gives? If you sold the company and cashed in the assets, paid off the debts, you'd have $8/share left over.

There are a million answers to this. One is that your numbers are probably wrong, especially if they come from Calpine itself. Second, you should know, just from reading the past few months of news about this company, that when it sells *anything*, its use of the sale proceeds are constrained by numerous liens and other legal obligations.

Another reply has already mentioned valuations being skewed. Again, if you read the past few months of news, you'll see that two power plants they sold in 2005 were sold *at a loss*, and those losses lowered the company's EBITDA. Chances are that this scenario would happen over and over if they had tried to do what you describe.

Like I said, the company is in this situation for many reasons, and most people think that it is long overdue. If the company had reorganized two years ago, perhaps it could have salvaged more value for bondholders, and even stockholders. By waiting so long, they just let the wounds fester and the legal problems mount.

You gotta get past the idea that a low-priced stock is automatically inexpensive. When the stock was around $3.00 -- a couple of months ago -- I suggested that anybody owning Calpine should sell it, and for every 100 shares of it, they could buy 1 share of Google (GOOG), which cost about $300. Was Google "expensive" at $300? Nope. Anybody who had taken my suggestion would be up more than 25% right now, because GOOG is over $400. If they sat on Calpine instead, they lost about 90%.

Hope this helps explain things.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.