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Review of AutoCanada Inc

AUG 14, 2019 - Despite management efforts, AutoCanada has had trouble getting back to past levels since the slowdown in Alberta. Coverage dropped as it slipped investor radars.

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Q: I have had the impression rightly or wrongly that you arenít buying into the current narrative that interest rates might stay higher for longer? Just supposing they do stay elevated for some time, are there any companies in your universe that you may have been previously positive on whose debt levels might give you pause under the higher for longer scenario? Iíll use EIF just as an example. Is it something you could run a screen on just to highlight some companies that you think could bear a closer watch under such a scenario? It always seems to me that when a company has an issue (Nuvei being a recent example), itís always a suddenly too high debt ratio that ultimately takes them down (or at least keeps them from recovering). Appreciate your thoughts as always.

Read Answer Asked by Stephen R. on August 23, 2023

Q: If you held the following smaller cap stocks in positions of 0.5% to 1.0% of your total stock portfolio, and wanted to reduce the number of holdings by selling several of them and using the money to add to others, which ones would you sell and which ones would you add to: ACQ, ADEN, AEP, AND, CHW, CJ, DCM, ECN, GEO, HPS.A, LNF, NOA, PRL, QIPT, RCH, RET.A, SFC, STLC, SVI, TVE, WELL, XTC. Assume overall portfolio is well diversified so sectors not a consideration, and that this is the riskier part of portfolio, so, higher risk is fine. Would be great if you could pare this list of 22 stocks down to about 10-15. Thanks.

Read Answer Asked by Dan on April 24, 2023

Q: I noticed something in your answer to a question asked by Dan (not me) on Mar 10th about AutoCanada (ACQ). You said that ACQ has $1.9 billion of debt and that it was a major concern. Looking at their financial statements and the press release pertaining to the quarterly report, I think some clarification is in order. In the press release, ACQ states that their net indebtedness is $443.8 million at year end, and that, quote:

"our net indebtedness leverage ratio1 of 2.1x remained well below our target range at the end of Q4 2022".

Quite a substantial difference between their number and the $1.9 billion you mention. Looking at the financial statements, the difference comes from your number including the floorplan financing of approx $1 billion, which is something dealerships use to finance their inventory and is paid back as cars sell, and leases of approx $500 million.

Management seems to feel their debt levels are OK. Wondering if your comment that the debt is a "major concern" is somewhat overstating things.

Read Answer Asked by Dan on March 13, 2023
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