Americanas (AMER3): share rises 6.25% after publishing adjusted results for 2021 and 2022; What are the retailer’s next steps?

Despite the low face value of the assets, which makes variations in cents turn into large percentage variations, the performance of Americanas’ assets (AMER3), in judicial recovery, at the session may have surprised a good number of investors.

The shares closed with gains of 6.25%, at R$0.85, after a maximum of R$0.89 (+11.25%) after the presentation of the balance sheets for 2021 and 2022, in addition to projections for 2025.

This is because, after a series of postponements, the company revised its net profit of R$544 million recorded in 2021 for a loss of R$6.2 billion. The company also calculated the negative result for 2022 at R$12.9 billion.

Last year’s loss was due to “weak operational performance, high financial expenses and relevant extraordinary launches”, stated the company, reaffirming that it was “the victim of a sophisticated fraud”, despite the previous management being under the command of the retail chain for around two decades.

However, it is worth noting that the disclosure of balance sheets is important for Americanas’ main creditors – which include banks such as Bradesco (BBDC4), Bank of Brazil (BBAS3), BTG Pactual (BPAC11), Itaú Unibanco (ITUB4) and Santander Brasil (SANB11) – can continue discussions to approve the company’s judicial recovery plan.

The proposal currently foresees a capitalization of R$12 billion in cash in the company by the so-called “reference shareholders”, the trio of billionaires Jorge Paulo Lemann, Carlos Sicupira and Marcel Telles.

Americanas, responsible for one of the largest requests for judicial recovery in the history of Brazil, also revised the operating result measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 2021 of around R$2.1 billion positive for Negative R$3.4 billion. In recurring terms, Ebitda in 2021 went from positive R$2.3 billion to negative R$1.8 billion.

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The 2022 EBITDA was negative at R$6.2 billion, with the recurring EBITDA being R$2.9 billion, also negative.

According to the company, “the numbers in the financial statements also now reflect the most realistic and transparent estimate of the realization of the company’s assets and liabilities, with the need for adjustments and additional provisions”.

The company also released projections for 2025, taking into account possible approval of the judicial recovery plan currently being negotiated with the company’s main creditors.

According to Americanas, the expectation is for EBITDA of more than R$2.2 billion in 2025, with leverage measured by the net debt/EBITDA ratio of less than 0.75 times.

The company stated that the company’s “strategic” recovery plan is focused “on the strength and resilience of the physical channel, complemented by the operational excellence of digital”, in a similar way to rivals such as Casas Bahia (BHIA3) e Magazine Luiza (MGLU3), who have been focusing their efforts for some years now on complementing physical store operations with efficiencies generated by online operations.

Americanas also stated that the plan will be complemented by a “portfolio of customized financial services from (fintech) Ame and the diversity of media in our advertising area to generate a consistent package of deliveries to our customers and partners”, also from similar way with rival efforts.

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The chain also states that it hopes that with the actions “it will be ready to renew its relevant role in Brazilian retail”, despite national retail being pressured by the growth of international groups such as Shopee and Aliexpress in an environment of low growth and still high interest rates. .

Americanas ended 2022 with net debt of R$26.3 billion, growth of more than R$12 billion compared to 2021, and negative net equity of R$26.7 billion. Even so, the company expects to return to positive equity by the end of 2025.

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According to the company, BDO RCS provided external audit services for the 2022 financial year and re-presentation of comparative information for 2021. Before the crisis in the company, PwC provided services to Americanas.

In the view of strategist Filipe Villegas, from Genial Investimentos, the release of data “ends up, in quotation marks, being ‘positive’”, as the market is able to calculate it. “As bad as this was, very bad, I see that the market, if it wants, can look at the glass as half full in the sense that I already know the size of the hole, I already know the size of the loss and now, from here moving forward, how big is the challenge”, he stated.

“We see that this appreciation is the result of market expectations with the restructuring plan”, said analyst Luis Novaes, from Terra Investimentos, to Reuters. “Some investors may be seeing potential in the company, considering its current price level and thus decide to enter this risky investment.”

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He highlighted, however, that there are still many uncertainties to project any recovery for the company and, even at the current level at which the asset is traded, he sees an investment in the company as risky.

Fernando Ferrer, analyst at Empiricus Research, also highlights the best view with the closed balance sheet for 2022. “There was a loss of 12.9 billion in 2022 and 6.2 billion in 2021, that is, more than R$19 billion in these two years, in addition to a net debt of 26.3 billion. So, obviously, a very difficult situation,” he points out.

However, there is an important point. According to a report in the newspaper ‘Valor Econômico’, Americanas and its creditor banks must reach an agreement within 15 days. According to analysts, two points will be analyzed carefully: the debt condition and the company’s leverage

“One of the banks’ demands is that the balance sheets for 2021 and 2022 be closed. With this disclosure, even with terrible numbers, there is progress. We were able to see a light at the end of the tunnel and the banks agreeing to reach an agreement, with a capitalization of R$12 billion from the reference shareholders”, he assesses.

Furthermore, when looking at the published projections for both EBITDA and debt, in addition to other metrics for 2025, it is confirmed that the idea is to have a smaller, but healthy company, says Ferrer.

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“So what I expect is to close the store, even reduce the size of the company and the structure to carry out this judicial recovery and the turnaround next”, he points out.

However, 2023 shows the company losing relevance amid a difficult scenario for retail. Therefore, the analyst does not see the share as attractive, highlighting the sector’s preference for Mercado Livre (MELI34), which has grown a lot with the difficulties of Americanas and also Casas Bahia (BHIA3).

Victor Bueno, partner and stock analyst at Nord Research, in turn, does not see the presentation of the company’s results as an improvement, especially the readjusted results from previous years.

“I consider it an obligation for the company to disclose these updated numbers, readjusted numbers, to bring a certain transparency with its shareholders, something that unfortunately has not happened in recent times when so many accounting frauds have been detected”, he assesses.

Regarding the guidance for 2025, Bueno believes that it is quite optimistic and that the company will have to systematically confirm it over the coming semesters. “By 2025, it will have to provide clear and concrete evidence that it can achieve this objective”, he points out.

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The analyst points out that the market in general ends up being quite fearful regarding this projection. “The company will have to really confirm, provide very clear evidence that it can achieve these objectives and return to bringing value to its shareholders. (…) Anyway, it has been closing stores, the operation has been suffering a lot, it has had to lay off employees, so it will also have to restructure its operations to achieve this goal, otherwise it won’t be possible”, he points out.

The analyst also cites the macro scenario, with the company operating in a sector extremely linked to the interest rate environment. “Even if we are in a cycle of falling Selic, interest rates will continue at very high levels, this will continue to compress the population’s consumption and consequently compress and pressure the company’s results, exactly what we have been following for other companies like Magalu and Casas Bahia”, he points out.

(with Reuters and Estadão Conteúdo)

The post first appeared on www.infomoney.com.br

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