Blue Apron Starts to Trade Like a Bankruptcy Candidate

Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NYSE: APRN) delivered disastrous quarterly results. Its stock has fallen so far that its market cap is only $37 million. This is so even though its revenue last year was $455 million, against which it lost $61 million. At the end of the year, it had $44 million of cash and cash equivalents, down from $96 million in the same period a year ago.

The financial results have triggered a board of directors look at strategic alternatives, which usually means the company is for sale. More troubling, it may look for capital in public or private markets. It is hard to see how an attempt to raise money in the public markets is possible, based on the current market cap. Current investors would need to be diluted substantially, if not wiped out completely.

The catastrophic earnings showed that 2018 revenue of $668 million fell to that $455 million last year. The company’s net loss in 2018 was $122 million, which improved to a loss of $61 million. Long-term debt at the end of the year was $55 million, compared to $83 million in 2018. Reflecting on the results, Linda Findley Kozlowski, Blue Apron’s chief executive officer, made the odd comment that “We continue to believe that we have the right strategy to drive our resumption of growth as we work to launch additional new capabilities and test new product offerings.”

The company reported in its 10-K that it does not believe it has a problem being a “going concern” over the next year. However, the list of risk factors is littered with comments about the severe damages that changes in its balance sheet and operations could have on the future of the company. Its revolving credit line is particularly onerous. Management wrote:

Our ability to make scheduled payments on or to refinance our debt obligations depends on our financial condition and operating performance and the condition of the debt and capital markets, which are subject to prevailing economic, industry and competitive conditions, as well as certain financial, business, legislative, political, regulatory and other factors beyond our control. If our cash flow and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we could face substantial liquidity problems, be forced to reduce or delay capital expenditures, strategic acquisitions, investments and partnerships, dispose of material assets or operations, seek additional debt or equity capital or restructure or refinance our indebtedness. We cannot assure you that any such actions, if necessary, could be effected on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or on terms that would be advantageous to our stockholders or on terms that would not require us to breach the terms and conditions of our existing or future debt agreements, and our financial position and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

It is hard to pick through management’s comments about Blue Apron’s future. The company’s stock trades as if it may be in a financial bind from which it cannot recover.

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