On July 2 Doral Financial (DRL) saw shares surge more than 70 percent at one point before backing off slightly on a decisive court victory over the government of Puerto Rico.
In a statement to stockholders, Doral claimed an appellate court had overturned an earlier ruling that favored Puerto Rico in the ongoing war over a whopping $230 million in tax refunds Doral claims they are still owed. The Puerto Rican government has tried to nullify this repayment, and Doral’s challenge had been previously thrown out by a lower court over jurisdiction issues.
Doral In Dire Straits
While $230 million in tax refunds is welcomed by any company, the cash-strapped Doral is in especial need of the funds. The lender has struggled to maintain a sufficient amount of Tier 1 capital as required by banks in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. An accounting discrepancy of Doral’s, in which the lender was cited for using inappropriate assets in their capital requirements, exacerbated the bank’s shortfall.
Doral has claimed that if push comes to shove they can sell assets to meet their requirements. But that is a scenario the company’s beleaguered stockholders would definitely not like to see.
In an effort to shore up their reserves while satiating their shareholder’s interests, Doral has been aggressive in their quest for the $230 million in total they feel they are owed. Unsurprisingly, San Juan has been loath to pay the money back, and has repeatedly tried to stonewall them through a lengthy court battle.
As the battle has see-sawed between Doral and the Puerto Rican government’s favor, so has Doral’s stock. Shares of the lender have whipsawed. Shares went from $3 to $5 a share from June 3 to June 10 on the heels of a major victory in the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. After the bounce though, shares plummeted near the $4 range, but then popped again on the July 2 ruling to above $6.50. Even after the recovery, the company’s stock is still down 60 percent in 2014.
A Deeper Look at Doral
Despite their woes, as an investment Doral still maintains some promising fundamentals. According to the equities.com EVA reports, Doral’s Net Margin is much higher than the industry average, which ia a very positive sign for the company. Doral’s return on equity (ROE) is also higher than average, indicating that the company is not overleveraged in comparison to its peers.
For the near-term future however, investors will be looking less at fundamentals and more at the decisions made by the Puerto Rican courts. If their home government is indeed on the hook for such a massive repayment, Doral’s shares will be sure to skyrocket.
Of course, the reverse is true, and if Doral does not reclaim the taxes they claim they overpaid, they will be forced to liquidate assets, and the company’s stockholders will be in store for some pretty significant losses.
By 3 PM EST shares of Doral were trading at $6.46 a share, representing a gain of 60.3% on the day.