Citigroup shareholders must be relieved. When Standard & Poor's recently downgraded GM's debt, it stated that GMAC could gain an investment-grade credit rating by combining its business with a highly rated financial institution. However, Standard & Poor's also warned that a new corporate parent might cut off or reduce GMAC's support for GM if GMAC's association with the troubled automaker increased the lender's financial risk.
In my opinion, Standard & Poor's is right. GMAC is a political hot potato to whoever owns it, and it could well determine the fate of GM. I wonder whether General Electric
In its presentation today, Citigroup outlined five strategies for the future. The first involves expanding the company's low 2.2% international market share. Among other initiatives, Citigroup plans to add 150 to 200 retail bank branches in 2006 (up from an estimated 135 this year).
The second strategy focuses on the United States. Citigroup plans to add some new branches here, but it will also focus on getting existing customers to buy more of the company's products.
The last three strategies are pretty much Business 101: to leverage skills across businesses and countries, invest in technology and people, and rigorously manage the capital allocation process. Ho-hum. Did they really think investors showed up to hear this?
For fiscal 2006, the company expects mid- to high single-digit-percentage organic revenue growth. It also forecast earnings growth at a slightly higher percentage rate. Before today's festivities, fiscal 2006 revenue was projected to increase 3.8% year over year. That's not great, but with a bit of rounding, it technically falls within mid-single-digit growth. The 8.8% earnings growth projected for 2006 looks smashing, but don't overlook that the company earned $4.04 last year and is expected to register only $4.00 this year. Still, over the next five years, analysts expect the company to grow earnings by 10% a year.
Citigroup is trading at a forward 2006 earnings multiple in line with Income Investor recommendations Bank of America
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