Will Walt Disney Inventory Underwhelm in 2022?

Leisure conglomerate Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) receives lots of consideration lately for its thriving Disney+ streaming service, but it surely’s essential to not overlook the cruise strains, theme parks, and different facets that contribute to the underside line. That diversification has helped the enduring firm to be a profitable inventory within the long-term. Nonetheless, it might go away shareholders wanting extra this yr. Traders ought to contemplate these three potential crimson flags heading into 2022.

1. Resorts and cruise strains are nonetheless struggling

Disney’s unbelievable mental property drives most investor consideration to its streaming service Disney+, however different vital elements of the enterprise are nonetheless struggling by way of the pandemic. Disney’s parks and experiences phase homes its resorts and cruise strains — tourism-driven companies — and the drop in journey from COVID-19 has considerably impacted income and income.

Picture supply: Getty Photos.

Let us take a look at the numbers. In 2019, parks and experiences generated $6.7 billion in working revenue  on income of $26.2 billion, so these may be very worthwhile companies for Disney. However in 2021, the phase’s income fell to $16.5 billion and working revenue was simply $471 million. Profitability fell off extra sharply as a result of Disney has to spend some huge cash to open its parks and preserve them, and if attendance is mild, the income is not going to offset these prices.

These misplaced income harm Disney’s total backside line — whole working revenue fell from $14.8 billion in 2019 to $7.7 billion in 2021.

2. Disney+ is not worthwhile but

Disney is turning into a power within the leisure streaming enterprise. Roughly two years after launching Disney+, it has 179 million whole subscribers throughout its platforms (together with Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu). Disney+ subscriptions grew a staggering 60% yr over yr in 2021. This huge and rising subscriber base opens up extra potential money-making alternatives down the highway by way of promoting in addition to value will increase for its companies.

Nonetheless, progress does not all the time equal profitability. In actual fact, Disney+ is consuming away on the firm’s income. Income from direct-to-consumer companies like Disney+ and Hulu grew 55% in 2021 to $16.3 billion. But, they stilll posted $1.6 billion in working losses. Whereas this was an enchancment from 2020 when the phase misplaced $2.9 billion, it is likely to be some time earlier than these companies contribute to the corporate’s backside line.

3. The steadiness sheet nonetheless hurts

In 2019, simply earlier than launching Disney+, Disney made a blockbuster acquisition, shopping for quite a lot of mental property from twenty first Century Fox for a whopping $71 billion. The deal was large, requiring shares to be issued to assist fund it along with billions of debt.

DIS Total Long Term Debt (Quarterly) Chart

DIS Complete Lengthy Time period Debt (Quarterly) information by YCharts

The chart above exhibits the rise in debt that occurred. The timing was unlucky with the pandemic coming in 2020. Disney’s monetary place is on stable footing; it has almost $16 billion in money on its steadiness sheet. However it might have paid down a few of this debt if not for COVID’s affect on working revenue. Now, Disney stays saddled with this huge debt load.

Is Disney headed for a down yr?

Disney’s momentum in streaming and sure eventual restoration of its parks and experiences phase implies that the inventory might nonetheless be a superb long-term blue chip. Nonetheless, within the close to time period, Disney has a large debt load on its steadiness sheet, it is burning cash because it grows Disney+, and it nonetheless has vital shortcomings to its backside line with out its tourism-reliant companies at full pace.

In the meantime, the inventory trades at greater than $150, 50% larger than in early 2019, earlier than it made the Fox deal and earlier than the pandemic harm its enterprise. The long-term upside of its streaming elements could buoy Disney, however buyers ought to most likely method the inventory with a long-term mindset as there aren’t many rapid, constructive catalysts in 2022.

This text represents the opinion of the author, who could disagree with the “official” advice place of a Motley Idiot premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one in every of our personal — helps us all assume critically about investing and make choices that assist us change into smarter, happier, and richer.

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