January 22nd, 2009 at 11:17am
Toyota used to be in such a strong financial position that it earned the nickname the Bank of Toyota. That description no longer replies. Also, many industry observers are under the mistaken impression that Toyota has no corporate debt. That doesn’t apply anymore, either.As part of its ambitious global expansion efforts, Toyota’s borrowing and have debt load more than doubled over the last decade. In 2000 Toyota’s current liabilities* totaled ¥5.5 trillion, right now that stands at ¥12.4 trillion.
Although the company still has a solid balance sheet, it’s not as solid as it used to be. Moreover, the company is projecting it will lose money in the current fiscal year, something that has never happened before in its history.
This helps explain why Toyota is taking drastic action in the face of the current economic downturn, such as temporarily shutting down all of its manufacturing facilities in Japan. Now, even Toyota has to worry about how much cash it has on hand.
In its most recent financial report, Toyota states that it has ¥1.8 trillion in cash, which is roughly $18.5 billion, or about the same level of cash Ford reported in its most recent financial statement.
More tellingly, Toyotas total current liabilities (short term) now match its total current assets. In the past, Toyota’s current assets always exceeded its current liabilities. When a company’s liabilities exceed its assets, it has to dip into its cash reserves to make up the difference-unless its operations are generating positive cash flow. But right now Toyota is not generating positive cash flow.
This is the same situation that the Big Three found themselves in some years back, but failed to address. Toyota is obviously attacking the problem head-on. But it’s surprising to see how close the company has come to the edge of the cliff.
* current liabilities include: borrowing, long-term debt payments, accounts payable and accrued expenses.