I’m sure the 10 or 20 human visitors here will find excellent reading on his site.
I’ll add some value by saying:
* Aimia’s 2018 debt matures on January 22, 2018 and will likely mature. Their 2019 debt matures on May 17, 2019 and has a 5.6% coupon. They’re not actively traded via IB, but via Questrade they are currently being asked for at 84 cents (or YTM of 15.3% – noting these are the regular bonds and not the strip bonds). Retail bond pricing typically incorporates a VERY healthy price spread over what should be the existing market price (i.e. an institutional investor would likely get at least a couple cents better pricing, thus a higher YTM).
* The YTM of this debt issue should give you an idea of what I think about the preferred shares, which are trading at a yield of roughly 11% at present (AIM.PR.A/B).
* Taking a $456 capital loss (pre-tax!) on this debt transaction is a very low tuition cost. It’s even less than the cost of a typical 3-credit course at my old university!
* Daniel’s deferred revenue/cost analysis is spot-on: if Aeroplan members go on a Home Capital Group-style bank run on their Aeroplan accounts, Aimia is hard-pressed to pay – such is the perils of investing in a company with a negative tangible equity of some $3.1 billion! This alone is a major reason why I would not touch anything in this corporation’s capital structure.
* It’s obvious Aimia has another choice they will execute on in the future – watering down their rewards pricing. Legally speaking, if they were to double the price of all rewards, what recourse does the consumer have?
Let’s check the terms and conditions…
In particular, you acknowledge and accept as a condition of continued membership that:
1. Aeroplan Miles have no monetary value whatsoever and cannot under any circumstances form the basis of a monetary claim against Aeroplan.
5. Aeroplan assumes no liability to members whatsoever by reason of the termination of, or amendment to, the Aeroplan Program, in whole or in part, the addition or deletion of reward partners (including Air Canada), limitations on the availability of flights or seats, changes made by Aeroplan Partners to their terms and conditions, or any change made in accordance with sections 6 to 8 below.
Looks like the program (similar to Air Miles) is an unregulated confidence game – the only recourse Aimia has to watering down their product (or Air Miles) is the loss of consumer confidence. Not much of a remedy.
As a side note, I’m anxiously awaiting my $100 gas gift card in the mail.