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Three Stocks That Are High Bankruptcy Risk in 2023–2024: Signs of Trouble Ahead


Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Sheila Bair recently noted that, during the Federal Reserve’s era of zero interest rates, “money (flowed) into all sorts of unproductive uses,” including “zombie companies.” In other words, firms that were generating little or no revenue and had meager chances of ever becoming profitable could stay afloat by convincing investors and lenders to provide them with cheap money. This has led to this article on companies that may go bankrupt.

But now that interest rates are much higher, no one is going to take a chance on pumping money into these firms. As a result, many of these zombie firms will declare bankruptcy by the end of next year.

Here are three such companies that may go bankrupt.

Mullen Automotive (MULN)

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An angled shot of the Mullen (MULN) Five on display with a screen behind it.

Source: Ringo Chiu / Shutterstock.com

I’ve long been skeptical about Mullen Automotive (NASDAQ:MULN), an electric vehicle maker whose CEO had a checkered past. Also noteworthy is that Mullen specialized in marketing EVs created by little-known Chinese companies, while the automaker issued many press releases discussing the orders that it had obtained for its EVs but generated no revenue in its last fiscal year and only $308,000 in sales in the 12 months that ended in June.

As of the end of last quarter, the EV maker had $214 million of cash, but its operations had burned $136 million in the 12 months that ended in June. With the firm still generating little revenue and failing to generate new orders for nearly four months, no one is likely to give Mullen significant amounts of money now that interest rates are elevated. Nor is it likely to raise much more money by selling additional MULN stock now that its shares are changing hands for just 25 cents, while the appetite for speculative stocks has plunged.

As of August, Mullen had $80 million of orders outstanding. But to fulfill those orders, it will have to spend even more money than it has in the last year, pushing itself further towards insolvency.

Given these points, MULN is likely to burn through its cash within the next year and be unable to raise any more money, making it one of the companies likely to go bankrupt.

Virgin Galactic (SPCE)

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Virgin Galactic (SPCE) banner hanging on the New York Stock Exchange building to celebrate its IPO.

Source: Christopher Penler / Shutterstock.com

Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) specializes in taking consumers and companies’ employees to space. In my view, SPCE is the type of “moonshot” company that’s unlikely to inspire lenders or investors to provide funds going forward. As of June, the company had $940 million of cash and short-term investments, while its operations had burned $489 million of cash in the year that ended in June.

Moreover, like Mullen, SPCE’s cash burn will likely significantly increase since it’s building two spaceships to handle its backlog of 800 passengers. Meanwhile, analysts, on average, only expect it to generate a paltry $25.2 million of revenue in 2024. Given these points, I believe that the company is likely to be very short on funds by the end of next year.

Also importantly, SPCE’s ships have had several crashes and other mishaps, including the failure of an engine on one of its ships in January 2023. Given that history and SPCE’s speculative nature, I believe that large investors and lenders will be reluctant to provide the firm with funds going forward.

With SPCE’s stock trading at $1.44 and the appetite for speculative stocks low, I believe that it will have difficulty raising money by selling more of its shares to the public.

Vinco Ventures (BBIG)

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Source: Shutterstock

One-time meme stock Vinco Ventures (OTC:BBIG) tried multiple methods to generate significant amounts of revenue, including acquiring a website called Lomotif that aspired to be the next TikTok, getting involved in crypto, and seeking to acquire The National Enquirer.

But Vinco has been plagued by more infighting among its executives than any other firm I’ve ever researched, along with an inability to generate significant revenue. In the third quarter of 2022, the last quarter for which the company submitted financial results, it generated only $5.6 million in sales.

On Oct. 24, BBIG was delisted from the Nasdaq after the exchange in July cited the company for failing to have any independent board members. But the shares are still trading on an over-the-counter exchange. On Oct. 27, they plunged 74.4% to 2.3 cents, and the company’s market capitalization was a tiny $299,000, according to Yahoo Finance.

This then makes BBIG stock one of those companies that may go bankrupt.

As of this writing, Larry Ramer did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 15 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been PLUG, XOM and solar stocks. You can reach him on Stocktwits at @larryramer.

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