The stock of CSX Corp., a Jacksonville Florida-based railway company has been discounted as a result of lingering criticism of "poor management", according to UBS analyst Rick Paterson as reported today in the Financial Post. (I can't find a link: The Financial Post's website doesn't make it easy.) It should be trading at a premium to its competitors according to Paterson.
He goes on to say "Four or five years ago that ("poor management") was probably true, but we think these days are long gone and (mis)perception is lagging reality."
If that's the case (and I have no idea if the company has been actively trying to restore its reputation), then why is it that investment bankers and equity analysts stubbornly resist the idea that a good reputation, consciously developed, nurtured and communicated, can have a measurable impact on valuation? And why is it that some companies have such a hard time understanding that reputations don't recover solely through solid financial performance?
There are strategies for reputation recovery. But they require commitment, humility and honesty . . . and the support of financial advisers, lenders and legal counsel.