Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dupont leads Dupont

Sometimes you just do not know what to say or think. Even if your gut says one thing, your head another and God knows what other body parts are also expressing strong opinions. Dupont (NYSE DD) has appointed a Dupont to the board of directors. The new director has held various leadership positions in a small private company that retails fuel and perishable goods. Now he sits on the board of an incredibly huge company. Sometimes you just do not know what to say.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Caterpillar Inc Maintains Dividend

Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) just announced they would be maintaining their dividend rate. Last quarter they announced record profits, sales and growth but this is not going to translate into dividends. The announcement was bland and short. Is anything up on the horizon? In cash we trust. Everything else is an opinion.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

AIG Improves Corporate Governance

AIG appoints a special counsel and secretary to its own board. In what appears to be a refreshing new approach the board of AIG will now have its own special counsel and secretary. The corporation will also have its own counsel and secretary, which has been a traditional function. The board’s secretary will also retain certain corporate functions. While I applaud the new vision why not go all the way and establish completely independent staff. AIG, which as an insurer underwrites a wide variety of liability insurance, seems to be splitting hairs with its own governance. This may be very important during the next scandal. Who reports to whom? What masters do you really serve?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Disclosure Death by a Thousand Cuts.

CSG Systems International (Nasdaq:CSGS) just announced the sale of assets subject to adjustments, which they characterize as normal closing adjustments. The sale in question was originally announced on Oct 7, 2005 as being valued at 249 million in cash. 60 days later they are saying there will be adjustments, which have not previously been reflected in guidance for Q4 2005. They promise to report to us what the changes will be once they figure it out. I view this as stealth disclosure. First the good news is released about a lot of cash coming in. Then a bland announcement that the sale occurred but some adjustments have to be made. Then what the final announcement is made with whatever bad news buried in sunny forecasts and guidance for the future. When you are dealing with sales of a quarter of a billion you should know where you stand. Unless the purchaser smells something and management are expecting a significant claw back. Disclosure in drips and drabs is a death of a thousand cuts that makes me skeptical. If you are concerned please contact their Investor Relations group at I know I would like more information or should I say clear information about this one.