Friday, April 21, 2006

3M Cash Position Shrinks

Latest 3M Q reports increasing profits and revenues. But the cash and equivalents position is shrinking and levels of indebtedness are increasing. 3M is not in crisis but management has notably not commented on this change. Operations are spinning off less cash over time.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Google's FX Fixation

Google maintains that FX rates had an inconsequential effect on sequential international growth. Then they go on to say that if FX rates had stayed the same from Q1 2005 to Q1 2006 international revenues would have been $65 million higher. Having your cake and eating it also. FX rates can, do and will fluctuate. Trying to figure out and actually report what would have happened if the rates had not changed seems naive. International business need to develop a true global mentality when navigating FX rates and the fluctuations. International business is of growing importance at Google. Given last years/quarters issues regarding allocation of costs and their impact on effective tax rates one wonders if Google has a deep understanting of operating globally. Perhaps a strategic hire from an international bank of major oil company is called for.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hollinger Covers Conrad Black's Legal Fees

Conrad Black has a variety of lawsuits underway including a legal action against Hollinger International. Yet acccording to Canadian Business Hollinger is covering subsantial portions of Conrad Black's legal fees. Apparently most companies indemnify their senior people for certain legal expenses. The article points out that on March 6 Hollinger and Black reached an agreement that covers 75% of criminal legal costs and 50% of costs relating to SEC and other civil prosecutions. So how does the shareholder win? If Conrad Black is convicted the victim pays part of the legal fees. This one is beyond caveat emptor.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yahoo Results Need Second Look

Yahoo says they are off to a great start (according to the CFO Susan Decker). But consider this in a time of great global competition. International revenues accounted for 30% of revenues and 23% of operating income. Roughly the same proportion as for comparable numbers last year. No comment as to why the domestic business is still subsidizing the international side and why the relationship is not changing. Remember Googles problem with last minute cost allocations against international income which affected the tax rate. All this glamorous international expansion needs to pay off handsomely at some point. Where will it be?

Monday, April 17, 2006

NHR blames non compliance on death of Board Member

NHR (AMEX:NHR) announced at 1808 ET on Thursday April 13, 2206 before the long Good Friday weekend that one of its key Board Members had passed away suddenly. The second half of the press release reported that they are now out of compliance with AMEX listing standards in respect of independent directors. The press release was issued a full thirteen days following the death. Deaths are hard and tragic news. Friends, family and co-workers need time for mourning. But this is not the first time a director has suddenly passed away. Corporate Governance should have a contingency plan in place. This stock should not have run afoul of a critical listing requirement from this tragic event.

Century Bancorp Tardy Report

Central Bancorp (Nasdaq:CNBKA) reported on Good Friday holiday at 1716ET that three days before it had elected Barry Sloane and Jonathan Sloane as co-CEO's. Why would it take three days to release this information to the market. what utility value was gained by the very long delay.

Weekend Follies April 14-16, 2006

Ten culprits this Good Friday Weekend. I try to catch companies issuing substantive news at odd-ball hours during the weekend. Two NYSE listings: Walmart (WMT) and AON Corp (AON). Three AMEX listings Aspyra (APY), National Health Realty (NHR), YM Biosciences (YMI). Five on Nasdaq Dynacq Healthcare (DYII), state Bancorp (STBC), Yahoo (YHOO), Central Valley Bancorp (CVCY) and moldflow (MFLO). Caveat Emptor when dealing with companies issuing news at strange times.