Monday, December 25, 2006

Santa's Guest Column: Five Lumps of Coal Awarded for Naughty Disclosure

Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas to all. George is still enjoying the holidays. As Santa was driving his sleigh back to the North Pole he had some time and noticed that a few companies issued some rather bad news after market close on Friday when most if not all investors thought it was all over and turned away from their screens. The announcements are Reg FD challenged and bend most concepts of adequate disclosure and transparency. Therefore lumps of coal have been awarded to the following companies who all uniformly have suspiciously issued bad financial news hoping that it will not be noticed. Santa sees all and he was not impressed.

First Mariner Bancorp (NASDAQ:FMAR) announced a balance sheet restructuring involving the sale of securities and repayment of borrowings. In a jargon laden quote First Mariner's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edwin F. Hale, Sr. said, "The deeper inversion of the yield curve over the past several months made the economics of this restructuring more compelling. We expect the restructuring to result in enhancements to our net interest margin, and recover the realized losses from the sales of lower yielding securities in approximately two years."

They speculated on yields and got it wrong; now they want to make it sound as if the big fix is in. Then they update guidance with this comment “In light of the most recent quarter trends and the restructuring, management has revised guidance for earnings per share in 2007 to a range of $1.10 and $1.25.” The $0.15 spread provides for lots of wiggle room.

FNB United Corp. (NASDAQ:FNBN) announced that it will restate its historical financial statements for the quarter and nine months ended September 30 2006. FNB United plans to amend its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2006 as soon as practicable to reflect the restatement. The stock has traded close to its 52 week lows in the past quarter as investors sold because of what they thought was bad news. In actual fact Q3 results were substantially better than reported.

Global-Tech Appliances Inc. (NYSE: GAI) announced its net sales and earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2007 ended September 30, 2006. Sales are down substantially and profits are in the red.

Openwave Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: OPWV), the leading provider of independent software products and services for the communications industry, filed its Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2006 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The press release drones on about how they seem to be in regulatory compliance with the SEC and Nasdaq. If you can stay awake and read to the end of the release investors will discover the company is losing money and has serious cash flow issues.

Synergx Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: SYNX) reported the following results for its fourth quarter and twelve month period ended September 30, 2006 and 2005: The company has moved from profits to losses. There is a claim that as personnel have retired (Hmmm) they have restructured and should have improved sales and hopefully profitability in 2007.