Tuesday, March 30, 2010

AAPL Closes Above Price Target

Apple closed at $235.84 a share, crossing above our target price of $235.00 per share. This weekend marks the opening sale of Apple's iPad devices on April 3rd. Street consensus for unit sales are around 3-4 million for the year, with more optimistic expectations from Goldman and Morgan closer to 6 million. According to the Motley Fool, suppliers are expecting to ship 8-10 million units in 2010.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Polo Ralph Lauren's Southeast Asia Business

This is a recent article in a Wall Street Transcript Report...

RL -

Ms. Brodbar: Our portfolio is concentrated to just 20 companies, so we look for the winners in each sector. Ralph Lauren (RL) is a dominant lifestyle brand. Relative to other luxury players, it is still predominantly a U.S. brand, with 70% of its sales generated in the U.S. There is a huge opportunity for Ralph Lauren to expand overseas, where luxury apparel spending is projected to grow at a rate much faster than the U.S. About five years ago, the company bought back their European licensee and since that time have grown the business to north of $1 billion from just $200 million at the time of acquisition.

And we believe there is still room for solid growth. RL is now instituting the same strategy in Asia, as they bought back Japan almost two years ago and acquired the Southeast Asian licensee at the beginning of 2010, which includes such countries as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia, to name a few. Today the Southeast Asian business is roughly $150 million in sales, and we believe it can grow to become a billion-dollar business. The bottom line is that RL has got a long growth runway, both in the U.S. and overseas. In the U.S. RL should benefit from expanding product categories, like handbags, shoes, watches and dresses, and expanding distribution points, with American Living at J.C. Penney (JCP) and Blue Label at Saks (SKS). Overseas RL should continue to grow through expanding geographies and increasing brand awareness.

Micheal A. Williams

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brown Forman (BF-B) Earnings 3Q2010

Brown Forman released earnings on March 10, 2010.

The company's diluted EPS declined 10% to $0.73

BF-B reported a decline in operating income by 2% to $147M

Net sales increased by 10% for the FY 3Q, while underlying sales were actually up only 2%

Gross profits were up 11% on a reporting basis and up 3% on an underlying basis

BF-B reported that strong underlying net sales gains for Brown-Forman’s ready-to-drink brands, as well as growth for Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s, and el Jimador, were partially offset by underlying net sales declines of Southern Comfort, Finlandia, and some agency brands.

With the economy showing improvements and discretionary income likely to be on the rise, BF-B's ready made drinks and customers returning to higher shelf drinks could provide weak growth in the coming quarter.

BF-B will be monitored closely, at this point it is reaching a sell point.

Update to come.
Oracle reported earnings today and slightly beast estimates as revenue from new software licenses grew higher for the second quarter in a row. They reported earnings of 38 cents up from 35 cents in the same quarter last year. Sales reached 6.47 Billion compared with 5.5 billion last year.

This quarter was very strong with a 10% growth in software litcensing excluding Sun. In addition to this top line performance Oracle's operating margin was 45% which was substantially higher than rival IBM.

This quarter's results took into account revenues from Sun for only a month and they were $596 million showing that customers are responding well to the acquisition. It is expected Sun will add
$1.5 and $2 billion in operating income for 2010 and 2011. As for Sun's revenue Oracle has already cut out Sun's products that were selling at a loss. This change alone will immediately show more profit on less revenue. They are also now compensating sales teams on margins and not just revenues which will change the sales mix from commodity systems(where they were losing profit) to value added systems where Sun's differentiation is clear to customers. The board also declared a %0.05 dividen per share again.

With the acquisition of Sun and the mentioned management plans I see strong upside in Oracle and will keep the company a BUY.

Rory Blake

Friday, March 19, 2010

Eldorad Gold announces 2009 4th quarter and Year End Results

Eldorado (EGO) reported net income of $33.3 million or $0.08 per share for the fourth quarter and for the year net income of $102.4 million or $0.26 per share. This quarterly EPS was right in line with expectations.

"This was a very successful quarter and year for Eldorado," stated Paul Wright, CEO. "We had record quarterly production with strong performance from both our Kisladag and Tanjianshan gold mines. And with the successful completion of our acquisition of Sino Gold and the continued development of our projects in Turkey, China and Greece, we are solidifying our position as one of the world's lowest cost gold producers. Our gold sales revenue increased by 29% to $358 million as we benefited from increased production and increased gold prices. Looking ahead, we anticipate 2010 production of 550,000 to 600,000 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of between $385 and $400 per ounce."

Eldorado was actually down 4% to $12.82 in trading today because of a stronger dollar and weaker gold prices. Earnings were in line and the outlook was quite good. One negative was that costs incurred from Sino were higher than expected at first. Expenses as a percent of revenues should decrease in the next couple of years.

Now that Sino Gold is fully merged within Eldorado, I think in the next 12 months EGO will start to see the incremental added value of this acquisition. Sino is expected to give Eldorado at least another 170,000 ounces of production by 2011, which doesn't include two other mines that are in development. Expected production of over 600,000 ounces in 2010 at a cash operating cost less than $400, and gold prices remaining strong are reasons to believe EGO will succeed. Net margin in 2009 was 28% and 2010 shouldn't be much different.

With the increase in reserves that Sino has brought to EGO, EGO now has an EV/Reserve of gold of $370. Paying $370 on an EV basis per ounce of gold is very exciting.

I am maintaining my rating of a BUY and price target of $16 for Eldorado Gold. Things are starting to line up for the company.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Eastern Dragon Project for EGO Reserve Update

Paul N. Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eldorado Gold Corporation is pleased to announce an update to the mineral resources and mineral reserves for the Eastern Dragon Project in Heilongjiang Province, PRC. Eastern Dragon is a high grade epithermal vein system that will be mined by a combination of open pit and underground methods. They consider the exploration potential to the area excellent and have budgeted $2.4 million in exploration expenditures for 2010.

"The increases in the Eastern Dragon resources are encouraging and clearly validate our enthusiasm for this project. We have an aggressive drilling program planned for Eastern Dragon area in 2010 which will not only continue exploring the main ore zone but will for the first time systematically test the numerous parallel vein structures in the surrounding area."

Friday, March 5, 2010


Walmart announced they are going to increase FY 2011 dividends 11%, from $1.09 to $1.21. They have been consistently paying and increasing their dividends year over year since inception in 1979.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

AAPL: Apple Sues HTC, Maker of Google Android Based Smartphones


Monday, March 1, 2010

Ensco International plc (NYSE: ESV) reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.24 for fourth quarter 2009, compared to $2.14 per share in fourth quarter 2008. Earnings from discontinued operations were $0.22 per share in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of $0.03 per share a year ago. Diluted earnings per share were $1.46 in fourth quarter 2009, compared to $2.11 per share in fourth quarter 2008. Discontinued operations relate to rigs no longer in the Company’s fleet. The Company recognized $38 million of pre-tax income in fourth quarter 2009 related to ENSCO 69, which was reclassified as discontinued operations in second quarter 2009.

Full year 2009 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were $5.45, compared to $8.04 per share in 2008. Earnings from discontinued operations were $0.03 per share in 2009, compared to a loss of $0.02 per share a year ago. Diluted earnings per share were $5.48 in 2009, compared to $8.02 per share in 2008.

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Rabun stated, “I am very pleased to report several major accomplishments in 2009. Shareholders approved our redomestication to the U.K., two new ENSCO 8500 Series® ultra-deepwater semisubmersibles were delivered from the shipyard and commenced drilling under long-term contracts, and we achieved our best safety record ever. In addition, Ensco recently was ranked #1 in an independent customer satisfaction survey for performance and reliability.”

Mr. Rabun added, “In the fourth quarter, earnings grew significantly compared to the third quarter. The increase was driven by higher utilization across the fleet and our growing deepwater segment - which equaled one-quarter of total revenues in the fourth quarter. Looking ahead, we project deepwater segment revenue will continue to grow significantly as more of our new ultra-deepwater semisubmersibles commence drilling for our customers. Growth in our deepwater segment is expected to lessen the impact of declining average day rates in our jackup business - as rates from expiring jackup rig contracts are adjusted to today’s lower market rates. Fortunately, market rates for premium jackup rigs have been stabilizing somewhat over the past several months.”

Revenues in fourth quarter 2009 declined to $500 million from $605 million a year ago. Total jackup segment revenues decreased $229 million as a result of both lower average day rates and a decline in utilization. The decline was partially offset by a $124 million increase in deepwater segment revenue, which represented 25% of total revenue in fourth quarter 2009.

Total operating expenses in fourth quarter 2009 increased to $279 million from $244 million last year due to several factors. Contract drilling and depreciation expense increased, due to commencement of ENSCO 8500 and ENSCO 8501 operations in 2009, and general and administrative expense was higher, primarily resulting from $8 million of legal and professional fees in fourth quarter 2009 related to the previously announced redomestication to the U.K.

Segment Highlights


Deepwater segment revenues grew to $124 million in fourth quarter 2009, from $0.1 million a year ago. Two new ENSCO 8500 Series® rigs commenced operations in 2009: ENSCO 8500 in June and ENSCO 8501 in October. Additionally, ENSCO 7500, which operated during fourth quarter 2009, was mobilizing to Australia during fourth quarter 2008. Revenues related to the mobilization were deferred until drilling commenced in April 2009.

In fourth quarter 2009, the average day rate was $415,000 and utilization was 91%. Comparable figures for the prior year period are not applicable due to revenues being deferred during ENSCO 7500 mobilization. Contract drilling expense was $45 million in fourth quarter 2009, up from $5 million in fourth quarter 2008, primarily due to ENSCO 8500 and ENSCO 8501 commencing operations in 2009 and the deferral of certain expenses for ENSCO 7500 while it was mobilizing to Australia during fourth quarter 2008.

Total Jackup Segments

Revenues from Ensco’s worldwide premium jackup fleet totaled $376 million in fourth quarter 2009, down from $605 million a year ago. The decline largely was due to a twenty-three percentage point decrease in utilization to 72% and a $31,000 decline in the average day rate to $128,000. Contract drilling expense was reduced by 14% year-over-year as personnel and other costs were lowered to address declining utilization.

Ensco continues to maintain a strong financial position:

  • $1.1 billion of cash and cash equivalents
  • $350 million fully available revolving credit facility
  • Long-term debt of only $257 million
  • Long-term debt-to-capital ratio of 4%
  • Contract backlog totaling $3.0 billion

Chief Financial Officer Jay Swent commented, “Cash increased to $1.1 billion at year end and our leverage ratio is just 4%. At the same time, our $3 billion ENSCO 8500 Series® newbuild program now has only $1.1 billion of remaining capital commitments, and we expect cash generation from operations will fund the remaining capital expenditures through 2012 when the final rig is delivered.”

James Menicucci