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  • Vale: A Promising Mining Investment Overwhelmed By Uncertainty [View article]
    Herr Hansa thank you for the comment. It is a difficult company to hold as an investment, but we obviously share similar sentiments on Vale. Between the political risk, mismanagement and the ongoing pricing of iron ore all add to a lot of uncertainty, without which the company should climb in value. Hopefully over the long-term and particularly after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics in Brazil some of that uncertainty will diminish with the Brazilian government less focused on its global image. Also great article on ethanol production really enjoyed it and looking forward to more. AGRO are a company that I am becoming more interested in and offers an interesting investment opportunity.
    Aug 2 01:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Brazil has sacrificed ~$20B and lost a significant share of the global seaborne iron ore market in the past decade, mainly due to licensing difficulties which have caused mine project delays, a Vale (VALE) exec says. The world's largest iron ore producer must obtain no fewer than 174 environmental permits to complete projects for which $34B in investments already have been approved.  [View news story]
    I don't understand how regulating the operations of mining companies and other businesses that have a direct and significant impact on the environment is such a bad thing. We all depend on the environment and the public benefit that it provides us as a whole far outweighs the contribution that mining company's make to economic growth. In addition, once destroyed it is not easily replaced. In addition, Brazil is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world and contains the largest CO2 filter know to man, the Amazon rain forest, so allowing activities that have a harmful impact on this are decisions that should not be taken lightly. I also feel that there are deeper issues affecting Vales operations and blaming their poor Q2 results and financial outlook on environmental regulation is a convenient way of avoiding the more difficult questions.
    Aug 1 08:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Ecopetrol's Second Quarter Results Indicate A Disappointing Year Ahead For Investors [View article]
    bsorge thank you for the comments. There is more to come, I am working on an article about the recent cut to the Colombian official interest rate and then an update on the Colombian oil industry with a focus on the Canadian companies operating here. There is also an article in the pipeline on Colombian banks just waiting for Bancolombia to release their 2Q 2012 results. If you have any specific companies or topics in either Colombia or South America in general covered please let me know.
    Aug 1 11:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gafisa: A Speculative Play On Brazilian Residential Property [View article]
    ACO I can add that to the list I have been wanting to take a closer look at the Brazilian utilities sector for some time.
    Jul 31 07:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gafisa: A Speculative Play On Brazilian Residential Property [View article]
    CWD thank you for the comment and additional information. It did seem a strange time to back out of the investment, but your comments go some way to explaining it. While I am certainly a believer in the Brazilian economic miracle there is a long way to go yet just as there is for Gafisa. I am planning an update on Gafisa once the full year figures are released.
    Jul 30 10:34 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Telefonica: A Compelling Investment Or Value Trap? [View article]
    davdws, thank you for the comment. The dividend was cut last week and while the company claims it will be reinstated in 2013 I don't believe that it will. At this stage the looming problem is the debt issue and to date there has been very little information given to the market o this. I am in the process of putting together an update based on the 2Q 2012 results.
    Jul 30 07:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gafisa: A Speculative Play On Brazilian Residential Property [View article]
    ACO thank you for the additional information. I realized that I should have added some additional information regarding the finalization of the Alphaville purchase, apologies for leaving that out.
    Jul 30 07:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Arcos Dorados: A Not So Golden Investment Opportunity [View article]
    Cogitator thank you for the comments. I don't believe that over the long-term Arcos Dorados' prospects are particularly strong. Initially the company will experience strong growth because of the low penetration of the McDonald's brand in the region, plus the Olympics and FIFA World Cup will give the company a significant boost, but over the long-term unless they make their pricing more affordable the majority of people in the region can't afford to eat there. I think that if you want to invest in McDonald's you can't do better than the original.
    Jul 30 07:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gafisa: A Speculative Play On Brazilian Residential Property [View article]
    Investor612 thank you for the comments. Admittedly Gafisa is a speculative play with some risk for investors. I have been trying to identify investment ideas for readers because the majority of my articles prior to this one have been on the doom and gloom side lately.

    I have also put Corpbanca in the queue and will hopefully have an article published later this week or early next week. Looking forward to your comments on that article.
    Jul 30 12:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gafisa: A Speculative Play On Brazilian Residential Property [View article]
    David thank you for the comments. I saw that Sam Zell sold out right before the price plunged and the issues around the Tenda acquisition started to bite deep. The consensus view from analysts is that the company will pull through and the share price target is around $4. Whether they are correct is another matter and only time will tell. The 2Q 2012 earnings preview indicates that the problems with cash burn are being managed and there has been a substantial improvement in cash flows. For it to survive though the company obviously needs to be able to repeat this on an ongoing basis and that could be difficult given the short-term outlook for the Brazilian economy and the housing market.
    Jul 29 10:50 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gafisa: A Speculative Play On Brazilian Residential Property [View article]
    moatfrog thank you for reading. You may note that I have disclosed that I may initiate a position over the next 72 hours. This also seems to be a recurring point made by readers but I can't take a position in every stock that exists in Latin America nor every stock which I analyze with over 90 listed Brazilian ADRs available that would be impossible. There are a number of reasons for this ranging from how I structure my portfolio through to the range of stocks that I cover. But I will point out that my analysis is always balanced and not influenced by either the company being analyzed nor do I receive any remuneration from the company being researched.
    Jul 28 07:35 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gafisa: A Speculative Play On Brazilian Residential Property [View article]
    Trade in Mexico thank you for the comments. I am not sure if it will head much lower, it bounced at the end of last week, but the 1H 2012 financials will be the key factor. Interestingly I have seen a number of analysts put a target of around $4 on the stock with Itau Unibanco saying the company is back on track but because of the depressed housing market and the macro issues you have referred to there are better opportunities for investors. I am not sure where those opportunities are because besides utilities the Brazilian market has taken a hammering.
    Jul 28 07:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Banco Santander: Paying The Price For Its Association With Spain [View article]
    Barbara thank you for the update. I relied upon ECB reports of holdings at the time of writing the article and these were from Dec 011. Overall it is good to see the sovereign debt exposures fall. Overall I still believe that Banco Santander respresents an opportunity albeit high risk and long term.
    Jul 27 08:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Telefonica: A Compelling Investment Or Value Trap? [View article]
    Viktor thank you for the feedback. I am in the process of pulling together an update on Telefonica which I hope will be published early next week. I also know another Seeking Alpha author is taking a closer look at the debt issue.

    I am always reticent to give direct advice to readers as I am not aware of their personal circumstances or their financial and lifestyle goals nor how their portfolio is constructed, so if you wanted to cut and run that is a decision you would need to make based on your own due diligence. But it maybe worth waiting to see what the updated articles reveal. The other factor is that the bull case for Telefonica has always been made on the assumption that it is a long-term investment so it maybe worth keeping that in mind.
    Jul 26 11:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Telefonica: A Compelling Investment Or Value Trap? [View article]
    Thank you for the comments. I have read through the Q2 figures and I need some time to digest them and finish some work on other updates but the basics for Q2 are:
    - OIBDA up 5%
    - Capex up by 14%
    - Revenue steady down by 2%, though the biggest drop in revenue was Latam with Brazil.

    Overall I believe the numbers are better than expected but there is a long way to go yet. There are have been some more articles making the bull case on Seeking Alpha on the back of those figures http://bit.ly/N0vSM9 . I don't subscribe to the bull case because everyone is taking quite simplistic view that Latam will create growth, yet it's likely that Brazil's GDP growth for 2012 will be less than 2% and for 2013 around 2-3% (which I think is optimistic).

    I also note a comment above talking about smart phone usage in Latam and how this will drive growth for Telefonica. The majority of Telefonica's connections are in the prepaid market in the region, which isn't conducive to smartphone use. Smart phones are virtually unheard of in the region.
    The majority of capex in the region is going to build basic infrastructure to support the roll out of standard wireless services as much of that infrastructure doesn't exist in the region.

    An anecdotal observation I don't know anyone who has a smart phone in Colombia and other than foreigners I have never seen anyone with a smart phone.
    Jul 26 07:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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