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Kevin Quon  

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  • 3 Speculative Oilfield Service Plays For Contrarian Investors [View article]
    Figure its worth a horn toot at this point, although its entirely due to an irrational market over oil anyways. Since writing this less than a week ago on December 14:

    CRR: $34.60 --> $42.34, UP 22.4%
    FTK: $16.15 --> $19.16, UP 18.6%
    SZYM: $2.25 --> $2.53, UP 12.4%
    Dec 19, 2014. 06:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is It Time To Cut Back On The Railroads? [View article]
    I have no thoughts on Keystone. I hear it really isn't too relevant at this point.
    Dec 16, 2014. 10:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is It Time To Cut Back On The Railroads? [View article]
    Shale won't be broken. It needs consistent renewal & will continue to innovate. Many individual companies might be hurt, however. I actually doubt that OPEC's really targeting shale as the very concept is a bit absurd and I'm pretty sure they know it. I personally believe they're just trying to shake out the speculators and commit a warning shot across the bow to those who are accelerating the production rate without any regards to the existing supply. OPEC is being portrayed as the bad guy in the media, but in all honesty, its the over ambitious shale companies who are leveraging their bets that are the real bad guys IMO.

    Things will level out eventually, but unfortunately oil has also become a commodity that attracts a lot of investor speculation as well. Expect volatility in the prices for some time IMO, but I wouldn't expect much action from OPEC unless things really get out of hand (ie. like $30/barrel)
    Dec 15, 2014. 10:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Investors Should Keep An Eye On Flotek Industries [View article]
    Also FWIW, expect SZYM to eventually compete in d-limonene markets, or at least as an algal-based alternative. It'll likely start off with their solvent line although who's to say if that'll happen anytime soon with the latest strategy shift. A high margin oilfield solution using it might be possible. Still trying to figure out what their trademark "Shalemaster" is going to be.
    Dec 2, 2014. 11:05 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Investors Should Keep An Eye On Flotek Industries [View article]
    FTK's certainly not cheap and the oil market's clearly unstable now, but FTK is progressing nicely & its been discounted quite unfairly in relation to its forward progress. While I just began to pick up some shares around $18, I wouldn't dare say its a bottom. It definitely has to round out some support first and would suggest others keep on watching until that happens. But given that I personally was willing to pick up shares around $23, I'm not complaining either and I definitely don't mind averaging down. I was really impressed with their acquisition of Florida Chem a few years back. Orange oil is going be a pretty important commodity going forward IMO.

    In the mean time, the race is on for more efficient & more productive wells now. For the same reason why Berkshire wanted Weatherford's fluids business, I think we'll see a greater demand for oilfield chems (especially green fluids) from here out.
    Dec 2, 2014. 10:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Investors Should Keep An Eye On Flotek Industries [View article]
    FTK & SZYM both have some interesting tech for green drilling fluids, although they don't necessarily compete since SZYM only has Encapso at this point (expect more) which addresses a unique drilling lubricant niche. FTK has a much wider breadth of products & is largely focused on well stimulation.

    I wouldn't necessarily say FTK bought out ARC Fluids, but they did contract its founder as a consultant and some of his patents/secrets via ARC. I also would not suggest any relationship between FTK and SZYM exists. It's fairly possible, but I would be more inclined to believe it's really a small world out there in the fluid market.
    Dec 2, 2014. 10:50 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme's (SZYM) CEO Jonathan Wolfson on Q3 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    "Over almost 12 years at Solazyme, we believe that we built a company and a technology that will produce numerous disruptive products that are better for the planet and will ultimately deliver a multi-billion-dollar profitable commercial entity."

    They knew they were going to destroy expectations, but this is the line they stuck with in order to convey the long-term view of what is now unfolding. I think it's a rather bold statement given the expected outcome of the ensuing conversation. I know it's a statement that will fall on deaf ears now whether one shares these expectations or not. It'll be insulting to some and accused as intentionally misleading by others, but it'll eventually come to pass or not in the course of time.

    I doubt MacArthur's words on returning were held with much esteem at the time of his rout as well.
    Nov 11, 2014. 04:37 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Refuting A Short-Selling Solazyme Critic [View article]
    It's sector association that is carrying down SZYM as well. Take a look at the biofuel companies as well (including ethanol like PEIX/GPRE/etc.). Institutions treat companies in bulk. Add in the high-beta factor that disproportionately adds to the volatility.
    Oct 28, 2014. 08:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Refuting A Short-Selling Solazyme Critic [View article]
    I am starting to wonder why he's initiated a hit campaign against SZYM, especially as he simultaneously tries to position himself as a defender of the nascent industry. Whatever the case, I've given up refuting Maxx as he clearly has more time than me and frequently pulls up a soap box on my articles.

    All I will say about this last article is that he's made some assumptions that are not necessarily true in order to make it fit into his negatively skewed view. It's not hard to do, nor is it entirely out of the range of possibility. I would've gone the extra mile & suggest that the company would be bankrupt by 2016 since that is just as a scary & plausible. I would also recommend that he take an accounting course since he applied some practices that wouldn't normally be accepted by most standards.
    Oct 26, 2014. 07:17 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme: It Isn't Easy (Or Profitable) Being Green [View article]
    That's very encouraging to hear. I fully respect the need for privacy and your abidance to the NDA. Thank you for the additional insight, and I wish your company the best in testing out their theory.
    Oct 21, 2014. 10:19 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme: It Isn't Easy (Or Profitable) Being Green [View article]
    ThadJoseph,

    Out of curiosity, what company do you work for and why do you suggest that the company is carving out a "important niche in the market?"
    Oct 20, 2014. 11:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Refuting A Short-Selling Solazyme Critic [View article]
    Its difficult to tell right now with the JV ramping up (and the periodic working capital influx to the JV) and the latest bump in interest expense due to the last financing round. I don't believe it'll be a steady 40 mil going forward as you suggest, but at the same time, it's not a terrible calculation. Low to Mid-30's is probably more likely.

    Much of the costs are skewed upfront while the increasing revenue converts to cash over the coming quarters. The burn should begin to wane over the next half year IMO, but it takes time for the receivables to start coming in.
    Oct 20, 2014. 08:47 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Refuting A Short-Selling Solazyme Critic [View article]
    Probably. I didn't like the silence during the dive either, and thought management could have handled that better.
    Oct 18, 2014. 06:47 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Refuting A Short-Selling Solazyme Critic [View article]
    mikestesla,

    To be fully blunt about it, and this might sound bad, but I didn't really give it much credence. The comments there suggested most people saw right through it. But at the same time, I thought it was an easy topic to talk about and that such ridiculous claims should at least have an explanation for those unable to piece the answers together.

    As I wrote about in my prior article, I agree with some of your thoughts and still stand by my assertions there which suggest why szym has been taking a big hit of late.

    A general pullback after such an unexplained bump is also quite common from a technical perspective. Typically the pullback at least attempts to retrace the latest lows before continuing higher, but hey, its not a science.

    -Kevin
    Oct 18, 2014. 06:34 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Refuting A Short-Selling Solazyme Critic [View article]
    Mike,

    Its easier to be reassured when you realize how difficult it will be for the company to fail at this point. I understand there is always the risk, and I've seen a few failures unfold in my experience on the markets. But its living through these to see how the company's made the right moves even at the cost of short-term pain. This is especially the case having following the biofuel industry for close to a decade. Though few might understand, Solazyme has managed to carefully navigate through some very dangerous white-water rapids over the last decade.

    As a shareholder I know you want more than they're willing to give, and I do too at times. All the while, its very easy to flip the table around and think about what is I would do in their shoes. I know the company's attempted to explain their silence on many occasions, but shareholders dont understand the benefit of closed doors. There are advantages to keeping metrics hidden in order to maintain negotiating power. Same goes w/ not sounding too giddy about one company over another competitor who is also a client that's more important. etc etc.

    I'm sure ecover didn't help much in terms of being more open, but apart from partner protection, there's really just an element of hard truths investors dont help with. If I told you I made 100 tons this quarter would you hold me accoutnable for it even if I knew I'd make 1000 tons next quarter but could not tell you that I would? What if my cost metrics could fall another 50% next quarter and announcing it today would shock investors now, should I be blunt about it or avoid the topic altogether? If I faced contamination on a daily basis but knew that I could overcome it just as frequently should I tell you? If I could stall a panic over a construction woe for another year because I could overcome it in that time frame, should I tell you? If I maintain a track record of silence in order to not have to address distracting issues or set expectations for monthly progress that can severely hurt our future, should I commit to it?

    I'm not saying these are the case, but what if they were?

    If at the end of the decade, I've made a company that is on the path to becoming a fundamental industry giant that has helped improve the world, should I the company be willing to endure a few harsh critics?

    The oil is pumping now when four years ago it was not - progress is underway. I don't have the answers you're looking for, but I've seen my share of train wrecks to personally believe this isn't one of them.

    If on the other hand you see smoke that I do not, do not feel hindered to flee the scene. No flight is ever pain-free, but it could save your life. But whatever smoke you're seeing, I just don't see the same and I like to think I've done my share of the research to get a good sense of what's out there. Will there be better opportunities to get back in at another time? Possibly, there could be. But then we're just talking about a difference in investment time tables and risk tolerance.

    -Kevin
    Oct 18, 2014. 06:04 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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