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Robert Castellano  

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  • Applied Materials: Little Steam Left, Take Profits Off The Table [View article]
    All the M&A will do is increase revenues, not profits. Both companies suffer from weak management, particularly AMAT. Both companies have been losing market share in the past few wears and to me, 1 loser + 1 loser does not = 1 winner. The company's S-1 Prospectus is indicative of how AMAT's spin has propped up the stock by "analysts" who really don't analyze by thinking for themselves. AMAT's spin on how the M&A will generate a hockey stick change in market share is just that - spin. I've written a series of articles on AMAT this year on Seeking Alpha. They can be read to delve deeper into what I'm saying in this brief comment. I've been analyzing AMAT and the semi equip industry since I started The Information Network in 1985, about the time most of these "analysts" were in elementary school.
    Nov 16, 2014. 09:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 3D Systems: Dissecting Acquisitions [View article]
    This is one of the most unbelievably stupid comments I've heard in Seeking Alpha. "It's easy to make smart phones but Apple is booming-it's easy to instal solar panels but SCTY is booming-it's easy to produce search engines and web browsers but Google is booming etc." Yea, real easy
    Nov 15, 2014. 08:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials (AMAT) Q4 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Abraham Lincoln.

    The spin that AMAT has been fostering for the past few quarters is finally catching up with them. I have written is a series of articles on Seeking Alpha that the company has been using carefully chosen rhetoric to disguise the fact that the AMAT of today with Dickerson and fellow management on board is not the AMAT of the past. I use the term carefully chosen rhetoric mildly, and some of the "analysts" have taken the bait. The company's misrepresentations in its S-1 Prospectus is coming back to haunt them as far as the merger is concerned with TEL, issues I also raised in a previous Seeking Alpha article.

    The fact that the company selectively discloses revenue breakout only to Gartner, which it has a "business relationship" with is also an indication that the weak management will use whatever they can do to spin their comments to make the stock jump, primarily because they use Gartner to filter what they want their "analyst" cronies to believe and use the ploy that it is coming from an "independent third party".

    The fact that management says it is gaining share on competitors is also smoke and mirrors, as in actual shipments the company is losing share to LRCX and KLAC, its two major competitors, but currency exchanges are weighing in their favor and market share is given in dollars, not Yen or Euro.

    I have been analyzing AMAT since I started The Information Network in 1985 and I am appalled by what is happening to this company. Dickerson and cohorts may have used these tactics when they ran VSEA, technology on-board before they started running the company and had less exposure than AMAT to the investment world. I am relieved that I do not own stock in the company, nor with its competitors (I own no stock at all), but I am equally disturbed that no one in the "analyst" community is calling a spade a spade.
    Nov 14, 2014. 11:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Air Products Needs To Keep Its Electronics Business, But... [View article]
    I'm not sure I know where you're going with this.

    Let me explain my rationale for this article. There is transparency and there is transparency. Doing a P&L as required by law and is submitted to the SEC is transparency, and investors can read it and so choose to invest in the company. The other form, which is what I was trying to get at in this article, and not too well based on your response, is transparency with revenue breakouts that will give an indication to investors and customers, just how well APD is doing with respect to its competitors, such as Air Liquide in electronic gases or Cabot Microelectronics in CMP slurry. Many companies choose to supply this information as part of a marketing campaign. You see it in company presentations and annual reports. Customers and potential customers read these, and when they are excluded from the literature, they question just how well the company is doing and if another company (a competitor) is promoting that they are the market leader, say in gases, it could influence management decisions on future purchases. All stock analysts in their reports or briefs also discuss, if possible, market share.
    APD is not being transparent, and in this approach doing themselves and injustice. Refusing the Frost & Sullivan Award is another indication, because positive aspects are brought out at the award ceremony and it sound like they are trying to hide something.
    By the way, the CEO never did contact me.
    Nov 6, 2014. 06:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Applied Materials Stock Is A Good Investment Opportunity [View article]
    That's really great for you. Sounds like you're proud of yourself. I'm ranked low because I only wrote a handful of articles. But I wrote them with originality and on a topic I knew, not rehashing what someone else said in a vain attempt to raise the stock I own in the company. That's the shame of it all.
    That's the difference with me as a writer. I own no stocks and so I have nothing to gain or lose by bringing to investors attention facts about a company that may counter what the mainstream "yes men" say and perhaps give them better insight.
    In fact if you had read my articles you will see that I typically refute the comments of AMAT management, which I view as weak and over their heads. And I focused on topics I know about so I don't lose my vision and inventiveness. I'd rather drill 1 hole 12 inches deep than 12 holes 1 inch deep.
    Oct 29, 2014. 11:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Applied Materials Stock Is A Good Investment Opportunity [View article]
    That's because I wrote only a handful of articles. And I wrote them about something I knew, not cut and pasted other peoples comments and presented charts. When there were comments made by the weak AMAT management, I refuted them, as well as the "analysts." I have nothing against you Arie. I don't even know you and never look at your stuff because I try to drill one hole 12 inches deep (with original analyses) rather than 12 holes 1 inch deep.
    Oct 29, 2014. 11:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Applied Materials Stock Is A Good Investment Opportunity [View article]
    Right you are. That's why my mission is to separate out the "chaff from the wheat" when blogs like this on AMAT are written. I've been tracking that company for 30 years, probably longer than some of these "analysts" have been alive!
    Oct 28, 2014. 04:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Applied Materials Stock Is A Good Investment Opportunity [View article]
    Hi alpine. My blood boils when you see people regurgitate (as you say) public information that is more hype than fact. Gartner has a deal with AMAT and most analyst firms buy the Gartner information. So, all these data are suspect. Its amusing to me that the list of analysts included Arcuri of Cowen. To me he is the Mary Meeker of AMAT. Regardless of what the company does, he glorifies it.
    I'm a market researcher from way back, starting my company, The Information Network, in 1985. I forecast revenues, whilst the stock market forecasts profits and losses. They are two different things. Then you have a people like Arcuri blasting KLAC after the company used the term "pushout" for 3D and glorifying AMAT when management said the same thing but didn't use the term "pushout" and one comes to the conclusion that the whole business is nonsensical. That's why I don't own any stock and stay away from recommending any.
    If you are interested in investing, you can invest in my other company called SolarPA (New Tripoli, PA). I've developed a nanocoating to make solar cells work better. I'm coating panels from First Solar (FSLR) next week and NASA is also in the process of evaluating it.
    Oct 26, 2014. 10:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Applied Materials Stock Is A Good Investment Opportunity [View article]
    You don't get much respect 'round these parts, as Upstate Believer said, because you are long on AMAT and want the stock to go up, without knowing anything about the industry. Just the fact that you include ASML in this chart and call them a competitor indicates you don't understand the industry. Neither AMAT nor TEL compete in any way shape or form with ASML.
    Read my articles in Seeking Alpha that I wrote about AMAT. It lost share in the PV and LCD businesses last year, and only gained share in the semiconductor industry because their main competitors were Japanese and they were stymied by the Yen dollar conversion when market shares were calculated (in Dollars). They lost share to Lam in etch and only gained against KLAC in one segment. Why are you thinking that all of a sudden there is going to be a dramatic uptick in AMAT's positioning against competitors. TEL fared worse than AMAT last year against competitors. In my math studies two losers don't make a positive (maybe you were thinking about two negatives making a positive!). Why are you believing in Gartner's numbers. Take a look at their track record historically and see what they projected in previous years and how those forecasts were wrong. AMAT has a business relationship with Gartner (I was told this directly from an AMAT exec.) so you can bet they are pumping out garbage. And don't look at overall semi spending and think AMAT is going to mirror that. They are focused on 3D NAND and 3D Logic, and both technologies have been pushed out. They invested a lot of money on 450mm wafer equipment and this equipment is making very expensive door stops because 450mm has been pushed out. AMAT is lucky to grow 10% this year, and will again lose share to LAM and KLAC (but not to ASML). Write about something you know and not just cut and paste, accept other peoples opinions, and look at charts
    Oct 26, 2014. 12:45 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Knowles: Warning Creates Renewed Disappointment Among Investors [View article]
    Knowles is rapidly losing market share in the MEMs microphone market to an increasingly large number of competitors. I was the first analyst to track the MEMs microphone market, issuing our first report more than 10 years ago through my company The Information Network, so I understand the dynamics.
    Also, Knowles is in litigation with Chinese MEMs microphone manufacturer Goertek over patent disputes. Knowles hasn't fared too well. I've known Jeff Niew before he became CEO, and was then approachable. I offered my help in the litigation but he never returned my phone calls. This to me demonstrates lack of judgement on his part because I would have been helpful as an expert witness for Knowles. I wonder whether other misjudgements are also the culprit in market share losses.
    Oct 14, 2014. 12:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lam Research Is Cashing In On Chips [View article]
    Bill, I like your article but I'm not sure I agree that LRCX is taking market share from INTC in etch. If you read my series of articles on AMAT I wrote a few months ago, LAM gained share because market shares are calculated in US Dollars and Hitachi-High Tech (HHT) counts revenues in Yen. Because of the Yen/Dollar exchange rate in 2013, HHT lost share on paper only, not in real shares.
    I agree about how LRCX will gain share on AMAT and TEL. LRCX has seasoned veterans and the merger combined their expertise. AMAT, on the otherhand, brought in executives from VSEA in that acquisition and forced out long-time AMAT employees to make room. Dickerson did well at $1 billion VSEA, but his achievement were a result of VSEA's move to single-wafer 300mm implant tools that was initiated by its predecessor. He has yet to prove himself at a $4 billion AMAT, and it will be a real stretch prove is worth at a $10 billion Eteris.
    Sep 28, 2014. 02:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • IHS: Attractive For A Few Years But Reliance On Acquisitions May Backfire [View article]
    IHS got the best overall forecaster award for the "most accurate forecasts of U.S. gross domestic product and consumer price inflation for 2013." You mention this AFTER you mention that "the major industry verticals in which IHS provides expertise are energy and natural resources, aerospace and defense, maritime, automotive, technology and chemical industries." By doing so, you imply that they deserved the award for these industries. I follow them in the technology industry and they are good at collecting last years data. Period. Companies send them their revenue breakouts and they compile them and sell them. Gartner does the same thing. But forecasts are predominately incorrect two years out. Check out forecasts IHS made in 2011 and then see what actuals were in 2013. People need accurate forecasting, and neither IHS or Gartner meet these needs.
    Sep 28, 2014. 02:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Applied Materials' Appeal Goes Beyond Its Mega-Merge [View article]
    All you are doing is reiterating AMAT's. Show your own research to ascertain the facts. So what if it is going to be the largest semiconductor company. Each has been losing market share, particularly TEL. The 3D stuff is still in the pushout stage because of manufacturing delays. The delay in 450mm wafer production will seriously hurt both companies, both in the bottom line for 450mm equipment made but not sold and future revenue of 450mm equipment to its customers, particularly Intel, Samsung, and TSMC, the only companies with deep enough pockets to make a 450mm fab.
    So what's your point in writing this article?
    Sep 15, 2014. 10:57 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Worst To First? Micron's NAND Strategy Revisited [View article]
    "Mark Durcan and his CEO peers at the other NAND producers are cautioning that the 3D transition is not going to be a rapid event?"
    There are numerous examples of companies jumping the gun and losing market share and revenue. Back in themid-1908s, when I started The Information Network, there was a move by US DRAM manufacturers to stepper lithography systems while the Japanese DRAM manufacturers stayed with the trusted scanners. The result, yields on steppers dropped from 90% to 20% and every DRAM manufacturer, including Intel, went out of the DRAM business while the Japanese umped to 100% market share. In 3D, it is Applied Materials that is pushing for 3D as a way of making money. AMAT got burnt in the late 1990s when it pushed 300mm wafers before the rest of the industry, specifically ASML, was ready. They got burnt again on 450mm the past few years (search Seeking Alpha for a recent article of mine on this topic). MU does not have the deep pockets of Samsung. Let them get the bugs out and then MU can move in.
    Aug 29, 2014. 12:56 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials - No Surprises As The Long Term Risk-Reward Remains Challenged [View article]
    "Yet the real value accretion should results in gains in operating earnings with Tokyo posting no real earnings at the moment of the deal announcement, while Applied posted operating margins of 17% of the past quarter. By 2017, the deal should allow these companies to post operating earnings of 25% combined according to comments made by executives in the past."
    Take a look at the company's S-1 Prospectus, which I discussed several weeks ago in a Seeking Alpha article and noted that it is filled with inconsistencies and spin. The Chinese took a look at it too, which is why there are the delays in the acquisition and why an amended filing was required. For the combined margins to grow to 17% will be an unprecedented hockey stick move in growth following 2-3 years of stagnation.
    "orders and sales fell by 6 and 7% compared to the first quarter, respectively. Weaker momentum in DRAM was one of the reasons behind the fall."
    That translates to pushouts in 3D, which AMAT cleverly avoided using in past conference calls and enabled the stock to jump. I noted this in other Seeking Alpha articles and sure enough, AMAT continues to spin and avoid the "pushout" wording but the numbers don't lie.
    Look also for annual earnings on the low side of 10-17%.
    Aug 16, 2014. 12:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment