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Stan Piland  

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  • Why I'm Long General Dynamics: Robust Financial Metrics, Low Valuation [View article]
    Nice article! I have been thinking about doing some work on defense companies, but have not yet gotten to it. Sentiment has been awful on the sector, given expectations of a sharp contraction in U.S. defense spending. But it seems to me the sector can benefit from an expected arms race resulting from the U.S. withdrawing military protection from its numerous smaller allies. In that regard, the recent $60 billion Saudi arms deal is likely the tip of the iceburg. Maybe I need to move this up the priority list. Thanks.
    Oct 26, 2010. 01:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It’s Not Too Late to Buy Quality Distribution on the Cheap [View article]
    Thanks for the comments,
    Regarding rails as the low cost shipping alternative, I agree. But don't forget QLTY owns Boasso which has 40% market share in the ISO tank container market. I think Boasso is an unappreciated growth driver for QLTY. Apollo has owned QLTY since 1998 and has a seat on the board. I do not think they are sellers until the stock is meaningfully higher, and I am comfortable investing with them. But there is no question that they control the company.

    Regarding a double-dip recession, that would postpone the investment case for QLTY. By the same token, I do not think you need a particularly robust recovery for this stock to work. Right now, the whole trucking industry is suffering from overcapacity, which probably starts to abate in the first half of 2011. QLTY has less of an issue with overcapacity than truckload or LTL players for reasons noted above. But a tighter market will benefit everyone and will probably help valuations.

    The debt is both an issue and an opportunity. My sense is that they are more interested in reducing debt than making acquisitions at this point. An as noted, it is expensive debt, but I am still assuming some modest dilution once the offering is priced.
    Oct 21, 2010. 04:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • School Specialty: A High Quality Business for the Contrarian Investor [View article]
    This sounds like a pretty cool story! I never heard of them, so have to do a little work on the. Do you know how strong their online service offering is? The reason I ask is that some of the SaaS companies like SQI offer huge savings on indirect goods, and education is one of their target markets. This would not affect SCHS' proprietary product, but maybe less proprietary supplies, etc. Thanks!
    Oct 19, 2010. 12:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Blackberry vs. iPhone vs. Google Phone Quandary [View article]
    Questions for folks who obviously know more than I do:

    Verizon just told me that they they now require 20 months before allowing another phone upgrade on a 24 month contract.
    It used to be a year...is 20 months new?
    Does this have the potential to dramatically slow year-over year-comparisons for smart phones next Christmas?
    Thanks...
    Jan 17, 2010. 07:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Astra-Zeneca Flies to 'Jupiter' on Drug Results [View article]
    The statin industry is one of the biggest frauds ever foisted upon the American people. And in a perfect world all these companies would be all brought up on RICO charges. That's why I don't invest in them.

    Admittedly I have not reviewed the data from the second phase of the Jupiter trial. However the initial phase was the first statin trial to ever show a even a modest survival benefit in patients with no history of cardiovascular disease. It also was the first to require both elevated C-Reactive protein (CRP) and high cholesterol as criteria for inclusion in the study. Previous studies focused only on patients with high cholesterol.

    Additionally, that trial was stopped early and the data extrapolated out to show much better results at 5 years.

    So is Crestor's modest success due to reduction of cholesterol or reduction of CRP? Or reduction of rho-kinase? Or is it something else entirely?

    In general, you need to treat around 100 patients with high cholesterol and no history of heart disease for 1 to avoid a heart attack. And the heart attacks tend to be more severe, so there is no survival benefit...bad odds given the side effects.

    Maybe products like this explain why drug companies' marketing and lobbying expenses run almost four times their R&D budgets.
    Dec 6, 2009. 02:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Quality Distribution: Deleveraging Should Free Up Cash For A Big Move By Management [View article]
    Ha! Wasn't a very good sale! Stock was up 25-30% within just a few months. He also kept a large position of stock and options. And like most CEOs he continues to be incentivized with additional options grants. CEOs sell for a number of reasons, so I have not found insider selling to be a reliable indicator of stock performance. Valuation and growth are what matter most, and on these metrics, QLTY is compelling.
    Dec 6, 2014. 12:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quality Distribution: Deleveraging Should Free Up Cash For A Big Move By Management [View article]
    Nice summary! The deleveraging process actually predates entry into the energy business; former majority owner Apollo was more comfortable with debt than most public-company shareholders. But Gary and Joe have done a great job expanding the footprint while restructuring and reducing high-cost debt. I agree that energy exposure is "the tail that wags the dog" with regards to the stock price. But there's about $100 billion in new chemical capacity on the drawing boards in the U.S. That new capacity will provide a tailwind for QLTY's core chemical business for years to come. So agree that recent weakness is an outstanding opportunity for opportunistic investors.
    Dec 5, 2014. 01:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mitek's Explosive Growth In Mobile Deposit [View article]
    One more thing: It really pisses me off that with flat sequential revenues and decelerating y-o-y revenue growth, stock-based compensation has moved steadily higher to $922k, almost 20% of sales. CEO Jim DeBello sold a ton of stock over $5 late last year. A major negative is that management and the board appear to be using shareholders' equity like it's their own personal piggy bank.
    Jul 28, 2014. 05:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mitek's Explosive Growth In Mobile Deposit [View article]
    Thanks. I am also frustrated with the lackluster sales growth, and I attribute that to the screwball revenue model. Recall the per-transaction price for Mobile Deposit declines on a sliding scale starting at 12 cents per transaction for a million transactions. So transaction growth has been double digits for several quarters, and reorders have gone from 4 to 9 to 13 in the past 3 quarters, but license revenues have essentially been flat. It looks like reorders have (on average) been larger, so transaction growth is offset by lower pricing. I've been thinking that at some point transaction growth and revenue growth would converge, but it's taken longer than I expected.

    So far, I'm still holding. At less than 4X EV/Revs and bordering on profitability, it's pretty cheap if the growth comes, and especially if they win the USAA suit. But they need to see reacceleration in transaction growth, bottom out pricing on the sliding scale, and start to get some traction on the new products. Any evidence those things are happening, this stock could be a rocket; otherwise dead money.
    Jul 28, 2014. 05:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mitek's Explosive Growth In Mobile Deposit [View article]
    Anyone have any thoughts on the quarter?
    Jul 25, 2014. 11:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Cash-Rich Small Caps With Recent Insider Buying [View article]
    I've noticed a significant uptick in insider buying among small companies in the wake of the swoon in small caps this spring. My favorite is Procera (PKT), a deep packet inspection company. They missed past few quarters due to delays in cable capex, but they have $5 in cash, no debt, and are expected to become profitable next few quarters, with significant growth coming from international markets and an eventual recovery in domestic cable. No wonder insiders are buying!
    Jun 17, 2014. 11:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nymox Pharma: Developing A Potential Long-Term Treatment For BPH [View article]
    Are you still following NYMX?? Results from the first Phase 3 trial should be announced pretty soon, I would think. Favorable data should be good for the stock...still like it?
    May 28, 2014. 02:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ziopharm - A Stock Worth Owning To Benefit Your Portfolio This Year And Beyond [View article]
    Thanks!
    May 28, 2014. 01:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mitek's Explosive Growth In Mobile Deposit [View article]
    Management has stated that they use a sliding scale starting at 12 cents per transaction for 1 million transactions. We do not know the breakpoints for lower prices or how low the per-transaction price goes. I've used a slightly different methodology, but agree that 6-8 cents is probably a good estimate. The bigger issue short term is that transaction growth has slowed past few quarters. We really need to see reacceleration to reach the profitability you (and I) expect. Any thoughts on that?
    May 13, 2014. 11:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Parkervision's Win Has Investors Cheering: Don't Be Surprised To See A Secondary Offering On The Way Though [View article]
    Win some, lose some. Moved on....
    Oct 25, 2013. 03:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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