Dear Mr. Zeng Cheng:
As a shareholder, I just wanted to thank you for taking the first step in restoring your company's credibility- the recently announced stock buy back for $30 million of common stock in the open market.
While this is certainly a good first step, many of us would like to suggest it might be the wrong step with the right sentiment.
An open market buy back is something the board authorizes, but there is no assurance of follow up. Voting to do a buy back, and actually buying back the shares are two different items, and the market won't believe the company will actually buy back the shares until proven.
Today's climate for small cap China based stocks like yours is very ugly. There have recently been accusations surrounding the accounting practices of a number of China stocks- some with foundation- others simply rather transparent and sophomoric efforts on the part of short sellers to bash the stocks down. Fearful investors in this climate are choosing to lose money by selling now, and asking questions later. Short sellers understand this psychology.
Those of us who follow CCME have noted a remarkably large reported short position building in the stock since June- in fact, the short position has grown from 1 million to 3 million shares - about 500,000 every two weeks.
This enormous short position suggests short sellers believe there is something wrong with the company, and I believe it is likely some sort of smear campaign will be launched soon.
A better way to have pledged the capital would have been to announce a quarterly cash dividend. $.25 per quarter ( a quarter a quarter) would be my suggestion, and would have succeeded to accomplish what the stock buy back is not achieving.
This would have been a far better way to use your capital to enhance shareholder value. Consider the following five reasons a cash dividend is superior to a stock buy back:
- You cannot fake a cash dividend. When paying a dividend, you either have the cash or you don't. Paying out the cash leaves no doubt.
- The stock would now appeal to a broader cross section of investors in a yield hungry market where coupons are coveted. A $.25 dividend would equate to $1 per share annually- a 12% yield with today's stock price.
- The company can easily afford to distribute $.25 to every shareholder on a quarterly basis. From Q1 to Q2 CCME generated about $26 million in cash flow. A $.25 dividend would only be about 1/3 of the excess cash you are generating, leaving 2/3rds for expansion or acquisitions.
- Short sellers would have to pay the additional $.25 for every share they are short, making it a little more painful to stay short.
- The founders who have shown an interest is selling small portions of their shares in order to raise some capital could now extract some proceeds from the dividends, instead of from the market. In effect, the company's profits would be giving them reasons to hold longer, and rewarding them for building the company at the same time.
I believe you will find the market response far more favorable in a climate like this.
Disclosure: Long CCME