Today - Monday, December 22, 2014
- Frank's International (NYSE:FI) says its board intends to appoint Gary Luquette to succeed Keith Mosing as its new President and CEO after a special shareholder meeting scheduled for Jan. 23.
- Luquette joined FI's board late last year after serving 35 years at Chevron, including as President of Chevron North America Exploration and Production during 2006-13.
- Mosing will serve as Executive Chairman of the Board.
- SINA states police in the city of Shenzhen are probing allegations P2P lending platform Zhonghuizaixian.com misappropriated bankers' acceptances supporting a wealth management product Sina helped sell. Zhonghuizaixian recently said it has received investor claims demanding as much as $8.8M.
- Sina's financial liability might be bigger than that: GeoTeam: "According to Chinese media, there's RMB 260M (USD $42.4M) that may have to be made whole by [Sina's] subsidiary & over 3k investors affected."
- A number of major Chinese Internet companies have launched wealth management platforms via partnerships. The products have seen healthy uptake among Chinese consumers looking for an alternative to the low interest rates provided by state-owned banks.
- Encana (NYSE:ECA) and Mitsubishi subsidiary Cutbank Dawson Gas Resources agree to sell natural gas gathering and compression assets supporting Montney development in the Dawson area of British Columbia to a partnership of Veresen (OTC:FCGYF) and KKR for C$412M.
- Veresen will provide gathering and compression services to ECA under a fee-for-service arrangement in a dedicated area of mutual interest within the Montney, and aims to spend up to C$5B of new midstream expansion to support development within the Montney; the ECA partnership plans to invest $600M-$700M in the play in 2015.
- Brean's Mike Burton left a talk with RF Micro (NASDAQ:RFMD) IR chief Doug Delieto believing "some of the recent investor concerns about a ‘coming deterioration in pricing and/or margins’ looks like ‘healthy paranoia’ (we share the feeling, but it doesn’t look likely).”
- Meanwhile, CFO William Priddy stated he believes Qorvo, as RF Micro and TriQuint (NASDAQ:TQNT) will be known post-merger, can hold its margins steady in calendar Q1 even if revenue falls 10%-15% Q/Q due to seasonality. He adds
- Burton adds TriQuint "continues to see tightness" in the BAW and TC SAW filter markets, and that "conversations with other supply chain management and investor reps lead us to believe that, for those that are exposed to Apple, this quarter is playing out as well or better than was expected." Avago's recent numbers point in the same direction.
- Rising Chinese 4G phone sales are also viewed as a tailwind, given the higher RF content of 4G devices relative to 3G counterparts. Fast-growing Xiaomi was TriQuint's 2nd-biggest BAW filter customer last quarter.
- RF Micro rose 3.5% in regular trading, and TriQuint rose 3.6%. The Philadelphia Semi Index was up 1.2%.
- Under the terms of its license agreement, Medivation (NASDAQ:MDVN) exercises its option for pidilizumab, an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody from CureTech Ltd. The company will be responsible for all development, regulatory and commercialization activities for pidilizumab for all indications, including oncology.
- CureTech will receive an upfront payment of $5M from Medivation, development and regulatory milestones up to $85M, sales-based milestones up to $245M and tiered royalties from 5 - 11% based on global sales.
- Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) +3.2% AH after closing its asset sale to Southwestern Energy (NYSE:SWN) for net proceeds of $4.975B, $400M less than expected due to a settlement for various items, including SWN's waiver of any future claims related to title defects and environmental liabilities.
- The properties sold to SWN consist of ~413K net acres and 1,500 wells located in West Virginia and Pennsylvania with 57K boe/day in net production, along with related property, plant and equipment.
- Also, CHK's board authorizes a $1B stock buyback program.
- Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Vanda Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VNDA) agree to settle their dispute over the rights to Fanapt (iloperidone) and to release each other from all related claims. Per the settlement agreement, Novartis will transfer all rights to Fanapt in the U.S. and Canada to Vanda, make a $25M equity investment in Vanda at a price of $13.82 per share and grant Vanda an exclusive worldwide license to AQW051, an alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist currently in Phase 2 development for the treatment of schizophrenia.
- Novartis originally licensed Fanapt in October 2009 but sales never took off.
- Previously: Vanda seeks award in Fanapt licensing dispute (July 17, 2014)
- Previously: Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA -1.6%) dips after receiving a thumbs down from the European... (Dec. 14, 2012)
4:23 PM| Comment!
- The S&P and Dow pushed ahead for a fourth straight day of gains and new record closes, as investors continued to focus on the Fed's easy interest rate policy after last week's reassurances that it will be "patient" about the timing and pace of rate hikes.
- Traders said there was no real news driving the gains, and that trading volumes were low at 772M shares traded on the NYSE floor.
- Nymex crude oil dropped 3.3% to $55.26/bbl, hurting energy stocks which in turn limited gains in the broader averages.
- The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.163% from 2.178% on Friday, supported by a weaker than expected report on existing home sales for November.
- The options being considered by Advanced Energy (NASDAQ:AEIS) for its solar inverter ops include "a sale, joint venture, partnership, licensing or other alternatives including additional product line optimization and rationalization, in order to maximize shareholder value."
- AEIS also says it plans to record a $10M-$14M non-cash inventory charge in Q4 related to "the company's strategic review and resulting retirement of certain central inverter legacy products."
- Central (string) solar inverters have been losing ground to microinverters. The former are cheaper than the latter, but can also be less reliable and/or efficient.
- Shares are halted.
4:04 PM| Comment!
- Statoil (STO -1%) says it discovered oil at one of its wildcat wells in the North Sea, estimating the size of the discovery at 6.3M-19M barrels.
- STO drilled the well just north of another well where a discovery was made in 2011 and a few miles southwest of the Osberg South field; it is the eighth exploration well in the production license.
- Last week, STO said it would invest $600M-plus to develop the Rutil discovery in the Gullfaks reserve area of the North Sea.
- Taiwanese LED industry sources tell Digitimes the Chinese government "has ordered its subordinate agencies and local governments to stop offering subsidies and tax incentives for China-based LED epitaxial wafer and chip makers because such offering has disrupted market mechanisms and may violate WTO rules."
- Cree (CREE +3%), which has lost mid-power LED chip share to low-cost Chinese manufacturers, could benefit from the ending of subsidies. As might Taiwan's SemiLEDs (LEDS +6.3%) and U.S. LED wafer supplier Rubicon (RBCN -3.5%).
- On the other hand, equipment suppliers Veeco (VECO +2%) and Aixtron (AIXG -1.2%) could see their Chinese orders slump. Aixtron soared in September after landing a major order from Chinese LED chipmaker San'an Optoelectronics. Digitimes notes San'an has received generous subsidies from the Xiamen city government, and has placed major orders with both Aixtron and Veeco.