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mrholty

mrholty
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  • Axion Power Concentrator 397: Apr. 30, 2015 [View instapost]
    Actually they didn't pay staff in full. A few months back I posted an article I found this winter from SHRM (Human Resources Mag) that spoke about how their HR group in the past went to rolling layoffs when they had down time in order production (I assume from the tolling contract). The assumption is that mgmt. felt that these staff were needed and worked out a way for these guys to get 75% of their hours and therefore not cost the company in layoff related expenses, unemployment insurance, etc.

    I constantly watched the manufacturing staff #s as I figured that would be a sign of growth or death. Instead it never changed which tells me that mgmt. wasn't really watching the costs.

    I shake my head at what the hell the company really did on a day to day basis the last 5-7 years.
    May 21, 2015. 07:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GCVRZ Forum [View instapost]
    Anybody have any thoughts on the volume today. Over 10M shares traded with the majority in two large chunks.

    Anybody have any thoughts - Wondered if that was the company buying up shares or just a pre arranged transaction.
    May 20, 2015. 05:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 396: Apr. 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    NS owes a report to the FRA at the end of July on their battery project. I do not know if it will be public but it will be interesting to see.

    If available I expect that the 999 has not been used in the rail yards but out.
    May 8, 2015. 05:19 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 396: Apr. 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    My understanding is that the test units in Walmart use a Princeton Power inverter. Just a rumor. Wonder if the home version does. If so is Princeton Power public?
    May 1, 2015. 12:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 396: Apr. 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    Do not get this video deleted. Its needs to stay visible so that in the future if someone is doing due diligence on a company and they are looking for prior work done by the mgmt. team they can see what happened vs some scrubbed bio.
    Apr 30, 2015. 12:56 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 396: Apr. 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    I think you will see that the IP of the company will be sold to the Chinese caller on the last conference call.
    Apr 29, 2015. 05:59 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 396: Apr. 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    No. The stupid questions of vote this way or that is what a 12 year old girl on Tumblr does.

    Hell, I remember one of what price will you sell your shares at and what will you name your boat.
    Apr 29, 2015. 05:58 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    In my private notes I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what went wrong with this investment and one other that I first heard about on Seeking Alpha, Ram Power. Both were bad losses for me (Axion being magnitudes more) and have caused me to miss out on a great Bull run for the last 5 years. Both have similar stories. The numbers told a different story than the story mgmt. told and the numbers told the truth. At the end of the day if mgmt. fails to deliver they are more likely to fail to deliver in the future. Its hard to turn a ship but if you can find a ship that is really turning its really worth it.

    With regards to Axion – I clung to a few #s that gave me hope and I’ve watched them.
    1. The first was inventory. Anybody remember how a bunch of inventory ramped up a few years ago and was labeled as finished goods. Then the next quarter they were subsequently restated to WIP. My understanding at the time was the majority of this inventory was Axion’s PbC inventory. The management notes at the time was that this inventory should be labeled as WIP as they were finished batteries but without the negative electrodes which would only be done right before shipment mean finished goods would be low. Logically this makes sense. John and I (and others) had discussions on this of what this meant and I agreed with John then and I do still now. You don’t invest in inventory unless you plan to sell something and soon. As the tolling contract has ended you see how much inventory is still on the books.
    2. # of employees. In the last 12 months I watched the number of mfg staff. I felt this was the canary in the coal mine. If we won a deal with BMW or more loco sales I was looking for an uptick in inventory (see above) and a growth in mfg employees. When the tolling contract was winding down and ended and yet the mfg staff didn’t change it told me that sales were still coming. When DDG deferred salaries of executives but this # didn’t change told me that if he was willing to do that he had to have a sales in the pipe.
    Generally I like to look at secondary metrics such as Revenue/employee and cash flows to see through mgmt. BS but I couldn’t here. I used these above and assume mgmt. made rational decisions. I was wrong. Rational mgmt. would cut manufacturing staff. I just found this article that explains how Axion may have done it and it angers me.
    http://bit.ly/1J80lsD

    “What Can HR Professionals Do To Control Costs?”
    Here are five ways HR professionals can control their employers' costs for unemployment insurance taxes: -
    Rolling layoffs. Consider rolling layoffs to help keep good workers linked to your company. "When you're facing layoffs, the easiest way is to take the bottom 10 percent," says Scott Hollander, senior director of human resources and quality assurance at Axion Power International. "But you can't do it forever." With rolling layoffs, workers rotate in and out of unemployment with the expectation that they will be reinstated after a given period and replaced on unemployment insurance by another worker. There's a risk that some workers may resent the cutbacks, but if you have the right culture, most people buy in. When Axion instituted rolling layoffs, "There were some longer-serving employees who felt they should be working full time rather than three-quarter," Hollander says. "But they didn't make a stink."
    Reading this, along with the inventory build (for no reason), and what felt misleading to me about the product line being ready (and then finding out a few years later that the automation we thought was happening wasn’t) mad me feel that we had been strung along. Writing these examples down has turned me from one of “its my fault –buyer beware” to mgmt. lied and probably lied to everyone.
    Last example of mine.

    Back in 2011 there was a ramp of non-tolling contract sales over a few quarters that totaled over $1M. At the time I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what that was. Only last year from when DDG came over and in one or two of the documents there was a discussion that they had a $1M project with the Department of Defense for a test project. (This was before the Navy Zero net building) and my FOIA request went nowhere. These blogs discussed why there were an example of military work on the investor presentations for Axion around this time but never got a satisfactory answer. In my notes I had labeled it as “possible fleet(s) testing”. Previously I had ignored the ramblings of the troll and didn’t understand the secrecy of the need for the NDA and would sit and shake my head yes agreeing with Rick on the stupidity of the NDAs but I always believed the battery to be as advertised. I don’t anymore.
    I think that Axion knew the battery didn’t perform or that Axion couldn’t explain why their lab results didn’t work in the field. Otherwise there would have been follow up orders. Initial reports (18 months late) by NS were negative, etc. Reading the comments when Mr. Buiel and Bob spoke about poking a hole in the package and “it worked” told me the commercialization that we all thought occurred really didn’t. A lawsuit will do no good but I hope the Sr. Mgmt at Axion (not just TG) spends some days really thinking about what they did and didn’t do and that caused the company to fail.
    Apr 21, 2015. 05:37 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    Bazoo-
    Sorry for the delayed note on this. I’ve thought long and hard on this and I’ve had a change of opinion over the past 96 hours. My initial assumption from day 1 until this weekend was built on this fact: I assume the Sr. Mgmt team of Trego, Dantam, Baker, Granville all wanted this thing to succeed. They all had been in various levels of mgmt. at other companies and took jobs that should have been similar or atleast had some relation to their previous job. While we can complain about the salaries they took if they were successful they would have received options worth more than their salaries. In my history I find it easier that people want to be successful. That doesn’t mean they will be or they know how to be but in general it’s the correct assumption. (I know there are exceptions but even then its more the idea that they felt their incentives were aligned elsewhere). I still believe this to be the case that when each member joined they all did want it to succeed. In fact I believe that they did what they felt was their best to succeed. I think that many of them however underestimated their ability to succeed. However I also feel that for some their roles changed. TG’s role clearly became one of polishing a turd and creating a web of half truths and sorta success. I believe that he did this to keep the door open as he wanted his paycheck but also I think to really succeed. In that way TG succeeded. I believe he did so as he though they would land the whale (BMW) which would then hide the warts of the prior years.

    I first placed my coldcalls when the PbC believer (now we know to be Mr. Averill) was openly mocking the work effort of TG. There were comments that to me felt from someone on the inside. I actually thought it was Ed Buiel back under a different name. I assume this was a shot at TG publicly and I assume Mr. Averill knew that Axion staff read these instablogs, maybe including TG. I have no doubt that Mr. Averill as an original founder was and is upset by the lack of success at Axion. Looking at Mr. Averill’s bio he has been successful at every stop along the way. I have no idea of what % he owned of Implex when it was sold but he was the founder.

    In the last 12 months I have the great opportunity to work for a CEO who works extremely hard, and demands the same from his staff. I’ve seen the difference and I believe Bob was sick of the BS from the CEO’s seat. Once we knew this to Bob I should have sold my remaining shares immediately yet I didn’t. This was a public shaming and should have been a lesson for all of us. As someone who has a hand in providing information for the Board and has sat in a couple of board meetings its very hard to be a good board. In my experience the Mgmt team (CEO) sets the agenda outside of the audit committees. The good stories are told the negatives are hidden. Compared to a normal meeting the Board has way less ammunition than a normal CEO and is insulated. A very negative thing is that the Boards usually meet on the weekends so they don’t see the real business day and even if they do its hidden by mgmt.
    Apr 21, 2015. 05:13 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    That appears to be a mistake. His obits stated he died at his home on a Sunday morning.
    Apr 16, 2015. 06:05 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    There is a reason reverse mergers into shells don't usually end well. It usually was the cheapest way to get into the stock market. That means you are dealing with underfunded businesses. Those businesses are the most risky.

    I am shocked at some of these questions in the last few weeks. We all bought shares of a startup company that we knew was risky. Some thought that due to this concentrator and the DD done here that it was guaranteed to end well. As I've mentioned here I blew past my rules twice and invested too much and I have to pay for it. This has probably been the most eye opening investment for me ever.

    The people I feel bad for are the good employees of Axion over the years who pored a good chunk of their earning years working on something that they hoped would be successful and profitable and maybe even help to change the world a little bit. Like too many things in life it doesn't work out like we planned. This is a setback for many of us. For John Petersen this hurts his reputation, for other Board members this is not a fun time, blaming what happened here on something 10 years old is stupid. The real questions is what caused the sales to fall through the past few years. I think its a mixture of the people and products.
    What has blown me away is how bad this last year has been. Its incredible.
    Apr 16, 2015. 05:58 PM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    Agreed. However that $120k does seem high for those speciality batteries. A few years ago I inquired to the volume and while I never got definitive amounts it was relayed to me by 2 different sources that it was a stable $200-250k/year business.
    Apr 16, 2015. 08:36 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    Those pay are deferred not eliminated. In a BK filing those amounts would be considered debt similar to employment contracts that would be paid out. They will get their money.
    Apr 16, 2015. 08:34 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    I don't think they are doing a reverse split. I just glanced at it on my phone. I got 3 emails - two seem to be the PR release from our Chairman.

    He wants to issue new shares so that there is not debt. Any debt to pay back shareholders is catastrophic and would screw up the gameplan at this point. He has to be out soliciting to anyone to buy the company in possibly a prepackaged BK or something similar. Shareholders who do not covert I think would become debtors who would move to the front of the line ahead of creditors and other shareholders.

    The one metric that I simply cannot understand is the number of staff at this company. There are 40 of which 20 are in manufacturing. This number is one of the main reasons I owned shares the last two years and especially the last few months. You don't keep manufacturing people on if you are not manufacturing anything! I know you guys like to blame Trego and TG. I think Baker is my new #1 target. I was blissfully unaware of the pin hole idea for a production product. I'm convinced this would scare any potential company/partner away such as BMW. I put that on Baker.

    Trego tried to spin a positive story to the street that no one bought. Nothing more the CFO can do. The deals were due to lack of sales and a lack of faith in mgmt. to get sales.
    Apr 15, 2015. 06:42 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 395: Apr. 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    Thanks. Unfortunately the knowledge came too late for me. I was frustrated by the ability to have working field trials/test sites etc and my calls to New Castle were never returned. Its amazing what happens when you pull up industry council and just cold call people (not email) and show genuine interest. I've spoken with a former board member about items who read this blog and recognized me when I reached out to him. I was embarrassed that I would sound like an idiot to him but he was helpful and took the time to give me his opinion.

    I had proof that mgmt. was failing and I didn't do anything about it. I'm disappointed in myself beyond belief. To be honest I've owned other companies that have gone BK and been complete wipeouts but no investment of mine has frustrated me by my inability to sell when I had countless opportunities and warning signs. Hell, selling out 9 months ago would have saved me a considerable amount.
    Apr 10, 2015. 06:44 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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