Flak And Bleeding Brass In Canada And Finland, Israel And Argentina

Argentina is trying an end-run which may result in its being held in contempt of court, to avoid having to negotiate seriously with the hold-out hedge funds over its debt. These owners of ~10% of the bonds refused to join in the 2005 and 2010 deals to extend duration and cut yield on the bonds. They had been issued by Argentina under US law during the prior Argentina government of Nestor Kirschner, whose widow, Cristina Fernandez, now runs the country.

Cristina yesterday proposed a law that would make Banco de la Nacion, a govt-controlled local bank, trustee for the refinanced bonds, in place of Bank of NY-Mellon. A US judge has ruled that BNY is not allowed to make payments of $539 mn on the refinanced bonds unless it also paid the holdouts. As a result, no payments can be made, putting Argentina into default.

Experts say the end-run violates the terms of the initial issue and the refinancing, and will hurt Argentina's ability to attract foreign investment to get out of its recession and strengthen the peso. But of course there is an emotional component which Cristina plays to the hilt. In her address to Congress (according to the BBC) the Widow Kirschner said: “Excuse me if I get a a little nervous. I usually have more poise.”

The Ukrainian crisis has had unexpected consequences in European food markets.

Bloomberg reports that after Russia banned Polish apple imports 2 years ago, Poland is busily turning surplus fruit into cydr, Polish for cider. I think the US should allow Polish cider imports alongside those from more traditional producers like Britain, France, and Ireland.

The Financial Times reports that the world's largest egg producer, London-listed Avangardo, has had its $200 mn Crimean egg hatcheries and rice plantations “forcibly nationalized” in Mar. Avengardo now faces a forced “buy-out” allegedly at a below-market valuation. It is suing, following in the steps of Yukos which won a $50 bn lawsuit against Russia in international courts last month. Another UK-listed firm, poultry producer MHP, is also planning a court challenge.

More on the food and drink crisis in Russia for paid subscribers below. Plus news from Israel, S. Korea, Britain, The Netherlands, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Mongolia, and China including a forecast of interim results.

*Our Delek Group, half sold, is under fire from various directions, starting with a rocket barrage against its offshore gas drilling rig in Mediterranean waters claimed by newly reactivated Hamas fighters in Gaza.

It also faced an Israeli inquiry into the pricing of a sub, Delek Energy, which controls the two drilling units, Avner Oil & Gas, and Delek Drilling LP, with 47.9% and 62.6% respectivelyAll 3 are TASE-listed. In a mop-up operation to reduce complexity, DGRLY has bid NIS 12 bn for DE to delist it. A new analysis by David Boaz, a respected Israeli economist, says the bid undervalues DE by 50% to 70%. Israeli stock specialists claim that Delek Group in manipulating the shares of Delek Energy to buy them on the cheap.

Problems over DGRLY's most visible deal, selling control of its US insurance arm, Phoenix Holdings, for NIS 1.7 bn to Jared Kushner, husband of Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, resulted from the Gaza battle. This delayed an insurance supervisor meeting with Jared Kushner for giving a necessary approval to the celebrity couple taking over 47% of Phoenix and also the Kushners' due diligence. The deal is to be funded by Delek Group.

The Trump and Kushner families are big in US real estate but do not currently have insurance assets. The terms of the deal supposed to have been closed by now under the initial memorandum of understanding has now been extended 45 days after Jared Kushner finally arrived in Israel, apparently without Ivanka. I assume the interest on the borrowed money Delek is lendin to the buyers has risen.

*GlaxoSmithKline values its mature drug portfolio now being sold to interested buyers in whole or in part at GBP 2 bn ($3.3 bn). The drugs have annual sales of ~ $1.66 bn. According to Dow-Jones, the 2nd bidding round now includes generics producer Mylan and Indian generics companies, private equity groups like TPG,Advent, KKR, and Warburg Pincus. The drugs include Paxil, Malarone against malaria, hep B drug Zeffix, and cholestorol cutter Lovaza. DJ did not name the Indian firms.

*Iam Gold, IAG, gave an update on its new Monster Lake mine project in Quebec Province. It has an earn-in agrement with TomaGold Corp which can result in IAG acquiring up to half the shares in Monster Lake, Winchester, and Lac à l'eau jaune near Chibougamau. Based on cash payments and exploration spending. IAG has now completed the phase 1 summer field program of diamond down-dip and lateral drilling of an area previously selected by Toma, and the results are positive. IAG sr vp exploration Craig MacDougall said the drill results :confirmed the presence of several mineralized structures as well as high grades.” More tests are being arranged and IAG is going ahead with the mines. The advantage of Quebec gold ore is the it is politically safe.

*China Chaintek United Ltd., CTEK-London, will report on H1 results Sept. 22. It today put out a notice that the interim results will meet management expectations forecast with the 2013 results in April. Then it initiated a dividend. It also then announced that it was constructing a new logistics and distribution park in Jinjiang to open in 2016 and would spread its reach across China while developing its IT systems. It plans to finance capacity growth internally from the cash its operations generate (it held RMB 319 mn in cash after paying land use fees for the Jinjiang site), and would not need to incur debt. However, it also said that it is considering different capital management strategies to cash in on China's e-commerce growth. As reported already, the construction target date remains, but CTEK has run into licensing difficulties for the new site which covers 145,600 m2. The local govt. has to agree to a rebate on the price of the rental of the land under Beijing's rules to favor logistics companies, but this is now somewhat uncertain. The new site is 14 km from the existing CTEK warehouse which can be upgraded. I am buying more CTEK.

*Veresen, the pipeline firm building the Jordan Cove liquefaction plant in Oregon, is being sued by its partner from the original 2005 project for Jordan Cove by a predecessor of FCGYF, which was supposed to be a re-gasification plant,Energy Fundamentals Group, EFG, in a Toronto Court. EFG was hired for financial advise and given an option to buy up to 20% of Jordan Cove. It was allowed to pay for development equity Veresen had spent money on until the exercise of its option, plus a premium after-tax rate of return of 30% compounded annually. Martin Ferera writes from Canada:

The 2005 accord was with Fort Chicago Energy (why the pink sheet symbol for Veresen is FCGYF) to create an import facility. Veresen's opinion is that this option has lapsed and Jordan Cove is now an export terminal and the old agreement is invalid.

If EFG wins it will have to pay Versean heavily to exercise its 20% option. Veresen argues that given developments since 2005, if EFG wins, it will have to pay a big premium.

I hope the court throws the case out. But the lawsuit's timing reflects EFG's confidence that Jordan Cove will proceed and so it is worth paying to get a stake.

Vivian adds: Veresen writes that the impact of a ruling that the EFG option is valid or not will have no material impact on FCGYF.

Martin enclosed its statement which is marked “not for distribution to US newswire services or for dissemination in the United States.” I bought my shares on the pink sheets in the USA so this is silly.

*Bombardier aerospace is bleeding brass after its C-series planes were grounded after an engine (from Pratt & Whitney) failed in May. Another executive has been let go today and 1800 workers were also grounded. BDRAF is a mid-cap family-controlled Canadian enterprise which expects performance.

*Yandex is a likely winner as Ukraine and Russia begin talks. It offers internat search and services in both countries along with Turkey, Belarus, and Kazakstan. YNDX today completed its acquisition of auto.ru, the online car classified ads business in Russia. YNDX is Dutch incorporated.

*London stocks on the FTSE 100 fell today over concern that the Bank of England may raise interest rates sooner than expected. Internal splits in the CB revealed by minutes can also affect the US$ and Wall St. I think the news from Ferguson and low wage growth mean the Fed will take its time raising interest rates.

But Nokia (which trades in London but is not affected by the BoE) rose 2.6% in UK trading. It may be because rumors of a new Microsoft investment in NOK were finally squelched by Bloomberg. NOK is looking for a new head of its HERE mapping system after Michael Halbherr walked out in a dispute with CEO Rajeev Suri. The two men (or 1 ½ men) disagreed over whether the maps should be targetted only at people in cars, or at people looking to shop. The auto side is doing well but maps for consumers (and ads related to them) are being cannibalized by google maps, according to Bloomberg. NOK has posted a job search for Halbherr's replacement on-line. (Halbherr means half a man in German, why my comment above.

*Cosan finally delivered by e-mail its 2013-4 92-page financial report to this shareholder... in Portuguese with lots of pretty pictures of executives and one of the longest train I have ever seen. I studied the language at the Fundação Gulbenkian but I truly do not think that the owner of a US-listed Big Board company should receive this kind of investor relations material. The conference calls were last week in both English and Portuguse and the material was not available to this shareholder. Earlier they company sent a hodge-podge of reports on specific parts of the company which defied consolidation full of irrelevant numbers focused on CZZ's size, sustainability, goodness, and charm. The only thing in English was on page 58: a headline reading “Materiality Matters. Global Reporting Initiative. At the time of publication the G4-17 to G4-27 disclosures were correctly located in this G4 content index and final report.” That doesn't mean anything to me in my native language.

*Saneamento Basico de São Paulo was down-rated to sell by Brean Capital. We told you first. Because of low dam levels after the rains failed plus the World Cup, SBS offered customers rebates if they cut water consumption during the summer. This naturally hit sales and profits. SBS is controlled by the State ofSão Paulo and is not always good to shareholders. We sold last month.

*Elliott Gue and Roger Conrad in Capitalist Times have tipped Shinhan Financial Group for being more shareholder friendly than the normal Korean stock, with 5 of its 12 directors representing the shareholder base. They say that this helps explain why SHG trades at 0.8x its book value while other Korean banks trade at 0.5x. They also forecast a return on equity for GHSG of 8% each year vs 5-6% for its rivals. They say to buy at up to $50, according to an article on their pick inDickDavisDigest.

Nomura's Michael Kurtz also like Korean financials. He wrote today that the Central Bank is now expected to keep rates low until late next year. This “assymetric policy response” is to give South Korea an edge against Japan, and may even result in further easing. The Korean CB set the official interest rate at 2.25% last week. The CB move is expected to “add domestic poristives to Korean stocks' already rising external attractions.” Kurtz says to overweight Korea “with an emphasis on tech, banks, internet, and consumer staples.”

*I am trying to get E-trade to transfer the GDR shares of OJSC Gruppa Cherkizovo, the huge Russian meatpacker, from my main account to my separate e-trade global trading account. It is listed without a current price and the cusip shown produces no information.

*I am also trying to transfer the former ADRs of another (partial) Russky play,Coca Cola HBC, which cancelled its ADR, but which trades daily in London, to the global trading account. It is supposed to take 2 businss days. I'll believe it when I see it. There is no charge for transfers between e-trade accounts.

*Fund note. The biggest shareholder in Mongolia Growth Fund, Bill Fleckenstein who is on its board and owns 9% of the shares out, says that US easy monetary policy means stocks and bonds face big problems. Low interest rates have led to “misallocation” as “central banks engage in printing” money, he told King World News. “Bonds are a joke, yes, and stocks are a joke” he said. “There's no chance that the outcome in the financial markets in America is pleasant. We either have a boatload of inflation and at some point the bond market gets wrecked and the Fed's credibility is undermined,” he said.

He added: “This can't possibly end well. This is a very fragile structure. The market is crash-prone. There is not going to be any liquidity on the downside because of what's happened in the banks.”

As our Martin Ferera pointed out in sending me this tirade: “it's okay to own and go big on a company with no profits (yet) and full of hope (we hope)”, namely Mongolia Growth?”

“In Bill's opinion stocks are a joke. It doesn't really recommend YAK, does it?” (MNGGF trades in Canada as YAK). Fleckenstein heads Fleckenstein Capital in Seattle and writes a column full of hard-money advice called Financial Sense and is also on the board of Pan American Silver, PAA in Toronto.

I recently took a lot of flak for selling half my YAK or MNGGF.

Disclosure: None

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