Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Seven Stocks I'm Watching Closely for the Rest of 2017

As I have been in summer mode, I haven't written much about the stocks in my portfolio lately. Here is an update on seven stocks that I am watching closely for the rest of 2017.

First Global Data (FGD)

I'm surprised at the extreme pullback, but I have taken the opportunity to buy more shares. I hold more FGD shares now than ever before. However, thanks to the tank in the stock price, FGD has slipped to the third largest holding in my portfolio. Despite the negative move, I'm not too upset about it. If FGD was doing poorly I would be but I know that business is going very well.

FGD is the one stock I tell people I know to buy, even those who are unfamiliar with the stock market or who only buy very conservative stocks. Why? For two reasons:

1. FGD has been consistently profitable since Q1 2016. Four of the past five quarters showed positive net income while Q4 2016 only showed a loss because of the stock compensation expense booked in that quarter. The threat of bankruptcy is as about as minimal as it can be for a junior stock and while FGD seems to be battling dilution issues right now, those issues will be in the rear view mirror soon enough. It is extremely unlikely that the company will need to finance to maintain operations in the future, yet possesses a very high speculative upside upon continued traction of the business. I strongly believe that FGD will be a $5.00 stock soon enough, which is more than a 15x upside from current prices. I can see a strategic investment being a possible dilutive event in the future, but that would only be a net positive for existing shareholders.

2. There is plenty of verifiable third party evidence that suggests that business is booming:
  • The Android stats for VPayQwik in the Google Play store showed that the app surpassed 100,000 downloads in January and 500,000 downloads in June.
  • The CEO of Vijaya Bank (FGD's operating partner for VPayQwik) stated that he wants to see more than a million users on this app.
  • The Alexa web traffic stats for firstglobalmoney.com have been on a consistent uptrend. It entered into the top million rank in September 2016 and top 400,000 in June. It sits around 370,000 now after hitting as high as 350,000 at the end of July.
  • The partnership with LianLian to bring remittance services to WeChat is already live. Website link. Note the "Powered by First Global Money Inc." message on the service's interface.
Check my previous articles for links and analysis that back up these points. Points one and three show strong growth in usage of the company's existing payments services which has so far been highly correlated to increased revenues in each quarter since Q3 2016. The WeChat service will not likely impact Q2 but we may see material revenue from the deal as early as Q3 based on the progress made early in the quarter.


Peak Positioning Technologies (PKK)

Like FGD, I have also been buying PKK shares and hold more shares now than ever before. Though for this one I can understand why there might have been such a pullback. The company will not be making original financial projections made for 2017, which may have turned off some investors as Q1 looked weak and I am expecting much the same for Q2. However, rather than this being due to a screw up, this delay in revenue is largely due to the opportunity to pivot into the much higher margin Chinese B2B lending space through Cubeler, ASDS and ASFC. Rather than accepting a small margin on large amounts of revenue-generating transactions processed through Gold River, PKK has the opportunity to increase the margin on these transactions by offering lending and other financial services to its customers. Three press releases in August show that the company has achieved major milestones in getting to this point. I expect marginal revenue from these initiatives in Q3 with a ramp-up in Q4.

Another issue that could be negatively impacting the stock is the discount-to-market financing deal that PKK signed with GEM. Many people were suspicious that GEM was responsible for the recent tank. That may not have been the case, but the July progress report showed that PKK financed through GEM with the investment firm getting 3.3 million shares at an average of a little over 6 cents.

I have stated my concerns to PKK's CEO about GEM, and this was his response:



I was quite encouraged to know that he is aware of the issues surrounding GEM and is using this as a test case. I look forward to hearing more business developments that will encourage the stock price to return and surpass the 52-week highs made a couple of months ago, hopefully before the year is up. Even at 6 cents PKK is still my largest holding, reflecting the large amount of shares I own and the even more severe pullback on FGD. However, the next stock could take over as my largest holding if it continues towards new 52-week highs.


Selectcore (SCG)

I was a reluctant buyer of SCG shares recently. Having seen what happened to FGD since the free trading of shares, I was worried about the impact of SCG's private placement coming due, particularly since the stock price has been so strong since the addition of a Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Strategist to the Advisory Board. So far, so good, as Monday didn't generate much selling. However, there could be a risk of weakness in the short term if anyone does decide to sell their shares. If there is not, I will take that as a very good sign and a precursor to more buying as potential buyers see that sellers aren't blinking and will blink first. Thanks to FGD tanking and SCG remaining near 52-week highs, it's now the second largest holding in my portfolio.

I was at the AGM where CEO Mohammad Abuleil and new Chairman (and CEO of FGD) Andre Itwaru explained the current state of the company and plans for the near future. In addition to leveraging the JV with FGD and existing government relationships, SCG is planning to dive in head-first to several leading-edge fintech solutions. This includes a peer-to-peer lending and microfinancing (getting into the GoFundMe type of space) and possibly creating its own cryptocurrency. While the creation of the currency certainly sounds intriguing, that sounds like something that is far down the road and will have a lot of hurdles to overcome. I'm more interested in the near-term plans.

The initiative that I found to be more realistic, achievable and profitable in the short term (possibly before the end of 2017) is the integration of a cryptocurrency solution into SCG's existing point-of-sale platform. Basically, SCG wants to sell Bitcoin and similar kinds of online currencies the same way that it used to sell prepaid phone cards. I asked at the AGM if SCG plans to get into the cryptocurrency dealer space - it does not. Which is what I prefer because I don't want SCG getting caught up with the volatile nature of these things.

SCG once achieved $100 million in annual revenue selling prepaid cards. So the company doesn't have an issue with reach. The problem was that this business was extremely low margin and became obsolete as the carriers improved their web services where customers could easily top-up their balances online. If a cryptocurrency sales solution catches on, it could be a cash cow for years, similar to how businesses like Thomas Cook have made money dealing in physical foreign currencies at kiosks. This is still in the concept phase but I am willing to wait to see how much progress can be made on this in 2017.

Like FGD and PKK, SCG's financials are due in two weeks. The income statement has been up and down since 2016, but still greatly improved over previous years. I looks forward to seeing Q2 2017. The balance sheet should also look the best it has in years.


Assure Holdings (IOM)

I recently sold all of my shares in IOM above $3.00 to purchase more of the three aforementioned stocks. This quick triple has saved my portfolio this summer and allowed me to redeploy more cash into the other stocks as well as the final two on this list. This was slightly below my planned $4.00 target but considering the tank in FGD and PKK I decided to sell a little bit lower and looks like I timed it well as the stock has pulled back to $2.50. This is a price that I would seriously consider buying back in if not for the fact that FGD and PKK are still outstandingly low.

Why did I sell my IOM shares when the company had such a strong Q1 and is trading at an annualized P/E ratio of well less than 10? Keep in mind a couple of the risk factors I outlined in my Seeking Alpha article. First, the stock has moved a lot so insiders or owners of the old shell that existed prior to the RTO might be encouraged to take their profits. Second, the accounts receivable balance is high and has been growing which is always a concern when it comes to businesses that bill Medicaid and the insurance companies in the U.S. Q1 showed positive operating cash flow so the company is collecting on at least part of its invoices. I'll continue to monitor the A/R balance closely when reviewing Q2 and beyond should I decide to buy back in.


Peeks Social (PEEK)

As I stated a few weeks ago, I sold out of my position in PEEK to buy FGD and PKK. I suppose it worked out since PEEK has dropped from the $0.80's to the $0.50's while FGD has dropped from $0.40 to $0.29 and PKK has stayed flat at 6 cents. I still have no plans to buy back in at this moment, but continue to follow the situation.

Recall my article from last October outlining the risks and opportunities that I see in PEEK. I guess the first elephant in the room that I have to acknowledge is that leveraging the old Keek user base wasn't nearly as lucrative as I had hoped. So Mark Itwaru is trying to find other ways to grow the user base to scale. Marketing expense was $1 million in Q1. Assuming the 30/70 split between PEEK and Personas applies to marketing costs as well, that means Peeks Social spent $3 million in advertising for the quarter. There are no details around the marketing expense, so I can only guess at the split between the Caribana sponsorship and what might be paid as an upfront signing bonus to celebrities like Scott Disick.

Maybe the strategic spending Mark is doing will be successful in bringing users onto the Peeks platform and encouraging revenue growth. However, having been burned by this business model before with other investments, I'll continue to sit on the sidelines until I see this strategy gaining traction or the stock becomes too irresistibly cheap to pass up a buying opportunity. My opinion on this is that YouTube helped to make Justin Bieber much more than Justin Bieber ever made YouTube. The Peeks platform is a great opportunity for people to get noticed and earn an income. In my opinion, Peeks needs to find its own stars to make rather than try to recruit existing stars to the platform (except in the case where the offer box is used for e-commerce initiatives).

With that being said, I noticed that the Mayor of Toronto John Tory gave a shout out to Peeks' Twitter account during the Carnival, and it has 230,000 followers. Clearly there is some boost in the Peeks brand name from this sponsorship deal. The next challenge is converting those followers into Peeks users who create content and/or tip others for their content.

There were several large investors in PEEK and even employees of the company present at the SCG AGM. That just goes to show you how incredibly stupid it is to try to gain traction in one of these stocks (PEEK, FGD, SCG) by trashing another. I firmly believe that the Itwaru brothers will help each other out. 


Lightning Ventures (LVI) and MGX Minerals (XMG)

Both of these companies are new to me and are in the oil/mineral extraction and technology space. I've known some of these "water into wine" type of companies before and they generally don't work out. However, trusted associates of mine who are shareholders and close to the management teams are quite bullish on each company. I expect to be talking with management along with writing more detailed reports on both of these stocks and in the case of XMG I have already once spoken with management.

Both companies have the typical risk associated with pre-revenue businesses that are trying to showcase new technology - financing/dilution/insolvency risks before things get off the ground and the risk that someone comes along and builds a better mousetrap if things do get off the ground. But for now I am fairly confident that both companies have a reasonable chance to become revenue-generating in 2017 along with signing (more) contracts with oil and gas players. At least confident enough to make both of these picks public. I'll give them both to the end of the year before re-evaluating my investment. For now I am slowly adding to my position while they are in a quiet period.

I own several other small positions, many of them I have already disclosed in other write ups. I'm also buying and selling other stocks to pass the time, but these seven are the ones I am watching the closest for the rest of 2017.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

I Have Sold Out of PEEK, Bought More FGD and PKK

In a world where I have limited resources and opportunity costs, I have made a difficult decision today. I have sold my PEEK shares in favour of buying more FGD and PKK. As I have mentioned in the past I have flipped some PEEK shares for FGD before, but today was the final trade. With the trades made today I believe I have more shares and warrants in FGD and PKK than I ever have before, or at least very close to that.

PEEK's financials came out yesterday and they were within my expectations for a startup mobile app company in its second, third and fourth month of operations. The revenue came in a bit lower than I expected and expenses higher, but nothing egregiously bad. This has much more to do with FGD and PKK tanking than anything PEEK has done.

Like I said in a world where I have limited resources I have to take into account opportunity costs. My reasoning for selling PEEK shares to buy FGD and PKK is as simple as this:

My target on PEEK is $3.00 versus a stock price of $0.88. That's 3.4x upside.
My target on PKK is $0.50 versus a stock price of $0.06. That's 8.3x upside.
My target on FGD is $5.00 versus a stock price of $0.41. That's 12.2x upside.


PEEK could very well go to $3 and as long as the other two follow suit on my targets I make money and I am happy. One could argue that since I am most bullish on FGD that I should put every penny into there. I still need some diversification. Some people might say "why don't you take out a loan to buy more of these stocks if you're so confident". I've already done that and in fact recently got an increase to my line of credit.

Another factor that weighed into my decision is that FGD and PKK are consistently communicating with shareholders. I have voiced my concern before about companies needing to release press releases detailing their financial results. Both management teams at FGD and PKK have taken to my advice. PEEK has some good KPI metrics but they are buried in its MD&A filed on SEDAR. It's not my responsibility as a shareholder nor any other shareholder's responsibility to push how great these metrics are to other potential investors.

I'd like to semi-apologize to anyone who read my stuff on PEEK and my $3 target and bought in at a higher price. I say semi-apologize because I am not nor should anyone else be responsible for your own trading decisions, and I believe I fairly qualified the risks. Also, there is nothing to suggest that at this very early stage PEEK cannot get to $3 upon further business execution. I didn't sell because I think it's going to zero. I sold because PKK and FGD have headed towards zero much faster than I ever would have thought and I'm taking full advantage of the situation. So you can either hold out to make some money, try your luck with PKK or FGD which I think have higher upside at this stage or sell and buy something else and never listen to my advice again.

Still, it sucks if you bought in at something like $2 and are holding a 50% or higher loss. I have been there before so I can understand your misery. In an ideal world all three of these stocks would have hit my targets on them by now and we'd all be celebrating.

I fully intend to get back into PEEK at some point in time. If FGD or PKK rise so the upside ratio between these three stocks becomes more aligned, I will reverse the trades I've done today. I still hold IOM which has been saving my portfolio over the summer so far. If that stock moves over $5 in short order that may be where the source of cash comes to reload on PEEK (or conversely, if these stocks continue to tank for no good reason and IOM stays where it is or higher). Good luck to those who continue to hold.

By the way, I wasn't the one who sold down to 83 cents. While I was writing this blog I saw it tank and thought to myself "ah shit, people are going to blame me for that".

EDIT: Yes I still hold SCG as well.

Monday, 29 May 2017

PKK Releases Q1 Results: Holding My Target Steady at $0.50

Peak Positioning Technologies (PKK.C) (PKKFF) released Q1 results. They were nothing to write home about with $7.3 million in revenue and a net loss of $661K. However, the company had already prepared us for a weak Q1 as it is in the midst of another pivot into the much more lucrative lending opportunity. This has delayed transactions on the Gold River platform that require lending which caused revenue and margin to fall far short of original expectations.

While the company will be challenged to meet previous EBITDA and revenue targets, I remain bullish with my $0.50 target as I like the direction the business is headed. PKK management is trying to be as transparent as possible while some shareholders are still a little confused. I believe we will get clarity soon enough as PKK has promised an updated presentation on ASFC which should be coming in the next few days and advances on the ASFC business by the end of June.

Here is the outlook for 2017 from the Q1 MD&A:

































Key points:

  • Margins are expected to increase drastically once the lending business is live. While the raw materials transactions are expected to earn margins of 0.5% to 2%, the interest revenue expected by financing these transactions range from 9% to 24%.
  • Two major milestones need to be achieved in 2017 - the launch of ASFC and Cubeler. 
  • Cubeler will be a service available to lenders outside of ASFC.
  • ASDS has been in discussion with potential lending partners. 
  • Peak expects to announce ASDS' first lender platform agreements by the end of June. This leaves open for the potential of a "name drop" that could move the stock price. Although it is just as likely that any deals signed will be with an obscure Chinese firm that will be very important for business development but won't be the source of a news release fueled pop. 
PKK remains consistent with a lot of promises made in a short time frame. I remain cautiously optimistic that the company will adhere to these timelines and that we will hear a lot of about ASFC over the summer. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Private Placement Opportunity: Torino Power Solutions

Torino Power Solutions (TPS.C) private placement of units priced at 7.5 cents with 15 cent 24-month warrants. Closing price on Friday was 15 cents.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SUBSCRIPTION DOCUMENTS YOU MUST FILL OUT TO REQUEST PARTICIPATION

I participated in the private placement for TPS last week. Management has a goal to close it on May 24th, and by the looks of the market price, there is good reason to suspect it will be filled or oversubscribed. However, it doesn't hurt to try to get in at the last moment. I wanted to tell people about this sooner, but I've been busy and there are risks associated with this investment that I wanted to explain. So this write up will take me a while. At least people will have a couple of days to make a decision as well as can use this as a primer on the company should they wish to buy shares on the open market.

Why did I participate in this placement? It should be obvious by the stock price. This is pretty much free money if you can wait out the four month hold period and the stock price doesn't hemorrhage 50% back under 7.5 cents during that time. If I was not able to get into the private placement I probably wouldn't buy shares on the open market at this time, but I would keep a close eye on it on my watch list. In the event of big news, I'd rather be one of the first ones in at 9:30, at say, 20 cents, than alerted by price-volume leaders at 9:45 and have to pay 30 cents or more. I believe that TPS has potential for that kind of move.

TPS has a clean balance sheet (meaning no debt other than a small amount of payables), around 33 million shares outstanding and around 40 million fully diluted. After this financing closes it'll have around 40 million shares outstanding and 50-55 million fully diluted. The float on it is ridiculously thin. Look at this L2. As of this writing there is less than 100,000 shares on the ask to 19 cents.

If there is good news on this stock, I can see it racing to at least 30 cents and possibly as high as a dollar in short order, depending on the news. If there is no news and the stock price stagnates, all I have to do is hope it stays in this range or at least above 10 cents in four months when the hold period expires. Having such a thin float does present a risk too, should everyone in the private placement decide to sell shares as soon as the hold period is up and it does tank below 7.5 cents on that selling pressure.

If you fail to get into the private placement and wish to trade the stock, be my guest. Unless there is news between now and when the hold period expires I do not foresee myself trading or talking about this stock in depth. So come back in September because I think that's when things will start to get interesting.

REQUIRED READING:

All news releases and financial statements listed on SEDAR and the listing statement which looks like the equivalent of an IPO filing for the CSE:

http://thecse.com/sites/default/files/Form_2A-Torino_Power_Solutions_Inc._Listing_Statement.pdf

I'm not going to handhold people through the process so if there's a statement that I made that you're having a hard time finding the source, look through this required reading. 

Summary of the Business

TPS is pre-revenue. That means Torino hasn't made a sale yet. The business is summarized as follows in the listing statement:

"The Corporation is commercializing its patented Dynamic Thermal Circuit Rating (DTCR)
technology and proprietary system architecture for application in overhead transmission lines to address the growing demand by electric utilities to adequately increase the capacity of congested transmission lines of electric utilities in North America and Europe. The Corporation does not currently generate revenue. The technology is supported by five existing patents and two pending patents.
"

There is an issue with electric utilities. They don't want their power lines failing so they limit the capacity that they transfer. If there is no direct monitoring, power line stress and sag is estimated and conservative values are used based on past seasonal weather patterns. Management believes that Torino's patented sensors and Interrogator system will enable power utility companies to increase their capacity by 5 -20%. According to the listing statement:

"The patented technology enables the monitoring of the dynamic thermal circuit rating of
transmission lines. At time intervals predetermined by the requirements of the utility operator, the technology monitors the temperature and stress of the transmission line conductor as well as the meteorological conditions. The system consists of two major subsystems; a passive part which is a microwave resonant cavity sensor and an interrogator which is an active component. The sensor is installed on the conductor; the interrogator is installed on the pole in a safe zone area.
"

Torino is not the first company to come up with such an idea. There are four other competitors named in the listing statement that sell these types of sensors.This market is not saturated so I have two schools of thought on this. Either there is just not a great enough demand by utilities for this kind of product, or what's available on the market is not meeting the needs of power companies. Anyone from Ontario like me knows the absolute debacle surrounding Ontario Hydro, with the government of Ontario (rightly) taking a lot of heat. Capacity issues will only increase with time as the population grows, particularly in regions under stress already like the Greater Toronto Area. So I am willing to give this sensor industry a shot.

Torino believes that it offers a superior product. I believe that the key two advantages over its competitors based on my conversation with the CEO are 1) the system doesn't need a battery nor a power source and 2) the system can measure sag AND conductor temperature of a single line while competing technologies measure either sag OR conductor temperature of a single line. TPS has gotten FCC approval in the U.S. and Industry Canada approval in Canada to operate its Power Line Monitoring system within the specified frequency band last fall. This was obviously a major required step needed by the company in order to proceed with a marketable product. The company's technology was developed at the University of Manitoba and the company owns all patents and design outright. There are two milestone payments of $250,000 each upon achievement of $10 million and $20 million in revenue.

So far TPS has announced a trial relationship with one power company, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. The agreement was signed in June 2016. In March the company announced that this trial agreement was upgraded to a more active power line. My first reaction when speaking to the CEO was that this is a VERY long lead time between a trial agreement and a potential revenue-generating agreement. However, I also noted that TPS is only asking for $500,000 in this private placement. Based on the burn rate, I estimate that this money would only take Torino to the end of 2017 if no sales are made. It would make sense to raise a lot more unless there was the expectation that revenue will be coming in 2017.

After speaking with the CEO and considering the small raise, I think there is a reasonable chance to expect some kind of revenue-generating agreement in 2017. Though the exact nature of that is unknown to me, for obvious reasons he had to be vague. There is also no guarantee that there will be an agreement announced in the coming months and that the company will need to raise more money in the near future. Each system which contains one Interrogator and three sensors would cover a 12 kilometer radius. As in other words, a typical-sized power company which wanted full coverage would need to order thousands of devices. Even one which wanted to cover only the areas under high stress would need dozens or hundreds. So there is reasonable potential for a news release on a massive sale. 

The CEO called Torino an IIoT (Industrial Internet Of Things) company. It sounds like they are looking to capitalize on the growing IoT craze which would be a smart strategy to ensure a robust stock price along with executing on the business.


Management Team

The person who I spoke with was CEO Rav Mlait. His business associate, Bryan Loree is the CFO and these two have collaborated on numerous projects in the past. When I spoke with Mr. Mlait, he was courteous and appeared knowledgeable of the opportunity. However, the management team of TPS doesn't appear to be on the level of the management teams of my other major investments.

People like the Itwaru brothers or PKK's management are business builders. If you look at their CV, they have a history related to payment processing, fintech and business development in China, respectively. Their prime focus over years has been on their duties to the companies in which I'm invested.

Contrast that to Rav Mlait. Have a look at his LinkedIn profile. He and Bryan Loree have had multiple projects, some of them ongoing simultaneously. Mr. Mlait is the CEO of Cannabix Technologies (BLO.C), a marijuana breathalyzer development company and was the CEO of Rockland Minerals Corp, an exploration stage mining company. He jumps from industry to industry. Rather than being a business builder like the people I just mentioned, he appears to be an early-stage promoter. If he wishes to become a business builder with TPS and BLO, he will have to prove that to the market. In the listing statement it states that he expects to dedicate 35% of of his time to TPS, though that may be higher now since he has given up his position with Rockland. But that is still much less than the proportion of time dedicated by Andre Itwaru to FGD or Johnson Joseph to PKK, for instance.

Regarding his past mixed history of success, I am going to give him a pass. The very nature of start up investing is high-risk. Many companies fail for every successful one. If you were an investor in Mr. Mlait's companies in the past, you might have lost money on several of them, but then made 500% or more on BLO. A consistent early-stage investor in all of his projects would have made money under his watch.

The first major test for Mr. Mlait with TPS would be upon a major contract being signed. I asked him about manufacturing and right now it is all in-house which he described having capacity to build "a few" units. What would happen if a major deal gets signed and a power company orders 1,000 units? Would the company outsource? Or try to build capacity in-house? The latter option is filled with operating challenges and risks. The former option might result in lower long-term margins and the company would be reliant on its supplier to make good on orders. The CEO's answer wasn't very clear to me. That could be indicative that he has a plan in place but can't disclose that to me or anyone else, or that there isn't one in place yet.

Torino's lack of size might present a challenge to its sales strategy since its competitors are more mature and may have the capacity to fulfill larger orders. Power companies would know this. So even if the technology is superior, the manufacturing capacity puts Torino at a disadvantage. There are ways around this which an early-stage promoter would understand and may actually be better suited for this company - discussed in the next section. 


Conclusion: What I Think Will Happen

Based on my conversation with the CEO and the small size of the raise, I think TPS has a reasonable chance to procure a contract in the coming months. Once a contract is announced, it might be a good time to offload some shares on the spike. There could be another substantial private placement to raise funds to build the capacity to fulfill the order. Or there may be other challenges that arise as the management team tries to build a business.

However, as demonstrated early-stage promoters, Torino's management team may have other ideas in mind. Rather than build the devices themselves, maybe they plan to license the technology. Or perhaps they are fishing for a buyout that will come at a much higher valuation upon further proof of concept with Tri-State or upon a large contract being signed. Early-stage promoters look for an early entry and an early exit to gain a quick profit.

No matter what the eventual outcome, I think TPS can return me several times my money in a timeline measured in months if a contract comes. Hell, it's already given me a double (excluding the value of the warrants) and I just wired the money a couple of days ago.

If I'm wrong and no contract comes in 2017, I think the TPS management team's skill as early stage promoters will be helpful in keeping the stock price robust enough so that I can sell the shares if I so choose to at a price well above 7.5 cents and keep the warrants as gravy over the next two years. The risk-to-reward payoff of this private placement made a lot of sense to me and that is why I participated in it. If TPS makes a lot of sense to you as an investment, either as a private placement or by purchasing shares on the open market, I have made a Facebook group for this investment, Torino Power Solutions Private Placement Opportunity and Investor Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/302777856828727/



Wednesday, 17 May 2017

First Global Data: "First in the World" Social Messaging Multi Integrated Remittance Platform

First Global Data (FGD.V) (FGBDF) announced that it completed the first phase of beta testing with LianLian Pay to provide remittance functionality on WeChat. The company made the bold statement that it "believes that this is the world's first social messaging multi integrated remittance platform whereby SOCIAL converges on FINTECH in the flow of cross border money."

A deal between Western Union and WeChat sounds kind of similar at first, and was brought up by some naysayers against the stock. Instead of going to FGD management for clarification, they assume the worst about this deal. I decided to make myself useful and sent the following email to CEO Andre Itwaru earlier today:



This was Andre's response:



So when people bring up what looks like competition or that the company is over-embellishing their accomplishments, make sure to dig deeper. I am very pleased with Andre's response. Many companies I have dealt with have been evasive when interrogated like this. Andre gave a very straight answer.

If one is wondering, "well, it may not be as integrated, but Western Union still has a deal with WeChat. FGD and LianLian won't be the only player in town". Remember that a fully integrated tech solution is far more sticky than a marketing deal. In my opinion, a deal like this for FGD makes it a buyout target for Western Union. If Western Union has the marketing deal and FGD has seamless integration into the platform, it just makes too much sense for Western Union to go after FGD in order to solidify its position on WeChat. Or at a minimum look for a friendly collaboration. The platform must be proven first and it is just in the beta testing phase so it's not there yet. Don't go rushing out to buy the stock just because I said it was a buyout target. Use your head and come to your own conclusions.


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Facebook Private Message FAQ

When I created the investor groups on Facebook, I thought it would be a great tool for users to discuss stocks honestly using their real identities, instead of the untrustworthy atmosphere of other message boards where people can hide behind profile handles or multiple profiles. I didn't set them up to be a personal babysitter for people's investments. I was in a good mood today because while FGD tanked, I have had a great streak of luck on day trades and options trades recently, which has enabled me to free up some cash and take advantage of a buying opportunity today. But that good mood was soured a bit when I had to answer a bunch of messages on Facebook. Now that I'm back at my computer I see a whole bunch more. So I'm setting up this FAQ to minimize the amount of personal messages I get. A good day for me will be when I finally get zero personal messages that day.

Q1: Are you still holding PKK, FGD, SCG and PEEK? What about other stocks you've mentioned?

A1: I will start this off by saying I feel insulted when I get questions like this, like I'm some kind of penny flipper after I wrote extensively about these stocks. I have VERY large positions in these four stocks, in that order by dollar value. It would take me multiple days to sell my positions if I wanted to, and I have no reason to at this moment. Like any normal person I do buy and sell to manage cash flow and maybe take advantage of a short term trade, but I'm still going to hold large stakes in these stocks. For instance, I recently had to make some tough choices in order to participate in the SCG private placement. Luckily the winning streak I've had allowed me to buy back some of what I sold already and I'm optimistic that I can get most of it back. But I certainly would not sell everything.

If one day I sell one of these stocks for good I WILL MAKE A STATEMENT THAT I SOLD.

This also greatly irritates me because it comes with the assumption by the sender that I'm on Facebook 24/7 just waiting to answer their messages. I often take more than 24 hours to respond. I do this partially to slow the message flow down because as soon as I send a message I get a response back 10 minutes later and I'm back at square one. Other times I'm just not on Facebook or near a computer in general. Especially during the summer.

New policy: You get ONE chance, of which I will direct you to this FAQ. And if you continue to ask me through private message if I sold out of any of these four stocks, I will block you and remove you from the Facebook groups. This type of question is very annoying and insulting to me, and I don't want to see any more of it.

I'll add this in because I have officially written about these stocks: I still hold a small amount of SJL (sold most of it) and that I sold my DGO and HRE positions (still hold my HRE warrants), partially to fund the aforementioned SCG private placement. All other stocks that I may have talked about buying on the boards but didn't make an official article or target or anything like ITT, RHT, ONC etc. I have sold. I've also stopped posting on that Canadian Traders group because I got too many PM's asking me about this and that trade. I might buy these stocks back in the near future. Nothing against them, I just saw better opportunities. Namely the SCG private placement and if people have seen the performance of SCG since then, they can understand that I made the right move. 

Q2: So how are PKK, FGD, SCG or PEEK going? Do you have any special insight?

A2: Any insight I have I WILL POST ON THE GROUPS OR IN AN ARTICLE. If you have a question about a stock, POST IT ON THE RELEVANT GROUP. So I'm not the only one burdened with answering it.

Q3: Hey, how's it going?
A3: Lousy, because I'm answering Facebook messages like a secretary instead of doing something I enjoy. If you have something important to say get to the point. No more small talk please. No offense don't take it personally. I just get a lot of this and it gets tedious real quick. 

Q4: Do you want to hang out some time?
A4: I've never been asked out on so many man-dates in my life lol. It would be cool if more women were into the stock market. I plan to have a get-together one day in a larger group, but when these stocks are higher. These stock prices aren't acceptable for celebration for me just yet. As far as one-on-one meetups, I can be open to it, just be cognizant of where I live. I'm in the northeast end of the GTA. If you ask me to meet at something like 600 King St West I am going to be very irritated with that location. I didn't leave the workforce because I enjoyed the time it takes me to get downtown.

Unlike questions 1 and 2 I won't be pissed off with things like this. Or business opportunities or random, interesting conversation that leads to something important not like Q3.

Q5: What do you think of x stock? Or have a look at x stock.
A5: A 99% chance I don't know it, or I know the name and a very basic knowledge of it and don't have any good insight to share. Particularly if its a commodity stock. You people JUST saw me try and fail miserably with DGO. I don't know the junior/explorer mining or oil industry. Why are you asking me about these stocks?

Acceptable way to approach me with Q5:
There's this stock with a good balance sheet, strong earnings, good growth and I think is undervalued.
A: Thank you, I'm always looking for more of these types of stocks. I will take a serious look at it.

That's all I can think of for now. I might add more later.

Monday, 24 April 2017

My Preliminary Thoughts on PKK's Latest Pivot

Peak Positioning Technologies (PKK.C) (PKKFF) released an updated investor presentation and news release this morning following its attendance at the GCFF conference in Vancouver. I don't have enough information to release a full blown article but I thought I would share some quick thoughts. I plan to update it once the company has released Q4 and provided official guidance.

Peak has pivoted once again into more lucrative businesses with the introduction of Asia Synergy Data Solutions (ASDS) and a proposed financial institution Asia Synergy Financial Capital (ASFC). ASDS teaming up with Cubeler sounds a lot like what LongKey would have been, except with the backing of ZHWY Enterprises. ASFC is the method for Peak to try to increase its margins as it looks to bring the lending component of the Gold River platform in-house.

With these pivots which will obviously be very good for the long-term, it sounds like there will be some short term "pain" in that Q4 revenue probably won't come in as expected. I'm not too disturbed by this. We know from a prior news release that PKK will be recording at least $50 million in revenue for 2016. Going from $0 to $50 million in revenue in a year is still a monumental accomplishment, even if it's a little less of an accomplishment than going from $0 to $100 million a year.

On page 23 of the presentation, there are two numbers referenced for AST in 2017. $503 million in revenue and a $10.8 million number which isn't clear if that's gross margin or EBITDA or something else. Assuming that is the case, this would be below previous guidance of a 3-5% EBITDA margin on $550 million in revenue stated in the Q3 news release. Offsetting that is the $1.4 million in projected revenue for ASDS in 2017 and the unknown benefit of ASFC assuming it goes live as planned some time in 2017.

Based on this, it looks like PKK will take a little longer to get to my $0.50 target as first planned, at least justifiable from financial ratios. There always remains the possibility that speculative investors will like this new business and bid up the stock to very high valuations in the near term. But by 2019 revenue for AST and ASDS is expected to be a combined $887 million. It's difficult to project such a fast growing business two years out, but if these numbers do in fact come true with $50M in EBITDA or greater, a $0.50 stock price should be more than justified.

Assuming the $10.8 million number is EBITDA for 2017, this still justifies my first target of $0.20:

$10.8M x 15 EV/EBITDA multiple = $162M EV
$162M EV + $10M in cash from exercise of warrants and options = $172M market cap
$172M / 678M fully diluted shares = $0.25 per share

There was a small sell-off this morning to 14 cents after the warning about the negative impact on the near-term numbers and some of the ambiguity around these projections. Buying has picked back up and the stock is trading at 15 cents, down a penny. I think it is reasonable to assume that Q4 will be disappointing relative to previous guidance (but still great compared to where the company was in 2015). However, 2017 guidance could go in either direction depending on how quickly PKK can get ASFC up and running. For now, I think we should assume revenue just slightly over $500M and margin/EBITDA slightly over $10M, but even that should support the stock price where it is now.

With this pivot there is no guarantee of success for ASFC or even that it will get off that ground. But that's why PKK is trading at a fully diluted market cap of $100M and not much higher. I remain confident of my heavy investment in PKK, other investors can figure out for themselves if they share that same level of confidence.

EDIT: This is what PKK's CEO Johnson Joseph had to say shortly after I released this piece: