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Posts Tagged ‘balance sheet restructuring’

Here come an article written by Mark Scott at BusinessWeek.

“Last week, I was in Geneva attending a cleantech summit that brought together Europe’s top venture capitalists and entrepreneurs looking for investment. One theme kept emerging: VCs are moving their money away from energy generation projects, such as wind-farm and solar-parks. The reason? Funding those types of businesses is just too expensive for investors already struggling from the global downturn.

That message was reinforced on June 23 when consultants New Energy Finance released preliminary results about cleantech investment. Not surprising, they also found VCs were steering clear of energy generation projects. In the first half of 2009, venture capital and private equity firms forked out $3 billion globally for clean energy companies — a 56% drop compared to the same period last year.”

To read the full story, click here.

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Here is an interesting post by Arhtur Laffer at Wall Street Journal.

“The unprecedented expansion of the money supply could make the ’70s look benign.

Rahm Emanuel was only giving voice to widespread political wisdom when he said that a crisis should never be “wasted.” Crises enable vastly accelerated political agendas and initiatives scarcely conceivable under calmer circumstances. So it goes now.

Here we stand more than a year into a grave economic crisis with a projected budget deficit of 13% of GDP. That’s more than twice the size of the next largest deficit since World War II. And this projected deficit is the culmination of a year when the federal government, at taxpayers’ expense, acquired enormous stakes in the banking, auto, mortgage, health-care and insurance industries.

With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs — such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid — are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.”

The story concludes…

“Alas, I doubt very much that the Fed will do what is necessary to guard against future inflation and higher interest rates. If the Fed were to reduce the monetary base by $1 trillion, it would need to sell a net $1 trillion in bonds. This would put the Fed in direct competition with Treasury’s planned issuance of about $2 trillion worth of bonds over the coming 12 months. Failed auctions would become the norm and bond prices would tumble, reflecting a massive oversupply of government bonds.

In addition, a rapid contraction of the monetary base as I propose would cause a contraction in bank lending, or at best limited expansion. This is exactly what happened in 2000 and 2001 when the Fed contracted the monetary base the last time. The economy quickly dipped into recession. While the short-term pain of a deepened recession is quite sharp, the long-term consequences of double-digit inflation are devastating. For Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke it’s a Hobson’s choice. For me the issue is how to protect assets for my grandchildren.”

Read the full article here.

Others covering this story include: NCPA, Market Guardian, Bully Pulpit.

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Here is an analysis by John Mauldin at InvestorInsight. It was originally published as a special series at Stratfor.

John Mauldin is president of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but we cannot attest to its accuracy. Investment recommendations may change and readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. John Mauldin and/or the staff at Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC may or may not have investments in any funds cited above. Mauldin can be reached at 800-829-7273.

This information is not to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

“Dear Friends: One of the first things you learn about analyzing a company is how to dissect a balance sheet. What assets and liabilities can be deployed by a company to create equity over time? I’ve enclosed a fascinating variant on this process. Take a look at how STRATFOR has analyzed the “geographic balance sheets” of the US, Russia, China, and Europe to understand why different countries’ economies have suffered to varying degrees from the current economic crisis.

As investors, it’s precisely this type of outside-the-box thinking that can provide us profitable opportunities, and it’s precisely this type of outside-the-box thinking that makes STRATFOR such an important part of my investment decision making. The key to investment profits is thinking differently and thinking earlier than the next guy. STRATFOR’s work exemplifies both these traits.

I’ve arranged for a special deal on a STRATFOR Membership for my readers, which you can click here to take advantage of.  Many of you are invested in alternative strategies, but I want to make sure that you also employ alternative thinking strategies. So take a look at these different “country balance sheets” as you formulate your plans.
Your Mapping It Out Analyst, John Mauldin

The Geography of Recession

The global recession is the biggest development in the global system in the year to date. In the United States, it has become almost dogma that the recession is the worst since the Great Depression. But this is only one of a wealth of misperceptions about whom the downturn is hurting most, and why.As one can see in the chart, the U.S. recession at this point is only the worst since 1982, not the 1930s, and it pales in comparison to what is occurring in the rest of the world.

(Figures for China have not been included, in part because of the unreliability of Chinese statistics, but also because the country’s financial system is so radically different from the rest of the world as to make such comparisons misleading. For more, click here.)

But didn’t the recession begin in the United States? That it did, but the American system is far more stable, durable and flexible than most of the other global economies, in large part thanks to the country’s geography. To understand how place shapes economics, we need to take a giant step back from the gloom and doom of the current moment and examine the long-term picture of why different regions follow different economic paths.

The United States and the Free Market

The most important aspect of the United States is not simply its sheer size, but the size of its usable land. Russia and China may both be similar-sized in absolute terms, but the vast majority of Russian and Chinese land is useless for agriculture, habitation or development. In contrast, courtesy of the Midwest, the United States boasts the world’s largest contiguous mass of arable land — and that mass does not include the hardly inconsequential chunks of usable territory on both the West and East coasts. Second is the American maritime transport system. The Mississippi River, linked as it is to the Red, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, comprises the largest interconnected network of navigable rivers in the world. In the San Francisco Bay, Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound/New York Bay, the United States has three of the world’s largest and best natural harbors. The series of barrier islands a few miles off the shores of Texas and the East Coast form a water-based highway — an Intercoastal Waterway — that shields American coastal shipping from all but the worst that the elements can throw at ships and ports.

The real beauty is that the two overlap with near perfect symmetry. The Intercoastal Waterway and most of the bays link up with agricultural regions and their own local river systems (such as the series of rivers that descend from the Appalachians to the East Coast), while the Greater Mississippi river network is the circulatory system of the Midwest. Even without the addition of canals, it is possible for ships to reach nearly any part of the Midwest from nearly any part of the Gulf or East coasts. The result is not just a massive ability to grow a massive amount of crops — and not just the ability to easily and cheaply move the crops to local, regional and global markets — but also the ability to use that same transport network for any other economic purpose without having to worry about food supplies.

The implications of such a confluence are deep and sustained. Where most countries need to scrape together capital to build roads and rail to establish the very foundation of an economy, transport capability, geography granted the United States a near-perfect system at no cost. That frees up U.S. capital for other pursuits and almost condemns the United States to be capital-rich. Any additional infrastructure the United States constructs is icing on the cake. (The cake itself is free — and, incidentally, the United States had so much free capital that it was able to go on to build one of the best road-and-rail networks anyway, resulting in even greater economic advantages over competitors.)

Third, geography has also ensured that the United States has very little local competition. To the north, Canada is both much colder and much more mountainous than the United States. Canada’s only navigable maritime network — the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway —is shared with the United States, and most of its usable land is hard by the American border. Often this makes it more economically advantageous for Canadian provinces to integrate with their neighbor to the south than with their co-nationals to the east and west.

Similarly, Mexico has only small chunks of land, separated by deserts and mountains, that are useful for much more than subsistence agriculture; most of Mexican territory is either too dry, too tropical or too mountainous. And Mexico completely lacks any meaningful river system for maritime transport. Add in a largely desert border, and Mexico as a country is not a meaningful threat to American security (which hardly means that there are not serious and ongoing concerns in the American-Mexican relationship).

With geography empowering the United States and hindering Canada and Mexico, the United States does not need to maintain a large standing military force to counter either. The Canadian border is almost completely unguarded, and the Mexican border is no more than a fence in most locations — a far cry from the sort of military standoffs that have marked more adversarial borders in human history. Not only are Canada and Mexico not major threats, but the U.S. transport network allows the United States the luxury of being able to quickly move a smaller force to deal with occasional problems rather than requiring it to station large static forces on its borders.Like the transport network, this also helps the U.S. focus its resources on other things.”

John F. Mauldin
johnmauldin@investorsinsight.com

Read more here.

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Big customers, a top-flight engineering staff and $110 million in venture backing was not enough to save Hammerhead Systems Inc., a data-switching company that closed its doors on Thursday.

“We were in a Catch-22 situation, and we are a casualty of the economy,” said Rob Keil, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s chief executive.

Hammerhead planned to sell its Ethernet aggregation switches to major telecom carriers and had inked major deals with two of them, Keil said. But to continue, the company needed to enlist more carriers as customers, something that proved tricky in the current economic climate.

“We had them excited about our technology,” Keil said, “but they wanted to get the financial viability issue off the table. The carriers liked the product and the team, but they needed us to have a partner…for financial stability. It just wasn’t possible to get the carriers comfortable.”

Partnering with a name-brand networking hardware company might have catapulted Hammerhead to success, he said. “But as the economy melted down, the prospective partners became risk-averse,” Keil said.

Keil could not disclose which hardware companies Hammerhead approached, or which two carriers had agreed to buy the company’s switches.

Hammerhead made a data switch that routs information for carriers. The switches collect data circuits from the carriers’ customers, aggregate them, and rout them back to the operators’ core networks. This process, said company spokeswoman Mari Mineta Clapp, enables carriers to use much of their aging equipment to keep up with the demands of today’s smart phone traffic, including backhaul and Ethernet functionality needs.

Read the full WSJ article from By Timothy Hay here

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mk-au416_shutdo_ns_20090211185403WSJ reports: As Funding Dries Up, Fledgling Silicon Valley Firms Are Shutting Down; Fears of Chill on Innovation

“Many start-ups survived last year by slashing costs and deferring development projects. But as demand for their products continues to deteriorate and funding dries up, these young firms are now running out of lifelines. Many are calling it quits, recalling the dot-com bust earlier this decade.

Venture capitalists pulled back sharply in the fourth quarter as credit markets seized and stock markets collapsed. Venture capitalists invested $5.54 billion in U.S. start-ups in the fourth quarter, 27% less than the third quarter, according to data compiled by VentureSource.”

Another excellent take on the same theme is Stacey Higginbotham´s analysis at GigaOm:

“The crisis in the financial market is coming home to roost for startups of all kinds. Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article detailing the death or firesale of several startups in the last few weeks. It’s grim, but this is only the beginning for many venture-backed companies, as we reported back in October. Over the next few months, we’ll see continuing news of businesses giving up the ghost as their venture backers take a hard look at upcoming cash needs and decide to prune.

Venture capital is a cyclical business that follows the fate of the stock market, so it depends on where a startup is as the cycle turns from boom to bust. Unfortunately, many of these unlucky startups are getting crushed under the wheel as it rolls through the downturn. Right now is a good time to work on an idea, but a bad time to be selling things.

However, innovation won’t just stop.VCs are still making selective investments in early stage startups at newly reasonable valuations, hoping those deals are ripe by the time the economy reaches the next boom.”

Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. In the past 60 months, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 51 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property and has restructured/terminated over $770 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.2 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Europe and Israel.

For more information on Gerbsman Partners, please visit our website at www.gerbsmanpartners.com

By way of Stacey Higginbotham article at GigaOM. For the full WSJ article, please click here

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Gerbsman Partners has been involved with numerous national and international equity sponsors, senior/junior lenders, investment banks and equipment lessors in the restructuring or termination of various Balance Sheet issues for their portfolio companies. These companies were not necessarily in Crisis, had CASH (in some cases significant CASH) and/or investor groups that were about to provide additional funding. In order stabilize their go forward plan and maximize CASH resources for future growth, there was a specific need to address the Balance Sheet and Contingent Liability issues as soon as possible.

Some of the areas in which Gerbsman Partners has assisted these companies have been in the termination, restructuring and/or reduction of:

  • Prohibitive executory real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior sub-debt obligations – Gerbsman Partners was the “Innovator” in creating strategies to terminate or restructure prohibitive real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior and sub-debt obligations. To date, Gerbsman Partners has terminated or restructured over $750 million of such obligations. These 75 deals were a mixture of both public and private companies, and allowed the restructured company to return to a path of financial viability.
  • Accounts Trade payable obligations – Companies in a crisis, turnaround or restructuring situation typically have accounts and trade payable obligations that become prohibitive for the viability of the company on a go forward basis. Gerbsman Partners has successfully negotiated mutually beneficial restructurings that allowed all parties to maximize enterprise value based on the reality and practicality of the situation.

About Gerbsman Partners

Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. In the past 60 months, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 50 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property and has restructured/terminated over $750 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.2 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Europe and Israel.

For more information, please contact Steven Gerbsman at steve@gerbsmanpartners.com

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Steven R. Gerbsman, Principal of Gerbsman Partners and James McHugh, a member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital, announced today their success in maximizing stakeholder value for a medical device company that focuses on flexible endoscopic technologies that enable surgical procedures through the body’s natural openings.

For more – click here

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