CNP 0.00% 4.0¢ cnpr group

lay off the sauce and the cubans

  1. 1,190 Posts.
    Mornin' all. The wanderer has returned... missed me?

    Firstly, as you have probably noticed, I ain't posted anything for a long while. On or around late September, I fell seriously ill and it's been a long hard journey back.

    It all started just after the release of the Centro YE results (which were probably enough to send anyone over the edge) and for a time there my health was not good. For the record, the two events were not related. Anyway, thanks to the fact that we live in a country with a first-class medical service, I'm still around to wreak havoc on the world, which I fully intend to continue doing with renewed vigour.

    I'm slowly getting back into the action and I hope you'll all understand that posting on HC hasn't been a major priority for me in the past couple of months. I know a couple of folks emailed me too and my apologies for not getting back.

    That's the good news... the bad news came in a conversation with a medical professional a few weeks back. "Swap, you've been in a bad way and if you don't make some big changes, it's gonna get worse. You need to lay off the sauce, lay off the cubans, eat healthy and get more exercise." I tried haggling but these doctors drive a hard bargain. So, I've cut right back on the C2H5OH, emptied and turned off the humidor and re-introduced myself to rabbit food. I always did quite a bit of exercise so I don't feel so bad on that front. Although I won't actually admit it to anyone (thus avoiding a good dose of "told you so"), I do feel a lot better.

    Kiwi Bob (who I have renamed the Muffin Smuggler after he successfully got a couple to me past Nurse Betty whilst I was on Ward 4) has been taking care of affairs at Swap & Co. in my absence and what a champion he has been in a very difficult environment.

    So, down to business.

    What a bleedin' mess. In the time I have been offline, we've lost a few US investment banks, most of the world indices have tanked and it looks like the world is on course for a major recession. The market has gone bipolar with major highs one day and major lows the next. Isn't it great? It's like walking into K-Mart (or David Jones for the more sophisticated reader) and finding the entire store is on sale.

    Forgive me for stating the obvious, but Centro is taking a real beating from all angles. Just when you think sentiment couldn't go any lower, bingo, it does. For months and months, we've known that CNP is a live/die play and really nothing has changed on that front. The environment has got a lot worse, but (like the K-Mart sale) it won't be this way forever, despite what everyone might think.

    I've seen a number of commentators draw similarities between CNP, AFG and ABS but I'm still not convinced. ABS was a bit of a basket-case. A quick look at the (probably inaccurate) published balance sheet showed that of the 4.5bn in assets, 3bn were intangibles. Under stress, the company was always going to be in trouble. Similarly AFG had 500m in equity, 400m of which was intangibles. I feel for the holders, staff and customers of both companies. Capitalism can be a cruel system.

    The reason I still think there is hope for CNP revolves around the sheer impact of what would happen if it went under. The BS article yesterday captured a number of these points well - flood of property on the market, exposure of the banks, loss of executives and destruction of the services business. At times like these, I also come back to another subtle point - aside from Andrew Scott and Brian Healey, we still haven't seen a mass-exodus of directors. In fact, we've appointed a new director to CNP and another to CER, both of whom would need to be fully across the situation before agreeing to join. Two other directors have announced that they will step down, but only when replacements are found.

    CER remains a completely different kettle of fish. It was good to see Orbis up the stake and I'll make another posting in the next day or so outlining some of the other broker activity that has been taking place on CER. You'll see that Deutsche are still active, but interestingly so are a couple of others. If you're watching the screen today, you'll see that someone is actively buying at 9c - they must think it's Christmas.

    Before anyone asks, we still have about 60% of our original CNP holding, but to be honest we did sell down when it was very, very obvious what was about to happen. We'll hang off buying any more until the future becomes a little clearer and the doom-and-gloom subsides and/or the AGM is out of the way. We still have all of our CER, which I continue to feel very good about.

    Hmmm... tuna or chicken salad for lunch? Bloody doctors.
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