Thursday, May 24, 2012

Soros-backed Westport Innovations Making Major PR Push (WPRT)

 We like the industry but take a jaundiced view of hype-n-tout.

Today the pitch is "Westport to Ring NASDAQ Closing Bell and Holds Investor Day in New York May 24th".
This follows the May 9 earnings release: "Westport Innovations falls on wider-than-expected loss".
Combined with their largest customer, Cummins, developing its own natural-gas powered engine you get a bear-went-over-the-mountain looking chart:
Chart forWestport Innovations Inc. (WPRT)

The company is based in Vancouver where the Vancouver Sun does a a marvelous job of covering the city's business scene. One writer in particular, David Baines, has impressed me over the years. Here he is on WPRT May 16:
Westport Innovations' share price sputters
Investors in $273-million February share offering now have sharply devalued stock certificates
In February, Vancouver-based Westport Innovations Inc., a developer and manufacturer of natural gas engines, sold $273.6 million US worth of shares at $43.25 each.
About the same time, West-port founder and CEO David Demers made yet another promotional appearance on Jim Cramer's Mad Money, which is exactly how I described this gambit by Westport investors.
The following month, the stock peaked at nearly $50 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It has since slumped to half that price, which means investors who participated in the February offering have lost 42 per cent of their money.
The problem is that Westport's efforts to establish itself as the leading company in the natural gas engine field have been neutralized by an ever-receding profit horizon....MORE

I'm not kidding about Baines. Here are some of our posts on one of the scams Vancouver is was known for back in the day:

June 27, 2007 
Investors: Beware jumping on the carbon-credit bandwagon
A Great Piece of Reporting by David Baines for the Vancouver Sun:

...The smile soon gave way to circumspection as I starting asking Nelson Skalbania about his involvement in what may be the most controversial OTC Bulletin Board company in North America, perhaps the world.
Oct. 4, 2007 
Planktos and The Company You Keep
David Baines, who writes for the Vancouver Sun is a damn good reporter and, I suspect, a junkie for stories about the underbelly of the markets. The Sun let's him have at it and B.C. is fortunate he prefers a mountain view to go with the ocean, rather than, say, Boca.

I've been asked if I have something against Planktos.
Not really.
I've got no money in the game, long or short.
I don't know those people.

But I do know the people targeted by the flim-flam brokers, the con-artist promoters, the sleaze-bag "P.R" types and the B.S. deal-men....
Offsetting the less-than-thrilled view of the guy on the beat is the fact that Westport is Mr. Soros' fourth largest position comprising 1.77% of the $6,811,535,814 Soros Fund Management had in U.S.-listed equities as of March 31, 2012.

In pre-market trade the stock is at $30.00, up 37 cents.