Melissa Davis, senior editor of The Street Sweeper, poses with celebrity stock picker Jim Cramer after a recent taping of his "Mad Money" television show. Davis worked as an investigative reporter for TheStreet.com, where Cramer serves as chairman, before assuming her current role at The Street Sweeper.
Amyris (AMRS): Why These Sweet Dreams Should Keep Investors Up At Night
by Sonya Colberg, Senior Investigative Reporter, 3/7/2014 10:42:09 AM
One day, the dream goes, people might splash their wrists with perfume made from it. They might slather their faces with it, drive to work on tires made of it and even take off in a jet fueled by this stuff made by engineered bugs – or microbs.
And 6,000 miles to the north, at the Amyris headquarters in Emeryville, Calif., executives churn out reasons for investors to cling to that dream.
So, they pour out creative phrases like “collaboration revenue” and “collaboration inflows” and generally stretch the boundaries of believability as the company tries to maintain its stock price.
TheStreetSweeper is here to cut through the gibberish and explain why we don’t like Amyris.
This company is light on cash, heavy on loans – practically giving itself away to its partners in order to stay afloat. The chief financial officer and three other officers recently fled – a classically bad sign - while the remaining executives are left to try to breathe life into a business plan currently thrashing in its deathbed.
Which brings us to Amyris’ funny numbers and funny wording.
Unilife Corporation: Why this hypodermic needle company keeps jabbing investors
by By Sonya Colberg, Senior Investigative Reporter, 2/27/2014 10:11:07 AM
Pre-filled syringe company Unilife (UNIS) is losing millions and management is handing investors a minus 190 percent return on their money.
But its executives are living like kings.
They can thank the CEO’s brand of showmanship that puts P.T. Barnum to shame and likely contributes to the unwarranted share price that’s hovering around $4.60.
And they can also thank their compensation committee with its laugh-out-loud justification for overpaying the folks running a company that can’t seem to turn a dime in profit.
The lowest paid of the bunch is CEO Alan Shortall - the billiard ball-bald Aussie who practiced pitching Unilife to his ex-girlfriend over a decade ago by promising, according to court records, “You will be a rich woman …” after investing in the company.
Last year, Mr. Shortall received more than $690,000, including the $420,000 base salary and almost $45,000 to buy and maintain a vehicle (compared with $6 million including unrealized stock awards the prior year).
Including hefty bonuses and stock, the other four officers last year received about $1 million apiece.
Even more stunning is what UNIS pays its directors.
In that period, the unprofitable company generated just over $8 million in revenue.
So the non-employee directors handed themselves about 25 percent of the company’s revenues.
And new retainer fees and other compensation kicked in last December. Each director’s annual retainer fee alone jumped $10,000 to $35,000. All courtesy of the shareholder-approved pay scale created by the three directors on the compensation committee.
The perks for all directors include an extra 1,000 bucks whenever someone has to travel more than two hours to a meeting.
Additionally, each director will receive 35,000 UNIS shares every year for the next three years. In today’s market, that equates to just about $160,000 extra yearly compensation to directors.
Just for attending a few meetings a year.
*How does UNIS explain this level of self-enrichment?
An entertaining piece of prose gently tucked into the SEC filings tells the tale.
JAMN Finally Spills the Beans -- And It's an Ugly Mess
by Janice Shell, 6/2/2011 10:32:51 AM
To be sure, the 10-K offered investors little reason to sing. For starters, the filing reveals, this once-hot “coffee company” sells no coffee of its own at all. JAMN relies on a supplier based in frigid Canada – far away from the tropical Jamaican home of its co-founder Rohan Marley – to provide the company with an actual product to sell to its customers instead.
Back in April of 2010, JAMN inked a “supply and toll agreement” with Canterbury Coffee of British Columbia that gave it access to some brew. According to that agreement, JAMN relies on Canterbury to fulfill every role – save a minor one – normally satisfied by a firm that classifies itself as a coffee company. Canterbury purchases the coffee beans. It roasts them. And it then packages them in bags supplied by JAMN – the company’s only real product – for sale to the public.
JAMN signed this deal more than a year ago, right before Shane Whittle – a notorious Vancouver stock promoter – officially resigned as CEO of the company. But the company never mentioned that agreement, seemingly material enough to warrant at least a quiet 8-K report, in a single regulatory filing until now.
Jammin Java (JAMN): Hot Stock ... Bitter Aftertaste?
by Janice Shell, 6/2/2011 10:30:25 AM
It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee! That’s exactly what Jammin Java (OTC: JAMN.OB), a heavily promotedcoffee company, and – for very different reasons – TheStreetSweeper would like investors to do.
Since the beginning of the year, JAMN has miraculously risen from the ashes of the “Grey Market” graveyard to become one of the liveliest – and richest – stocks in the entire microcap arena. JAMN has seen its stock shoot straight toward heaven, soaring from 55 cents to peak above $6 a share on massive daily volume, with its market value nowtopping $355 million despite the company’s limited resources and operating history. (As covered in more detail below, two of the Internet tout sheets pushing JAMN the hardest effectively vanished -- disabled by their Internet servers -- on the day the stock’s trading volume exploded past 20 million shares.)
CCME: Few Signs of Life at 'Healthy' Chinese Firm
by Roddy Boyd, 3/23/2011 9:30:34 AM
Also, and this cannot be understated, hanging out on a sidewalk in Fujian–the sidewalks double as parking spots when the streets, which appeared to have been designed in the Han Dynasty, fill up–was not a viable option. There was also the matter of the world-class headache the Financial Investigator was developing from Fuzhou’s diabolical smell, an epic conflation of poor sewage treatment, air pollution and the smell of cabbage that made getting the hell off Dongjie street a matter of vital importance.
The Financial Investigator and his traveling companion for the trip, an American investor with extensive experience in China, decided to head upstairs despite our interview with the CFO having been cancelled at the last minute (with no explanation given.) We thought a quick tour of the offices and meeting a few other executives might open our eyes to a few things.
Though the language barrier was a little steep with the young receptionist–when we asked for writing paper, she provided Kleenex–we were in short order shown to their conference room and told to wait. It did not escape notice that pride of place in the conference room belonged to a framed certificate of participation from the Fall 2010 Rodman & Renshaw conference, the World Cup for reverse merger companies and the pumpers and touts who peddle them.
Eventually chief operating officer James Yu came down and after spending 30 minutes trying to understand who we were, concluded that giving us a tour wouldn’t hurt. Soon enough, his colleague, Vinne Ye–the chairman’s assistant–came out and took us around.
It was most eye-opening.more...
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