Anil Dilawri » Crisis/Emergency IR Taking Investor Relations to the Next Level Fri, 24 Sep 2010 12:25:24 +0000 en hourly 1 Execs Who Love to Talk Wed, 07 Apr 2010 15:57:56 +0000 Anil Dilawri I recently came across a junior mining company that has been the subject of acquisition rumors for quite some time.  Senior executives with the company have always been careful with their public comments surrounding acquisition questions from analysts, investors, and financial media.

Then one of their operational executives slipped, and slipped badly.

While at a mining conference the operational executive informed a Reuters writer that the company is engaged in talks with a number of senior metals and mining companies and that an acquisition is imminent. He didn’t stop there.  He also made comments about his company’s stock price being too low and that it would by 2 to 3 times higher once an acquisition is announced.

Operational executives are great, aren’t they?  They play a very important role in advancing the business and ensuring that the company runs smoothly.  But sometimes they talk too much.

Small mining companies don’t have a monopoly on operational executives who talk too much.  Such executives are in most industries and with companies of varying sizes.

While it is easy to blame the executive for saying too much, I blame the IR and legal departments.  IR and legal play an important internal communications role.  They need to develop solid strategies for communicating their internal company rules around fair and timely disclosure.

Fair disclosure is a tough concept to grasp, even for bright superstar executives who are excited about their company’s future prospects.  Navigating through the fine lines and large grey areas of fair disclosure is not easy.

What’s your strategy for communicating fair disclosure rules with your company’s staff?

]]> 0
Technology, the Flu, and Investors Wed, 29 Apr 2009 21:00:42 +0000 Anil Dilawri The recent outbreak of Swine Flu and its spread throughout the world has taught us a lot. Many are drawing parallels between the recent outbreak and the pandemic flu of 1918. However, a lot has changed since 1918.  Aviation technology has meant the spread of the actual virus is faster and more widespread. On the other hand, information technology has allowed for information about the virus to move around the world more efficiently and effectively than in 1918.

Websites, internet news feeds, Twitter feeds, Youtube videos, 24 hour television news reports, cell phones, instant messaging, and much more. It has all made us more aware of the situation and more equipped to make individual and collective decisions.

Now, imagine for a second that you as an IR executive were able to effectively use technology to get important information to investors and analysts in a timely and consistent manner.

Let’s say your CEO resigned today….unexpectedly.
You have hundreds of calls from people asking thousands of questions.
You and your team issuing a press release, returning emails, and answering phone calls is not a scalable approach in today’s world. Someone, somewhere is going to be left wondering why they never got a call back (and it’s usually someone important).

Technology, and specifically social media, is all about scalability. A consistent message can be issued by one person (the IRO) to thousands of people (analysts and investors) at the same time. Rumors can be addressed, questions can be answered, clarifications can be made, and even mistakes can be quickly corrected.

In today’s IR world, technology matters.

]]> 0
The Financial Crisis – How Did it Happen? Fri, 27 Feb 2009 03:25:31 +0000 Anil Dilawri In case you haven’t heard, the global economy is in something we call “a crisis”.

Put your hand up if you know how this crisis got started.

It was all because of greedy investment banks on Wall St.  Right?

Or, maybe it was because of certain lenders within certain banks on Wall St.  Right?

Or, maybe it was all because of housing prices rising out of control.  Right?

Or, maybe it was because of the US Federal Reserve making interest rates too low.  Right?

Or, maybe it was because too many people started buying too many things (like houses) that they couldn’t afford.  Right? 

Or, maybe it was all of the above.

It’s complicated.

Jonathan Jarvis has done a great job of visually explaining the credit crisis in less than 12 minutes.  It’s impressive to see how the creative use of video can help tell a complicated and important financial story.  Watch and learn.

]]> 0
When it All Goes Wrong Fri, 16 Jan 2009 21:02:00 +0000 Anil Dilawri If it hasn’t already, a corporate crisis will hit your company and therefore it will hit your IR department.  Like it or not, the quality of a CEO, a CFO, a management team, an IR department, or an IR guy/girl is often judged by how well (or how poorly) a crisis situation is handled.

The financial crisis has produced many incidences of corporate crisis.  Bankruptcies, lowering expectations, missing projections, liquidity issues, or cutting staff – we’ve pretty much seen it all over the past 5 months.

While the press release that announces any bad news is important, it is the post-release interactions with investors, media, employees, partners, and other stakeholders that really count.  That post-release activity is what defines how good you are (or how good you are perceived to be).

]]> 2
First Wall St. and then Main St. Mon, 10 Nov 2008 21:40:00 +0000 Anil Dilawri The stock market tends to be a leading indicator for what happens out there in the real world a few months down the road.  The financial crisis hit a few months ago and people went along on their merry way, curious and concerned about what was happening but maintaining the status quo in their lives.  Now, things on Main St. are starting to happen.

Just today, here are the business headlines:

Corrective corporate actions are being taken.  How is your IR department conveying the message?

]]> 1
Financial Crisis – Assuming the Fetal Position Fri, 10 Oct 2008 15:52:00 +0000 Anil Dilawri As Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve put it “we are in a once-in-a-centuryFetal position financial crisis”.

Investors and owners are asking – is the company stable, and is my investment in long term danger?
Employees are asking – is my job safe?  What can I do to help?
Suppliers are asking – will you continue to be a customer of mine?
The media are asking – is there a story to tell about this company today?

Ask yourself – is our organization effectively communicating with these stakeholders during this financial crisis?

Now is not the time to assume the fetal position and wait for the dust to settle.  Now is the time to communicate with your stakeholders.  That includes investors, analysts, employees, media, governments, suppliers, and others.  I can almost guarantee that they will want to hear from you.


]]> 2
Just Pay Me Fri, 03 Oct 2008 16:05:00 +0000 Anil Dilawri These are tough markets to stomach for buy-side shareholders, management teams, IR departments, investment advisors, sell-side analysts, investment bankers, and retail investors.  Pay me

During these turbulent markets we often hear of investors flocking to safety.  One safety mechanism is an attractive dividend yield.  These dividends reward investors by paying them monthly or quarterly dividend payments while they wait for some semblance of recovery in the equity markets.

IR teams play an important role in marketing a company’s dividend and informing the Street that their company is a potential safe haven during these difficult times.

]]> 0
Volume Friend or Foe? Fri, 26 Sep 2008 16:11:00 +0000 Anil Dilawri Many small and mid cap companies complain about how they have low average daily trading volumes and therefore have difficulties marketing their company to large institutional investors.  Institutional investors often like high trading volumes (otherwise known as good liquidity) so that they can easily get in and out of a particular stock.

During the recent financial crisis I heard a few institutional shareholders mention that during the most volatile times of the past two weeks they focused on “liquidating their most liquid holdings”.  In other words, if it was easy to get out of a stock then they got out.

While a low average daily trading volume can sometimes be frustrating for companies as they try to market their business to larger institutional shareholders, the past week shows that sometimes low trading volumes can be a blessing and protect company valuation.

]]> 0
The Insanity of it All Tue, 23 Sep 2008 15:49:00 +0000 Anil Dilawri Not much has happened in the financial markets over the past 10 days (he said sarcastically):

- Lehman Brothers, the 158 year old investment banking powerhouse, filed for bankruptcy protection.  It is the largest bankruptcy in US history.

- Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch, thus removing another major investment bank from the scene.

- AIG, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, announces that it is looking to raise $20 billion (with a B) in capital and sell $20 billion in assets to help its liquidity situation.

- Upon failure to raise capital and sell assets, AIG asks the Federal Reserve for financial assistance to meet its liquidity obligations.

- The Federal Reserve bails out AIG to the tune of $85 billion (with a B) in capital.

- Washington Mutual, one of the largest savings and loan companies in the US, puts itself up for sale.

- The US government announces a $700 billion bailout package to help stabilize the US financial system.  Rumors are that the bailout may eventually go higher than $1 trillion (with a T).

- The Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund is asked to invest in Morgan Stanley.  The Chinese take a pass on the “opportunity”.

- Mitsubishi Financial Bank, Japan’s largest bank, buys a 20% stake in Morgan Stanley.

- Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley announce that they will exit the traditional investment banking business and become bank holding companies.

These are significant and “once in a lifetime” events.  While the actions of the US government may have temporarily stabilized the situation, the tickle down effect on people and companies will likely last for months (and perhaps years).  Fasten your seatbelts!

Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing about the impact of the financial crisis on the investor relations functions for publicly traded companies.

]]> 0
Are we in a Recession or Not? Fri, 18 Apr 2008 20:52:00 +0000 Anil Dilawri This week Intel, Google, IBM, and Caterpillar all announced impressive financial results.  Meanwhile GE and Wachovia came up short.Recession
Google stock is up 20% today.
GE was down 13% last Friday.

Some bellwether stocks are disappointing while others are hitting it out of the park.
So is the economy in good shape or not?

Warren Buffett seems to think we are in trouble, so why are some doing so well?

These are the questions most investors are asking themselves as they attempt to pick the winners and losers in today’s stock market (and this is clearly a stock-pickers market).

Investor relations professionals take note – is your company a winner or loser in this market?  If it is a winner, are you getting the word out, do investors truly appreciate your winning ways, and do they understand why you are winning?  If it is a loser, how do you mitigate future risk and help stop the bleeding from a communications standpoint?

If you don’t have an IR strategy in this turbulent market, create one…

]]> 1