Trip Report: Stockholm, May 2013
I didn't take notes during dinners or meetings, but here are my observations and recollections. I will mention things that I haven't seen posted (sorry if it's duplicate info; I only read the forum from time to time). At the Jordan Fund dinner, Solomon was the final presenter after Nexam and Cassandra Oil. He spoke informally to the group about the progress of the company since last year, and mentioned a few of the challenges they've encountered. Specifically, yields of green prawns are down a bit because the green prawns are cannibals, so the company has moved the mother prawns (I wasn't sure if Solomon meant that he was reducing the density of green prawns in their tanks, or segregating from the prawn fries so as not to lose more of them). Also, to deal with market fluctuations and minimize risks, he will begin to diversify the types of fish at FF1 raising 25%-33%, each of three or four breeds (I only remember sleepy cod and flower pattern eel, although he mentioned three or four).
The dinner provided an opportunity for me to meet George Yap, and quite a few JF members. Every Swedish person I met was friendly, curious, welcoming, and smart. As a great bonus, everyone spoke English (not during the Nexam and Cassandra presentations, unfortunately, but I got a summary). Of course, we bonded easily over our disappointment in the share prices. George Yap is a gregarious fellow, very quick, and very open with his opinions and with information about what the company is working on. He has been toiling very hard in China, capturing and consolidating all known information about the business. George brought several copies of a book he's put together (it's pictured in the beginning of hyperboy's latest video) that he developed, with organizational information, charts, and countless photos. Solomon used this material in the presentation that he gave at the Penser Bank luncheon. In addition to talking about operations, and sharing a few anecdotes, Solomon was able to show finished photos of the facilities that were under construction or breaking ground in September of 2012. He is excited about the abattoir (slaughterhouse) and de-boning facility which are projected to begin ramping up this year. He gave impressive examples of how much more each head of cattle will be worth going up the value chain (after it's slaughtered, then again after it's deboned, etc.).
I was struck by the clear cultural differences between the quite formal, proper Swedish bankers, and the entrepreneurial Chinese agribusiness team of Solomon and George. It isn't surprising at all to me that we have no news about the FN listing, as I imagine that communicating using a second language poses challenges, that styles of doing business are radically different, and that the SIAF team continues to move the business forward, possibly confounding the Certified Advisers as they work on business information that changes as time passes. It appears to be quite frustrating, and cause Penser to want to re-evaluate. For example, an updated evaluation had to be performed after the Q1 results were published. Penser's thoroughness is quite clearly the cause of the timing.
Repeating what has been posted already, bond deals are being pursued / initiated in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S., and Europe. Except for a bond in Sweden, these offerings will be independent of an FN listing.
That's all I can think of for now.