Washington, D.C. – Companies that sell technology to the U.S. government are more attractive to investors if their products have commercial applications as well. Examples we’ve cited recently: Ceradyne and Flir Systems.
Dulles, Va.’s GeoEye is another one in this category and its shares look modestly priced. But be careful–one technical glitch and this satellite imagery stock could fall out of orbit.
GeoEye captures, manages and sells high-resolution satellite imagery, the kind found on Yahoo! Maps or Microsoft’s Virtual Earth. The company has $158 million in trailing 12 month sales, a fleet of two satellites and two airplanes, and an archive of imagery covering 300 million square kilometers.
Its next satellite, GeoEye-1, is scheduled to launch sometime later this year. The 4,310-pound spacecraft will make 12 to 13 orbits per day, collecting daily up to 350,000 square kilometers (the size of Texas) worth of color imagery at a 16-inch or 0.41-meters ground resolution. Translated to English, that means that in the images you can see the lines on a parking lot. (No, the satellite can’t parallel park for you.)
But the upcoming launch is a high-stakes event for GeoEye, which only gets one shot to do it right. “After ‘3-2-1-liftoff,’ there’s no chance to go back and fix anything,” says Mark Brender, a GeoEye spokesman and its vice president for marketing.
The consequences of a botched launch? In September 2001, GeoEye’s predecessor company, Orbimage, put up a satellite that failed to make it into orbit. The company filed for bankruptcy in April 2002, and its common shareholders got wiped out.
Full story at Forbes.com
Posted by Gillies on July 25, 2007
Times are flush in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Dare we call it a boom? “That’s the way we’ve been describing it,” says Maynard Sonntag, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Industry & Resources. “Absolutely.”
Sonntag ticks off the stats. Saskatchewan, which provides the world with a quarter of its uranium and sells the U.S. more oil than Kuwait, is one of two Canadian provinces to increase its gross domestic product for four years straight. Since 2002 spending on uranium exploration has jumped tenfold to $280 million annually. “We have more jobs than we have population,” he says.
The recent performance of non-U.S. resources stocks such as energy, construction materials and precious metals reflects the go-go days in the resource-rich north. An index compiled by FactSet Research Systems, for example, shows that shares of nonenergy mineral companies outside the U.S. have gained an aggregate 66% over the last year.
Buyers beware. We looked at non-U.S. natural resources companies with U.S.-listed shares and market values over $10 billion. Of the 80 that qualified, 30 carried multiples of book value, earnings and sales all in excess of five-year averages. Only four stocks passed a simple value screen of price-to-sales below their five-year average.
Full story at Forbes.com (registration required)
Posted by Gillies on July 23, 2007
As interest in all things green has surged, business groups in Washington have jumped cheerfully in. But as one association’s initiative illustrates, these high-profile efforts aren’t without risks.
In September, 2005, chief executives from Dow Chemical, Sun Microsystems, Xerox and three others joined then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist at an event near the White House to tout a new initiative called S.E.E. Change.
Sponsored by the Business Roundtable, an advocacy group representing 150 bosses of big companies, the initiative set out to burnish business “as a force for good” in matters of society and environment. Along with the event, the Roundtable took out full-page ads in several big newspapers and won widespread press coverage, including an item on Forbes.com.
In Pictures: A Gallery Of Green Spin
The progress so far? S.E.E. Change (which stands for Society, Environment and Economy) has added 10 new members to a founding roster of 18 companies who committed to showcasing and tracking their sustainability efforts. Not an insignificant increase, but a long way from the S.E.E. objective of getting all 150 Business Roundtable companies on board.
“It’s an aspirational goal,” says Marian Hopkins, director of public policy for the Business Roundtable. “[S.E.E. Change participants] can be great advocates to other member companies.”
Full story at Forbes.com
Posted by Gillies on July 3, 2007