Sam Antar makes a request to CFOs, Audit Committees, and auditors of public companies’ financial reports: study the SEC’s rules governing the calculation of non-GAAP measures such as EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), and follow them. Correct the mistakes before the reports get filed so Sam doesn’t have to write an article and I don’t have to post it.
For example, Penn National Gaming (PENN) erroneously reported EBITDA as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization AND charges for stock compensation, impairment losses, disposal of assets, losses from unconsolidated affiliates and the Empress Casino Hotel fire--that would be an "Adjusted EBITDA" or in PENN’s case, EBITDASCILDALUAECHFIRE.
To learn how to read a financial report and discover if the company you’ve invested in is calculating EBITDA properly or inflating this number, read Sam’s article. – Ilene
It’s pathetic that so many public companies miscalculate EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and violate Regulation G governing the calculation of non-GAAP measures such as EBITDA. It seems that too many CFOs, Audit Committees, and auditors don’t take the time to thoroughly review compliance with all appropriate SEC financial reporting rules.
Starting in 2007, I reported improper EBITDA calculations by Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK). After a brutal yearlong public battle, Overstock.com’s embittered CEO Patrick Byrne finally changed his company’s EBITDA calculation to comply with Regulation G. For additional details, please read Lee Webb’s Stockwatch article and Richard Sauer’s book.
Last July, I reported apparently erroneous EBITDA calculations by Penson Worldwide (NASDAQ: PNSN) and Comtech Telecommunications (NASDAQ: CMTL).
In this blog post, I will report erroneous EBITDA calculations by five more public companies: A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC), FirstService Corporation (NASDAQ: FSRV), Animal Health International, Inc. (NASDAQ: AHII), Schawk Inc. (NYSE: SGK), and Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN).
First, let’s review how EBITDA supposed to be calculated
Fitch has released a comprehensive study on derivatives held by various corporations and has come out with some disturbing results: as Zero Hedge’s recent disclosure of data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency confirmed, the bulk of the derivative risk is concentrated not merely in the "financial company" category (99.7%) but in a subset of just five companies, which account for an "overwhelming majority" of derivative assets and liabilities.
The companies in question (Total Notional Derivatives: Assets & Liabilities, $ in Trillions)
Bank of America:$80.0;
Morgan Stanley:$39.3, and of course
Goldman Sachs: $47.8 (this is an OCC estimate: Goldman has not disclosed notional amounts in their derivative book, only # of contracts);
If you want a preview of what the Basel III definition of "Too Big To Fail" will look like, the above five companies is a great place to start.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of derivatives, here is a good blurb provided in the Fitch report:
Companies use derivatives to manage risks related to interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates, equities, and commodity prices, as well as more obscure risks such as weather and longevity. According to the Bank of International Settlements, the notional amount of the global over-the-counter derivatives market was nearly $600 trillion at the end of December 2008. Furthermore, gross market value (the sum of gross derivative assets and gross derivative liabilities) stood at $33.9 trillion.
While improved disclosures and transparency are a good start to helping gauge the risks posed by these instruments, it is important for analysts and investors to take a fresh look at risk management practices, including the use of derivatives within that context.
The need for better disclosure on derivatives has been obvious since the implementation of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) 133, “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities” (now Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB] Accounting Standards Codification [ASC] 815). However, comprehensive derivatives disclosure did not become a U.S. GAAP requirement for most companies until March 2009 with the implementation of SFAS 161 (now ASC 815-10-50), “Disclosures about Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities.”
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
Last week brought even more stock market weakness and volatility as the selloff became self-perpetuating, with nobody mid-day on Wednesday wanting to be the last guy left holding equities. Hedge funds and other weak holders exacerbated the situation. But the extreme volatility and panic selling finally led some bulls (along with many corporate insiders) to summon a little backbone and buy into weakness, and the market finished the week on a high note, with continued momentum likely into the first part of this week.
Despite concerns about global economic growth and a persistent lack of inflation, especially given all the global quantitative easing, fundamentals for U.S. stocks still look good, and I believe this overdue correction ultimately will shape up to be a great buying opportunity -- i.e., th...
Whocouldanode? Chinese GDP managed (thanks to record-breaking credit creation and QE-lite) to beat expectations of +7.2% and come in at +7.3% (still its slowest growth since April 2009). Notably this was the biggest decoupling from Bloomberg's high-frequency economic data forecast (i.e. real data) since May 2010. Despite weakness in Cement and Steel output, Industrial Production also managed to beat and actually improve (another miracle). Retail Sales missed expectations, rose only 11.6% YoY - its weakest since Feb 2006. Initial kneejerk is a lift in USDJPY, AUDJPY, TSY yields, and S&P...
It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny Regular dropped another nine cents and Premium eight cents. Regular is now at its lowest price since January 2011.
According to GasBuddy.com, only one state (Hawaii) has Regular above $4.00 per gallon. The highest continental average price is in California at 3.49. Missouri has the cheapest Regular at $2.76.
How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer.
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What do falling energy prices mean for the US consumer? Sober Look writes a brief yet thorough overview of the consequences of the correction in the price of crude oil. There are good aspects, particularly for the consumer, bad aspects, and out-right ugly possibilities. For more on this subject, read James Hamilton's How will Saudi Arabia respond to lower oil prices? In previous eras, Saudi Arabia would tighten the supply to help increase prices, but in this "game of chicken," the rules m...
Shares in Apple (Ticker: AAPL) are near their highs of the session in the final hour of trading on Wednesday, adding to the muted gains seen earlier in the day, following the release of the September FOMC meeting minutes and after activist investor and Apple shareholder Carl Icahn tweeted, “Tmrw we’ll be sending an open letter to @tim_cook. Believe it will be interesting.” Icahn’s tweet hit the ether at 2:33 pm ET and was met with a spike in volume in Apple shares. The stock is currently up 2.0% on the day at $100.75 as of 3:15 pm ET.
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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