Investment opportunities in the mining industry


In today’s IRMatters post, Morgans Financial director
Roger Leaning discusses investment opportunities the wealth management firm evaluates in a mining company when advising clients.


Roger Leaning

Are you eyeing a potential investment in a mining company? Some experts say risks are high but the gains can be sizable. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the industry’s nature and related risks before jumping in.

When giving investment advice to clients, Morgans weighs a mining company’s people and structure, opportunity and investment proposition. Never underestimate the power of a well-made decision. Read on to learn more about the three main aspects for consideration.

Open pit mining

People and structure

Morgans makes an overview of the mining company, its board and management as well as key shareholders. The miner’s capital structure is gauged, such as its financial resources, liquidity and pre- and post-raising. Its track record in exploration, development or fiscal discipline is also taken into account.

Opportunity

Morgans determines the commodity being obtained, its resource and quality. The parameters of the exploration or mining endeavour is also identified.

For the project’s location, the kind of infrastructure, services and sovereign risks related are sought out. The mining activity’s current and proposed work programs are checked, as well as any milestones.

Morgans examines the capital expenditures and operational expenses connected with the undertaking. The project timetable is assessed to ensure the stages necessary to move the venture to a successful conclusion have been identified and are being managed.

Moreover, the objectives of the project and the strategy towards executing it are clear. Morgans notes that this in-depth analysis of the people, company and project allows it to obtain a clear understanding of the competitive advantage of the opportunity, if it exists.

In relation to the commodity market outlook, Morgans verifies the supply and demand for the commodity as well as its price trends.

Investment proposition

When it comes to the miner’s investment proposition, Morgans essentially looks to answer the following question… Why do I need to invest now? This mainly refers to the urgency to invest before the opportunity disappears and considers the timing, likely outcomes and activity needed to achieve. It will also need an assessment of the offer structure and proposed value. Morgans notes that it will likewise attempt to overlay an ever-changing intangible market sentiment to the investment proposition. This may consider things such as fund flows into the resources sector, recent activity and general levels of investor support, alternative or competing investments and potential gate keepers.

Gold mine

Need further help on your impending investment decision?

Get in touch with your Morgans Adviser for some assistance on your prospective move. Alternatively, if you do not have a Morgans Adviser, call 1800 777 946 or email info@morgans.com.au.

 

Important Information: The material contained in this article is for general information only. It does not take into consideration any specific needs, situations or objectives. Before making any financial decision, you should make sure you are comfortable that the strategy suits your needs and objectives, and your risk profile. If necessary, you should seek professional advice.

Junior companies in space race

Most of the 2,000 or so companies on the Australian Securities Exchange shout into an empty room when they release their announcements.

Only the biggest 200 get much press or broker coverage. This is because both the business press and stockbrokers cover only companies with the most shares, the most customers, the most employees and the biggest effect on the economy. Talk to the directors of small companies and they will tell you it has never been harder to get publicity in newspapers and junior companies must compete for the shrinking space. They are in a space race.

Three trends are changing the way companies get their news to investors. One is economic, the second is technological and the third is financial. They are:

3 Forces

  1. Newspapers are getting smaller and their circulations are shrinking as their advertising revenue dries up. They are not only employing fewer journalists, they are sacking ones they do have.
  2. Investors want information immediately and smartphones have put the internet into people’s pockets.
  3. Investors who trade online, manage their portfolios online and research online are embracing social media as an alternative to expensive news feeds from Bloomberg and Reuters.

 

The convergence of the three trends means companies can reach investors with information they value direct through social media. Junior companies have been freed from the need for traditional coverage and can also position themselves as authoritative sources that investors opt in to follow.  However, the biggest mistake companies make when trying to use investor social media is to unthinkingly adopt a consumer social media model. After all, an iron ore company does not sell any more iron to a steel mill because of its Facebook page. A biotech company working on a cure for cancer does not even have a product to sell.

Being successful in investor social media takes mastery of three skills:

3 Complementary skill sets

  1. Journalism expertise is needed to see the many newsworthy aspects of a company and its sector that its executives take for granted. They mistakenly think that ASX announcements are the only communications worth sending to investors. Journalism skills are also needed to craft posts on social media in ways that engage investors.
  2. Market knowledge is needed to know how investors think, what they value and what is important. Market knowledge is also needed to talk to investors with the right level of assumed knowledge.
  3. Social media skills are needed to use the new platforms effectively, to find people who value market information, to engage them with information they value, and to provide information in formats that suit the channels it is posted on.

However, few people have mastered all three skill sets. People who know social media are often too young to have much market experience. People with decades of market experience have rarely developed a news sense. Most journalists have little idea how to run a social media campaign.

Astounding results

When all three skills come together, the results can be astounding.

One client – a junior gold company that was about to transition from explorer to producer by pouring its first gold – had a problem. Corporate raiders were trying to oust the board and take control of the company on the eve of the gold pour, which was expected to send the share price soaring. Instead of launching a normal takeover and paying a premium for the shares, the raiders called an extraordinary meeting to have shareholders vote out the incumbent directors and replace them with the raiders. The company needed to mobilise shareholders and make them aware of the skulduggery. It needed them to vote down the raiders.

Using social media, we were able to get the full story to between 50,000 and 115,000 investors, stockbrokers, analysts, wealth advisers, fund managers, corporate finance executives, asset consultants, business journalists and others every two weeks in the run-up to the shareholder meeting. Our efforts worked and at the meeting, shareholders rejected the raiders, and the incumbent board maintained control and could oversee the first gold pour, which produced income for the company. Another client, a financial services company, used social media to take news of its new contracts and rising profitability direct to the market.

In the process, it increased the number of its shares sold each day from an average 100,000 to 400,000 after its investor social media campaign began. This increase in share liquidity validates studies by Victoria and Stanford Universities into the power of social media, which shows that when companies use social media to amplify their announcements, they reach more investors. Engaging more investors also narrows the bid-ask spread, the studies found. That in turn makes the shares more attractive to more investors. It creates a virtuous circle.

For more tips, strategies and tools for investor social media, you can follow my company Investor Torque on LinkedIn, @InvestorTorque on Twitter, or go to the website www.investortorque.com

By David Coe, managing editor of Investor Torque

Supporting staff with shareholdings


In today’s IRMatters post, Patricia Doyle, Private Client Advisor with Morgans Financial covers four important points that companies and employees should consider when entering into employee share schemes.


PatriciaDoyle

Many ASX-listed companies award shares or offer discounted shares to their staff as a show of appreciation, a sign of recognition for hard work, and as a staff retention practice. With the benefits for both management and employees who own shares, a number of core processes and rules accompany share schemes.  It is important for all staff to be aware of the major points.

1. Limiting personal risk

Escrow arrangements and vesting arrangements will mean the shares are not readily available to be sold by the owner. It may be some months or years until the stock is released from escrow and available to be sold on the market. Making purchases or entering into liabilities, based on the value yet to be received under an escrowed stock arrangement would be considered high risk considering the uncertainty around the outcome.


The most conservative approach an employee shareholder should take is to only consider the cash to be available for other uses once the shares are actually sold and the proceeds in their bank account.

investchoices

2. Block-out periods and sale windows

Sale windows exist, typically for executive level employees, whose shares may be subject to block-out periods, where the stock cannot be sold or purchased. As an example, a Director’s action to sell their shares in the week before the company is due to announce its annual results may be seen as a conflict of interest, given the information the staff member may privy to.


It is important that a staff member takes responsibility in this regard and checks with their Company Secretary or similar to confirm the stock is eligible to be sold on a particular date. The Company Secretary should also provide ongoing updates by way of email to confirm when sale windows are open and closed. 

control

3. Share trading accounts

Staff without a share trading account is a common occurrence in many businesses. Quite often employees may have never owned shares previously, nor really understand much about them and the processes involved to sell their shares can be more complicated than anticipated. One solution is for the company to have a specific broker contact who can assist staff with opening a trading account, explaining the process and keeping track of the important timing issues that can surround employee shares.


Employees can contact the Company Secretary to find out if they have a broker contact that they deal with on a regular basis that can assist with a new account.

broker-assistant

4. Tax considerations

Tax issues can arise through the sale of employee shares depending on the cost base given to the allocated stock. It would be advisable to ensure that staff recognise their may be tax payable in the event they sell their shares and speak to an accountant if they are unsure of their potential liability. In certain cases, tax may be payable upfront on the exercise of options or when they cease employment with the company.


It is very important Employees discuss the potential tax implications with their accountant prior to selling their shares.

taximplications

All  staff should be provided with an information pack when they initially receive a parcel of shares in the company with details of the benefits of the Employee Share Scheme as well as highlighting the important points detailed above.

Seeking guidance? 

Need some help with providing guidance to your employees on how to approach thinking about the company’s employee share plans? Contact Patricia Doyle, Senior Investment Advisor, via phone: +61 2 9373 4416 or email: patricia.doyle@morgans.com.au.

Important Information

The information contained in this article is general information only. It does not take into consideration any specific needs, situations or objectives. Before making any financial decisions you should make sure you are comfortable that the strategy suits your needs and objectives, and your risk profile. If necessary, you should seek professional advice.

Being social is important, especially in a crisis.


In today’s IRMatters post, Director of Platform Communications, Kirsty Danby explores the role of social media in crisis management situations and provides some excellent, practical guidelines for communications practitioners.

KirstyDanby

Earlier this month, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology released results of a three year study into how social media is being used during crisis communications.

It found that while platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were recognised as increasingly important in the dissemination of information during crisis events, they were not always used well.

“The official use of social media for crisis communications within emergency management organisations is still relatively new and ad hoc, rather than being systematically embedded within or effectively coordinated across agencies,” the report reads.

Statistics support using SM channels as part of your communications mix

Latest statistics out of the United States i show a steady increase in the number of people using social media – with Instagram now the most popular and fastest-growing platform.

It’s a little different in Australia with the latest Sensis report (published May 2015) showing Facebook still out in front with 93 per cent of social networkers maintaining a profile.

But visual sites like Instagram are also growing quickly with 5 million Australians logging on every month.

Based on this data, the importance of social media is clear. However, in Platform’s experience, many companies are risk averse when it comes to social media and prefer to leave it be rather than establish a presence. Aside from ignoring a potential audience, this strategy also reduces the communication opportunities available during a crisis.

Guiding principles

There are some key principles which companies can follow to enable a safe social media presence – such as having a defined strategy from the outset, designated social media managers and a framework for what content is suitable.


“Having clear guidelines becomes even more important when a crisis arises. Things get messy; people are emotional, facts are often unclear and confusion can hamper communication efforts.”

digital-communications

If a company has a plan for using social media during a crisis, the process will be much smoother.

One of the first steps is to make a public statement acknowledging that an incident has occurred. Social media is the ideal platform for these announcements (and successive updates) given its real-time nature.

BHP Billiton has worked to this strategy in the aftermath of the Samarco disaster with various announcements and videos, posted numerous times per day.

tweet

In the week following the incident in Brazil, Samarco was referred to close to 35,000 times, as the graph below shows, which clearly demonstrates the importance of communicating to this online audience.

tweetgraph

Announcements on social media should be transparent, consistent and factual.

It’s also important to hand the social media responsibility over to someone who understands the company and corporate communications so as to ensure accurate messages that work in line with reputation management strategies.

In order to help emergency organisations improve social media use during crises, the Queensland University of Technology has recommended a national framework be established. Read the full list of recommendations here.

But this shouldn’t be restricted to emergency organisations – as we’ve seen with the Samarco incident resources companies also need to be prepared.

Getting started

Need some help planning how your company might use social media in a crisis? Contact Kirsty Danby, Director at Platform Communications, at +61 8 6467 7640, or contact Platform, here.


IRM Newsroom can publish your ASX Announcements, blog posts and other news items to a variety of channels, including social media. Ask IRM how it fits your strategy. Visit and follow us below:

Delivering value through a well considered IP strategy


In this post, intellectual property expert, Tony Shaw, Patent Attorney with Allens Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys discusses where investors should look for value when assessing tech, biotech and lifescience stocks, and provides tips for companies on how to manage a successful IP strategy.

TonyShaw2

Investment in early stage tech companies, in particular ASX listed small-cap life sciences and tech companies is used (or should be used), primarily to fund technology development. Why? Because valuations improve as companies begin to demonstrate that their technology is becoming commercially relevant. Just look at how Spinfex’s phase II trial data helped them sell to Novartis for US$200 million cash up-front, in a deal that also included clinical development and regulatory milestone payments.

Good clinical trial or market data are key to attracting attention, but without solid intellectual property (IP) and an IP strategy, even the best new drug won’t be worth much. While a press release that says ‘we just got a patent’ is yawn-inducing, a good IP strategy is fundamental for success.


“A good IP strategy doesn’t require luck or coincidence, it requires process and a systematic approach.”

lightbulb

For some, an IP strategy just means giving their patent attorney a brief outline of their technology and telling them to file a patent application that broadly covers the entire field. At best, this leads to weak patent coverage, at worst no useful IP at all. Ideally, patents should be targeted to cover particular inventions that are commercially important to the company, whether they be a product per se, a technology that enables production of the product or technology that may not be the company’s core business but may nevertheless be out licensed to generate revenue. Any investment in IP protection should be made with consideration to the value that IP brings to the company. It should be remembered that the patentability of an invention is not solely determinative of the value of that invention.

Every tech company that is serious about success should have an IP strategy. This requires an understanding of patent and trade mark law, commercialisation of new and evolving technologies, and a clear vision of what makes up the company’s research and development program. A firm view of the future of the industry also helps – because a patent needs to cover what the product will be when it goes on sale, not just what it is early in development.

An IP strategy should be developed early and periodically refined in a process that involves both the company and their patent attorney. The company should provide their attorney with future goals, their core competencies and a realistic analysis of their existing and planned R&D. This should be combined with market analysis, consideration of commercial opportunities and an analysis of existing and potential alliances.

Keep in mind that getting a patent, while sometimes not straightforward, is the easy part. What is really needed is a patent covering a commercially useful technology which can then be leveraged to create value for the company. This doesn’t often happen without a well thought out and well executed IP Strategy.


“Some companies succeed without an IP strategy, just like some people win the lottery.”

fortunecookie

There are always exceptions, some companies that have short-lived products, like apps often don’t utilize IP. Some companies succeed without an IP strategy, just like some people win the lottery. A good IP strategy doesn’t require luck or coincidence it requires process and a systematic approach.

Allowing for mistakes
Busy people doing several jobs at once usually run small tech companies. They often don’t involve their patent attorneys when making decisions about what will be protected (even though they should!)

Sometimes management doesn’t appreciate the value of a potential IP asset and the chance to acquire an asset is missed. Conversely, sometimes patents are filed for no clear reason and add little value. A company needs clear criteria as well as preferably independent checks to control the execution of an IP strategy to ensure that a mistake or oversight doesn’t lead to a missed opportunity to create value.


“Periodic IP audits by a patent attorney are always a good idea and one that more often than not will result in identifying previously unknown assets.”

IPmglass

The boring stuff – IP audits and IP training
Its always surprising how some people think obvious things are patentable and will make them millions and others think that great innovations are so obvious (to them) that they can’t be patented. Patentability analysis should be left to patent attorneys. A company should use its attorney to train their R&D team to understand patentability requirements so that they are better placed to inform decision makers when they have developed something that is potentially patentable.

Periodic IP audits by a patent attorney are always a good idea and one that more often than not will result in identifying previously unknown assets.

Learning from Success
Almost daily, I see tech companies that are still trying to develop products based on 10 year old patents. These companies have not learnt or have ignored lessons from dominant tech companies. Companies like Genentech, any big pharma company, Apple, IBM (the list goes on) all have carefully developed IP strategies. Granted, an ASX listed small-cap life sciences company doesn’t have the R&D nor legal budget of an Apple or IBM but that is no reason why their executives should not be thinking like a bigger company with their approach to IP.

Having a great IP strategy is not easy but a tech company (a good one at least) will have a board that understands and knows how to leverage IP to create value. It will train its employees to identify patentable assets and will conduct periodic IP audits.

patent-dictionary

Reviewing or considering your IP strategy?

Dr Tony Shaw is a patent attorney with Allens Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys, and specialises in IP advisory for listed company clients. If you’d like to speak with Tony about your IP strategy, please contact him via tony.shaw@allens.com.au or +61 2 9230 4622.

Many thanks to Tony for this insightful post. The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do no necessarily reflect the views of Allens Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys.

Making your AGM webcast count – six tips from Boardroom.Media

In today’s post, Will Canty, Director of Boardroom.Media discusses the use of webcasting at AGMs. Which companies need AGM webcasting? What would trigger the decision to webcast? And what is best practice? Also included below is a new offer that IRM clients can access – special discounts when corporate video is combined with AGM webcasting.

Listed companies with year end approaching are starting to think about their end of year toolkit. The annual report is in sight, the AGM will be just around the corner – there’s a lot to achieve between now and then! Most companies will, at some stage, consider the value of using webcasting – what is it? Why is it important? How much will it cost me? And is a live webcast really necessary for my audience? Let’s run through some of these questions, starting with the fundamentals:

1. What is a webcast?
When referring to the AGM, a webcast is usually either:

A) A live broadcast version of your presentation – which is made available to your stakeholders and streamed in real time, or

B) A video-recorded version of your presentation, which is made available to people after the AGM has concluded – we call this an On Demand webcast.

Both kinds of webcast can be timed with slides or overlaid with special graphics. Both are made available to investors via a link (lodged as an ASX announcement) which they click on to watch the webcast.

 

Fairfax AGM Webcast with embedded video and imagery
Fairfax AGM Webcast with embedded video and imagery

2. What goes into planning for the webcast?
Of course you want your webcast to run as smoothly as possible. Prior to the event date, BRR would work with you and / or your IR person or agency to ensure we understand your brief. We will ask you about:

  • Date, time, venue, speaker/s and what kind of webcast (live, on demand, video or audio only) you need, also who we can speak with at the venue to ensure we bring the correct setup along with us
  • Whether you’d like a registration page so that you know who is watching the webcast (BRR would always recommend this)
  • How you want the webcasting player window to look – we can customise it to look like your corporate site, annual report or other assets
  • Whether there are any special images or overlays that we need to integrate into the presentation while it’s in progress
  • If you want your presentation timed to slides, we’ll discuss cues with you to ensure we get them right, and will request a copy of your presentation to load up on the day

We recognise that AGM planning is a busy time, so we do all of the above as quickly as possible to get the detail we need, but preserve your time.

 

Freelancer FY results webcast - timed to slides
Freelancer FY results webcast – timed to slides

3. Company communications – how do we make best use of our webcast?
In the lead up to the AGM, we’d recommend companies promote the webcast. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

For live webcasts
In the documentation that goes out with your Notice of Meeting:

Let your investors know that they will be able to watch the AGM via a live webcast, and provide the registration link.

Two to four weeks ahead of the AGM:

A) Lodge an ASX announcement which notes the time, date and registration page for the webcast
B) Use your corporate website to reinforce the message – load a button onto your home page, investor centre landing page or AGM page, promoting the date and time of the AGM and pointing people to the registration page and
C) Send an email alert (using something like IRM’s Newsroom product) with the details of the event

On the day of the AGM

D) Send a reminder to all those who have registered to remind them that your webcast will commence at the specified time later that day

After the AGM is wrapped up, Boardroom.Media will provide clients with a link to an On Demand version of the webcast that investors can use to watch the presentation if they missed it live. We recommend:

E) Lodging this link along with your AGM wrap-up materials
F) Changing the buttons on your website to reflect the update that investors can now download the On Demand version

For on demand webcasts

In the documentation that goes out with your Notice of Meeting:

Let your investors know that they will be able to watch the AGM via an On Demand webcast, and provide the registration link.

Two to four weeks ahead of the AGM:

Use your corporate website to remind people that an On Demand version of the webcast will be available after the AGM. Load a button onto your home page, investor centre landing page or AGM page pointing people to the registration page

After the event

Boardroom.Media will work with the client to ensure the webcast is edited appropriately, then provide clients with a link to an On Demand version of the webcast that investors can use to watch the presentation if they missed it live. We recommend:

A) Lodging this link along with your AGM wrap-up materials
B) Including buttons on your website to promote that investors can now download the On Demand version
C) Pushing out the link via your social media channels

“Webcasting your investor presentations, results and general meetings expands your global investor reach and provides investors with the opportunity to see your presentation in their own time.”

 

Graincorp AGM webcast with video and presentation
Graincorp AGM webcast with video and presentation

4. How do I know whether I need a live webcast or if an On Demand version will suffice?

While live webcasting is the best practice approach, due to the infrastructure and resourcing required to deliver the live webcast, it is more expensive, and also brings an additional element of pressure to the speaker. It won’t be relevant in all cases for all companies.

We find that as a general rule of thumb, most of the ASX100 companies want to webcast live. They have (for the most part) large share registers and often actively engaged investors, who want a seat at the meeting, so a live webcast is a good idea.

For any company that is considering announcing something material at a meeting, a live webcast or conference call, to which the link has been provided prior, is crucial.

The On Demand webcast will suit those companies which want to enable shareholders to watch the AGM proceedings, but don’t need the timeliness of a live version.

How do I know
5. Can my shareholders ask questions during a webcast?

You make the decision as to whether to allow shareholders to ask questions during the webcast. There are a couple of ways to do this:

A) You can allow people to submit questions in advance of the event – either during the registration portal, or via an email address that you promote via your market communications, which you can collate and then respond to on the day, or
B) The Boardroom.Media webcasting platform can accept questions, live, during the presentation. You would then have someone in the room who can deliver the questions to the presenter for response

Q+A

6. How much does a webcast cost these days?

While the early webcasting products were very expensive, with improvements to technology and infrastructure, webcasting is now very cost effective.

Webcasting your investor presentations, results and general meetings expands your global investor reach and provides investors with the opportunity to see your presentation in their own time.


Up until one month after your year end, Boardroom.Media is offering any IRM client who requests a combination of a corporate video and an On Demand AGM webcast a 20% discount off the total quote.

For more information, please mention the IRM offer when you contact Will Canty at Boardroom.Media: via email: wcanty@brrmedia.com or phone: +612 9339 6526 or visit www.brrmedia.com.

Chasing the greenback: how to attract US investors

At IRM, we’re privileged to complement the work of some of the best investor and public relations practitioners in the business.

Today’s post, Chasing the greenback: how to attract US investors was written by Kyahn Williamson, who Heads Investor Communication at Buchan Consulting, a consultancy that IRM works with often.

Here Kyahn explores the thoughts and opinions of several respected US investors and highlights the paths that a number of our ASX listed companies have ventured down when attracting interest from US investors.


“Chasing the greenback: How to attract US investors” first appeared in the Winter edition of Listed@ASX. You can download the full edition here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015: The US supports one of the world’s deepest pools of capital, and interest in Australian companies is at a peak. In 2013, US investors poured more than US$35 billion into Australia including ASX listed companies, and not just in the traditional stronghold of mining and resources, but across retail, manufacturing and healthcare.

There are many reasons US investors consider ASX listed companies. For some, it is diversification, for others it is the ability to take a meaningful stake in new technologies or IP. And with the falling Australian dollar and the collapse in commodities, the potential to deliver upside is driving strong investor interest.

John Chiplin, the founder of US based investor, Newstar Ventures, and non-executive Director of ASX listed Benitec, says, “It’s good right now because there is an appetite for risk capital and value arbitrage between Australian and US companies is as high as it’s ever been.”

“Most Australian companies are undervalued at the moment,” said Trevor Brucato, Director of RB Milestone Group LLC, a New York based equity research and market intelligence firm. “Valuations are not reflecting true value and many companies, especially in natural resources, are trading at less than liquidation. These conditions scream for management buyouts and other various takeover opportunities. This, along with currency arbitrage, is heightening interest from US funds.”

AN ABUNDANCE OF SPECIALISTS

Although the arbitrage theme is strong in the current climate, the US, with its abundance of specialist investors ranging from venture capitalists to institutional funds, is a source of patient capital.

“The key to making those investors sticky is to take the time to have a presence in the US: make the effort to engage, and go meet with them on a regular basis,” said Daniel Sharp, a corporate advisor with Canaccord Genuity.

Companies such as ImpediMed (IPD) and Nanosonics (NAN) have both have recently completed major capital raises, attracting international, institutional investors.  They are also amongst the best performing stocks on the ASX currently, and recent entrants into the ASX300.

Like their peer, Osprey Medical (OSP), these companies have growing sales and awareness in the US, and in the case of ImpediMed a US Category One reimbursement status. Their relevance and strong presence in the market, demonstrates that timing is all important when pitching to the US market. Many agree that some companies simply jump the gun, in terms of the story being too premature or not understanding who the relevant investors are.

The experience of these companies also supports the view that the ASX is an excellent stepping stone for smaller or early stage companies. There has been a run of US based companies listing on the ASX, because it is a regarded as a highly efficient and well regulated market, but one where it is much easier to raise small amounts of capital or list at an earlier stage and at a lower valuation.

For companies at the more speculative end however, the US appetite for risk, is a draw card.  As Chiplin points out, “In the US, investors are in generally less risk averse and will take on more risk to get rewards.”

A CASE IN POINT: BENITEC

Australian biotech, Benitec (ASX.BLT), which is conducting first in man trials of its gene silencing technology, raised $30 million in April 2014, almost all from the US. Approximately 30% of its register is US based. A company like Benitec, is considered high risk in the Australian market, so attracting quality US investors and capital was transformative in itself. Benitec was effective in tapping into the intense investor interest in the gene therapy space, which was driving up the valuations of its peers, and targeting specialist investors with a deep understanding of their technology.

But when there’s more money to be found in one New York City block, than in the whole of Australia, where does one begin in their quest to find the fund manager of their dreams? Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. It takes a great deal of time, effort and persistence.

Barry Driscoll, of Kennedy Needham, who has spent much of his career advising Australian companies on American Depositary Receipts (ADR) programs says: “The companies that do it well understand what the market is. You can’t go in with a scatter gun approach. You need to have the right people guiding you, and you need to get in front of the broking houses that are trading the foreign stocks – and that isn’t necessarily the household names.”

Once you find the right target, getting the story right is paramount. Often, we are told that the Australian style of presentation needs to be honed for the US market. This means not only finding your angle for the US or the individual investor – but ensuring the key points of the story are delivered succinctly and up front. US investors, like their Australian counterparts, want to see quality management, addressable markets, and the ability to execute. Sharp says investors will delve more deeply, and will often have a more detailed understanding of a technology and how it is applied in the market.

But perhaps save the technical details for the specialist analyst or the second meeting. As Brucato succinctly puts it: “In New York, investors want the facts and they want them fast.”

 

Special thanks to Kyahn and to Buchan for allowing us to reproduce the article here.  For more detail on Buchan Consulting, please visit www.buchanwe.com.au.