The Mission Report

The MissionIR Report - Mid-May 2011

In-depth analysis, timely updates, latest market news


Market News

Company Updates


Obama to Encourage Domestic Oil Production

This weekend, President Barack Obama took aim at Big Oil again, calling for an end to taxpayer subsidies for the highly profitable industry, but he's also offering petroleum firms new leases and incentives to increase production.

In his weekly address, the President said that with Americans paying $60 or more to fill up their tanks, and with oil companies raking in $4 billion worth of profits a week, a government handout to those companies "makes no sense."

Before taking office, Obama noted that the chief executives of many oil firms admitted as much and said, "The American people shouldn't be subsidizing oil companies at a time when they're making near-record profits. As a nation, we should be investing in the clean, renewable sources of energy that are the ultimate solution to high gas prices."

Oil companies have since changed their tune. Executives testifying before a Senate committee this week defended the subsidies, with Conoco Phillips at one point labeling any attempt to limit them as "un-American."

Obama offered another carrot in the form of expanded oil leases in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.

"We should increase safe and responsible oil production here at home," he said. "To do this, I am directing the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic."

There are also plans to lease new areas in the Gulf of Mexico along with "new incentives for industry to develop their unused leases both on and offshore," Obama said.

"These spikes in gas prices are often temporary, and while there are no quick fixes to the problem, there are a few steps we should take that make good sense," he said.

Greece Deficit and Growing Debt Fuel New Aid Talks

The European Union recently warned that Greece's already massive debt is growing much faster than forecasted, putting pressure on the region's finance chiefs to come up with new support for the country at their upcoming meeting.

Until a few days ago it looked as if the main objective of this month's meeting of EU finance ministers was to sign off on a euro78 billion ($111 billion) aid package for Portugal. But admissions that Greece's euro110 billion rescue plan agreed last year is failing to restore investor confidence have brought the focus back on Athens.

Several EU officials have hinted in recent days that Greece may need a second bailout to plug financial shortfalls in 2012 and 2013, but stressed that any new help would only come in return for further austerity measures and economic reforms.

At their meetings on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels, EU finance ministers will be joined by Dominique Strauss Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, which is responsible for one-third of Greece's existing loan package.

His presence underlines the gravity of the Greek situation, coming just one week after the region's financial heavyweights discussed the country's problems in a secret meeting in Luxembourg. Strauss Kahn is already traveling to Berlin on Sunday to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose stance on potential aid will be crucial.

The EU's Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Friday called the situation in Greece "very serious" and said the country needed to cut spending even further than foreseen in its bailout program.

Greece's debt will reach 157.7 percent of economic output this year and jump to 166.1 percent in 2012, the European Commission, the EU's executive, said in its biannual economic forecast. That's up from 150.2 percent and 156 percent respectively it predicted last fall.

The country's budget deficit doesn't look much better, reaching 9.5 percent of GDP this year, about 2 percentage points above previous predictions and the targets set out in its bailout program. The shortfall is expected to remain high at 9.3 percent in 2012.

The pessimistic financial data are in part due to Greece's economic collapse over the past two years and mean the country will be effectively locked out of international debt markets for longer than expected. In 2012, Greece is supposed to raise euro27 billion to help pay its bills, but with investors demanding a 15 percent interest rate to give it 10-year loans, that prospect looks increasingly unlikely.

The Commission's sharp debt revisions will likely spice up discussions among finance ministers Monday and Tuesday. It will also fuel calls from many economists who say the country needs to restructure its debts -- forcing private creditors like banks and investment funds to accept later or lower repayments on the bonds they hold.

5 Ways to Build Wealth in 2011

Experts in the fields of money, debt, real estate and consumer affairs have offered the following wealth-building tips for 2011. With the half-way point in the year almost here, it couldn't be a better time to start applying these suggestions to your personal life.

1. No Shortcuts:
Year after Year of Consistent Savings "The best way to build wealth remains unchanged: Invest as much money as you can (which is usually more than you think you can) into a diversified set of low-cost mutual funds and exchange-traded funds -- and keep doing this for many years, no matter what," states Ric Edelman, chairman and CEO of Edelman Financial Services LLC, and author of "The Truth About Money".

2. Get Rid of High-Interest Card Debt
"For most people, building wealth is not about what to do with excess disposable income, but how to keep more of the money that they earn," says David Jones, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. "The best way to do that: Reduce the amount of money spent on interest payments -- especially high-interest payments attached to credit card purchases. If a consumer can work to pay off just one high-interest credit card and not overcharge it again, then the money saved after it is paid off can go to a building-wealth plan."

3. Buy a Home
Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of Realtors and principal broker for Phipps Realty, says buying a home is a great way to build wealth in 2011. Mortgage rates are low, selection is great, prices are about one-third lower than five years ago, "and, by the way, you can live in the investment," he says.

Karen Altfest, CFP, principal adviser and executive vice president of client relations at Altfest Personal Wealth Management, offers the following advice: "Have a balanced portfolio". So many people think that as they get older, money will come from interest. The secret is (keeping) a well-balanced, diversified portfolio and learning what it all means. Too many times, people take the "set it and forget it" approach with their retirement accounts, she says. But you shouldn't "let it get cobwebs because you can't deal with it," she says. "Get help." Your goal for the year: Get educated about what's in your retirement accounts and why.

5. Do Your Due Diligence
To build wealth that you can rely on, scrutinize the adviser and the investment thoroughly, John Breyault, director of the National Consumer League's Fraud Center, recommends. Red flags include: guaranteed returns, pressure, nothing in writing or a reluctance to share information you could present to a third-party, or a significant upfront sum. He recommends checking with regulating authorities such as FINRA, FCC and SEC as well as verifying any degrees and accreditations directly with the bodies that offer them

Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd.

Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. announced that it has further expanded its North American team to enhance support of customers in the region. Through the help of its largest shareholder, the company continues to build its presence to capitalize on the fast growing demand for solar energy products. Leveraging expert support, a portfolio of high quality solar products and access to financing, Hanwha SolarOne is focused on becoming a major player in the North American market.

About Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd.

Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. is a leading provider of global energy solutions designed to meet the demands of the 21st century energy customer. From quality crystalline silicon and solar module assembly to project development and financing, Hanwha SolarOne offers a fully integrated solution. Through control of the supply chain, the company is able to deliver the highest quality products at very competitive prices.

The company's technology department works closely with the manufacturing department to lower production costs by improving production efficiency. In July 2007, Hanwha SolarOne established the Hanwha SolarOne PV Engineering Center. This center, equipped with a fully dedicated pilot production line and various characterization tools, focuses on improving the solar cell efficiency and extending its application.

Hanwha SolarOne takes its role as a leader seriously, both in business and in the community. Long-term commitment is the key focus of the company, which supports its modules with a 25-year warranty and prompt post-sale service. Furthermore, all modules are certified by TÜV, CE, UL, and CEC, validating quality and safety. The company is also committed to industry sustainability and is a member of the PV Cycle end-of-life product recycling program.

PolyMet Mining Corp. (PLM)

PolyMet Mining Corp. recently announced its financial results for the twelve months ended January 31, 2011. Although the company reported a loss for the year, it was significantly lower compared to the same period a year earlier. With cash and cash equivalents of $10.361 million, the company is well funded with an additional $20 million to be raised through the sale of 10 million shares to Glencore AG.

About PolyMet Mining Corp. (PLM)

PolyMet Mining Corp. controls 100% of the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals ore body through a long-term lease and owns 100% of the Erie Plant, a large processing facility set only six miles from the ore body, in the established mining district of the Mesabi Range. With the Definitive Feasibility Study complete, the company is currently seeking environmental and operating permits to move forward with production initiatives.

The Duluth Complex hosts the NorthMet mineralization. The Complex is a well-known geological formation with large quantities of copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum, palladium and gold, and lies in northeastern Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has estimated that the Duluth Complex contains approximately 4.4 billion tons of mineral resources grading at 0.66% copper and 0.20% nickel.

Using open pit mining techniques traditional on the Mesabi Iron Range, PolyMet intends to mine ore containing copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum, palladium and gold. Using modern processing techniques to recover these metals, which are used in everyday products such as electrical wiring, automobile emission controls and medical applications, the company anticipates mining approximately 32,000 tons of ore per day.

Procera Networks, Inc. (PKT)

Procera Networks, Inc. also recently reported its financial results. Revenues for the first quarter of 2011 were reported at $6.9 million, a 110% increase from revenues reported a year earlier. Non-GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2011 was $136,000, compared to a non-GAAP net loss of $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2010. The company anticipates this year's revenue to total $30 million, representing growth of 50% year-over-year.

About Procera Networks, Inc.

Procera Networks, Inc. is focused on delivering Intelligent Policy Enforcement (IPE) solutions, using advanced Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, to enable carriers, services providers and higher education institutions to improve the quality and lifetime of their networks. By utilizing Procera's solutions, organizations are able to better monetize their infrastructure investments, control hazards, and create attractive services for their users.

Procera's core product suite, the PacketLogic line of platforms, drives the PCC (Policy and Charging Control) ecosystem by enforcing advanced network and service policies. As of last report, PacketLogic has been deployed for more than 600 customers who have come to value the superior accuracy and high-end performance of the PacketLogic solution.

Applicable across all network and access technologies, PacketLogic enlightens cable MSOs of the impact on their core business from OTT video services, helps 3G operators identify and manage backhaul congestion, applies fair-share on shared-media WIMAX networks, implements tiered services on high-speed LTE networks, and helps xDSL and FTTH operators better understand their customers.


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