Here are a few things I want to call your attention to before the weekend:
3i Group asset sale proceeds up nearly 58% over past 5 months
Yesterday, 3i Group PLC (III/LN) said that proceeds from the sale, public listing and refinancing of assets increased 57.7% during the 5 month period ending August 31. The proceeds for the first 5 months of 2005 were 910 million pounds (US$1.6 billion), versus 577 million pounds for the same period last year.
The company gave strong equity markets and a healthy lending environment as reasons for this performance. 3i issued this information in a trading update. It will release full 6-month results for the period ending September 30 (today) in early November.
Apparently, CEO Philip Yea and management are finding things to do. 3i spent 578 million pounds in new buyouts for these 5 months, as opposed to 365 million pounds over the same period last year.
In all, it's a strong report from a shareholder-friendly outfit. You can read Bloomberg's article here. I noticed in the coverage in Dow Jones Newswires quoted an analyst as saying 3i's management change was a clear catalyst for its performance. (Yea was installed as CEO in July 2004 and his importance has been discussed in some of my previous posts on the company.)
And another analyst in London has raised 3i's fair value from 780 pence to 930 pence.
Fitch clarifies coverage of Fairfax Financial subsidiaries
On Monday I posted a link to a report about Fitch Ratings and their coverage of the subsidiaries of Fairfax Financial (FFH/NYSE). Well, Fitch "clarified" what it meant yesterday afternoon:
"Fitch Ratings announced that it has withdrawn or upgraded the ratings of several insurance company subsidiaries of Fairfax Financial Holdings, Ltd. The actions are not a reflection of any change in credit fundamentals. Rather, they reflect simplification of the scope of Fitch's ratings coverage, as well as company mergers, name changes, or other reorganizations that have occurred but were not reflected in the press release published by Fitch on Sept. 23, 2005, or previous research reports."
You probably also saw a news report the other day that the SEC has requested more documents from Fairfax, in an investigation into the company's finite-risk insurance practices. Prem Watsa says Fairfax is cooperating with the authorities.
Fairfax continues to be a major holding in the portfolio.
The quarter ends today
Which means you should be able to read a post of how each stock has done early next week (hopefully on Monday). Stay tuned.
Thanks for your emails
As expected, I've received many more hits on this site and lots of great emails in my mailbox since being added to Seeking Alpha. Your comments, suggestions and stock ideas are most welcomed. Yet, due to time constraints, I probably won't be able to engage in lengthy email exchanges, much as I'd like to.
I appreciate all of you taking the time out of your days (or nights) to read this site. I hope it will continue to be worthy of your attention. And I urge you to refer this site to 2 or 3 people you know today.
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