The balance sheet for 12/31/99 notes that shares outstanding at the end of the last quarter were 26,852,000. The 10-K recently filed with the S.E.C notes that the shares outstanding on 3/15/00 were 24,413,000. This is significant for the continuing business.
I view the lower shares outstanding to be mostly beneficial for future earnings reports. I do not see how the lower shares outstanding results in much more money available for distribution to continuing shareholders. I assume the $14+ that would have gone to the outstanding share will remit $13+ to the company's till to pay for the share purchased. This leaves a fraction of a dollar available to benefit continuing owners. I doubt this will add anything significant to the liquidation dividend. If the money is borrowed, the interest could eat this up. To the extent that selling shareholders are willing to take significantly less than the expected dividend, and you have confidence that the transaction will close as anticipated, it is an innovative way to lower the outstanding shares to the continuing shareholder's benefit. Amcol's management has described their share buy-back program as "opportunistic". This fits within that designation.
Realist maybe, but certainly not jaundiced. Check your shareholder letter dated April 5, 2000. Honest mistake on your part as they published the wrong number but this really gets to the heart of my perception.
From what can be interpreted only from the market price of the stock, it appears to be the wall street perception that the future after the partial liquidation is a group of businesses that management has not run well consistently over an extended time frame. But, therein lies the opportunity for investment profit. It will be The challange of the management of the remaining business to change this perception. To the extent that they are able to run these businesses well on a consistent and sustained basis over time, they will slowly change the current perception on wall street and improve the value to shareholders significantly. Initial signs seem to indicate that they are trying hard. The write offs and the share buy backs appear to be efforts to get the post liquidation company ready to perform.