I totally understand your frustration and as a shareholder and portfolio manager I am truly baffled by what is going on. You stock is a cyclical one and should perform with its peers. This is something one has to take into consideration when buying this stock. As for the threat that your CEO has posed to employees who read and participate here, all I can say is "freedom of speech". Talk to me off the board at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is true that we have lost a lot of experience in many of our divisions. How long will it be before all of us price ourselves out of a job. What amount of money do we make before the corporation pulls the plug on an employee. I would think that this type of work enviroment is damaging productivity when everyone is afraid of losing there job. Ferro has many long term employees that have given there heart and soul to this company but times have change and corporate has set an enviroment where everyone should be out for themselves rather than working as one. We still have many excellent dedicated workers that are willing to turn this company around but we must be treated fairly and share in the wealth. Everyone is getting excited about the stock price rising but it will have to reach at least $40.00 and remain strong for many years to recoup the losses that have occured over the last 18 months. Lets do what is right for the corporation and the people. Don't forget the people.
Ferro is not picking on the older people, they are just cutting the people who make the most money. It's Ferro business-as-usual, looking at the short-term bottom line instead of the long view. We have had several people let go at our division over the last couple of years, long-time employees. Coupled with the retirement of a few folks in that same time period, the company has lost a depth of knowledge. The result? Errors. It takes Ferro so long to approve replacements that the person they are replacing is gone before they can properly train the new person. Much is lost. I understand Hector has to approve "every" new hire. Doesn't he have more important things to do? Ferro is asking us to do more with less, but they haven't given us the tools to do it. Result? Frustration. Further result? Good people leave. I know SAP is on the horizon, but that's a carrot that's been dangled too long. One other thing, I got my last Ferro newsletter and it went on and on about Ferro's new leadership agenda....I read it cover to cover to try and figure out what that new agenda is. It's a bunch of fluff, falling way short of its intended design, to somehow make employees "feel good." We aren't stupid. Just tell us, "Hey guys, we're cutting people, we're cutting raises, and we want you to work harder so us guys at the top can make a lot of money." Now, that I can believe. It's honest and it doesn't insult my intelligence.
I appreciate your offer for help but I will not contemplate legal action unless there is a catastrophic reason for doing so. It's not going to be good for the stock (in the short term, and perhaps, in the long term) and it may hurt the interests of the average employee. However, unjustified firing of employees is a catastrophic reason in my book (assuming that exfoe is accurate in his statements).
Besides, I have my own attorney and I have already consulted her.
As for shorting the stock to balance the 401(k) money, we (I and my friends) have done that numerous times and covered.
I don't feel that Ferro can go down much from here. The book value of the company is $7 to $8 per share. So the downside is limited. And I don't want to pay the 3.3% annual dividend.
Besides, the short interest in Ferro was up sharply last month. So there could be a sharp move up at anytime. I don't think it's a great idea to short the stock here. On the contrary, I feel that FOE is fairly good buy here.
One can make money whether the stock goes up or down. But it will be much harder now that options on Ferro no longer trade (which I believe is a negative for the stock as serious investors may bypass it now).
What concerns me is that Ferro was a great company and still has some of the nicest people I have ever met. And most of them do not have the financial resources nor the knowledge to do what you suggest (short the stock). And so their retirment is in jeopardy if the stock price does not rally from here.
What I want from Hector is the following:
1. Ethical treatment of employees and respect and justice for all. IMHO, Management by fear is a big mistake.
2. A commitment to reduce the average employee's 401(k) dependence on Ferro stock (from the current 60 to 85% to 20 to 30%).
3. Let the 401(k) dividends grow tax-free. If this is too expensive, then all employees who make less than $50k per year should have that privilege.
4. A commitment to move Ferro stock into the 30s in the next couple of years so that the average Ferro employee can retire securely.
If he achieves these goals, I have few qualms about what Hector pays himself.
This is just my view of the situation. I realize that this is just one point of view and it is probably biased. So I encourage all Ferro employees to speak their minds. Only when all points of view are represented here, biased or not, can we arrive at an agenda which represents the best interests of all.
You are extremely knowledgeable about the complexities of the financial world as relates to Ferro's 401K and stock price. As an "average" employee, your arguments and theories about the 401K are normally over my (humble) head. And a person not so "brilliant" as yourself (if able to get beyond your nauseously repetitive personal attacks on the CEO), might believe you could have a legitimate complaint about the 401K. So, I have a question for you. Have you ever considered trying to communicate with Ferro management (or anyone for that matter!) in a forthright manner instead of operating in your embarrassingly cowardly fashion; that is, hiding in total anonymity behind an internet screen "hoping" that your message gets noticed by the right people? Why don't you send a letter (anonymously of course since that's the way you operate) to the proper person (without the attitude, try something constructive) and copy the CEO? P.S. to "Foe Uped" - please refer to my above message since everyone knows you and "How Did That Happen" are the same person.