My web hosting service has got to be the same private enterprise contracted with to build healthcare.gov. (Ugh.)
I posted Thursday’s column at 1:22AM . . . and it was promptly delivered to those of us who get it automatically by email 19 hours later. For those of you who live nearby, it would have been faster for me to print it out and slip it under your door.
The hosting service is trying to figure it out why. And why my site was down for nearly a full day last month. And why WordPress operates so slowly on its server. Etc.
These are very 21st Century problems to have. It’s a gorgeous day outside, I have hot water, I have magic in my pocket, and someone seems to be bidding up shares in Borealis.
As I type — mid-day — the stock is $16.52 bid, $16.55 asked. I don’t know which I find more amazing: the fact that it’s jumped here from $12 in the last week (it was $3 for years and years and years when I first mocked it), or that the “spread” at this moment is just 3 cents — less than a fifth of one percent — where it was routinely 100 times as wide (e.g., $3 bid, $3.50 asked, which is a 16% spread) for so many years.
If I can mix fowl, I would advise that none of us crow before our chickens hatch. The stock could drop back to $12 — or $3 — the spread could widen — all that.
But this is probably a good time once again to review the big picture. There are 12 airlines now that want WheelTug systems on their planes — seven of them, “flag carriers” like KLM, Alitalia, and El Al — and because the system is estimated to save an airline many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year per plane, there is the possibility that all airlines will eventually want WheelTug, just as all TV purchasers now demand remote control.
Especially because the company’s model is to require essentially nothing of the airline upfront: only (or should I say “only”) half the savings.
None of which will amount to anything if WheelTug can’t get FAA certification, or if some even better solution emerges from left field. But it’s not unreasonable to think it eventually will get certified — surely (in my view) there is a 50% chance of that. And if there is some even better solution lurking out there somewhere, it had better not infringe on any of WheelTug’s patents, or I’m gonna call those personal injury guys who advertise on late night TV.
If things did go according to WheelTug’s plan, and WheelTug were eventually powering 10,000 aircraft, the profits would be in the many hundreds of millions of dollars a year. And that’s before any profit someday from other applications of the technology. Could it be useful in cars? And before any profit from any of the parent company’s other fancifully ground-breaking technologies, none of which may amount to anything . . . but that’s what most people assumed about WheelTug for a long time, too.
It’s easy to get carried away, but what I have long argued is that, given so much potential, this lottery ticket should command a much higher price. If I’m right that there’s a 50% chance none of this will fly . . . so don’t bet the farm! . . . but a 50% chance it really might . . . then how can the parent company not be worth $200 million (less than one times hoped for earnings)? Or, for that matter, $500 million? Which is to say — with the parent company divided into 5 million shares — $40 or $100 each. At those prices, I can see why someone might hesitate. And at those prices, I might begin to lighten up a little. (Though, at least as I see things now, just a little.) But at $16.50? Which is to say a market cap of less than $100 million — less than half what that beautiful Cezanne went for? Why?
So those of you who own some should perhaps not rush to sell — even though the stock could well drop back down, and there’s maybe a 50% chance we’ll never win this lottery. For those of you just tuning in now, here’s the video of WheelTug’s CEO presenting recently in Toulouse. If you do decide to hop on, please do so only with money you can truly afford to lose. Toulouse . . . to lose . . . what are we to make of the fact that they are homonyms? Cue the ominous music.
Oh, look at that: now it’s $17.20 bid, $17.60 asked. So the spread is wide-ish again. But it’s now up $2.10 so far today on 7,700 shares.
If nothing else, I’m having fun.
Have a great weekend.
Quote of the Day
This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.~Western Union internal memo, 1876
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