I remembered walking into a meeting room.
The air was tense. You’d feel something big was coming.
It was 8.34 am. I just made it before the meeting started. I stepped into one of Morgan Stanley’s meeting room and was greeted with a team of finely suited up army of bankers and management of Noble Group. One of the largest commodity companies in the world.
After exchanging name cards, I walked to the other side of the table — together with other fund managers — as if ready for a long discussion.
Questions were fired.
But the management replied every single one of them readily.
“We’ve turned positive profits this quarter, and we are set to have a great year ahead.” As I recalled one of the management replying to a fund manager.
I felt something amiss.
I studied the numbers. But it doesn’t add up. It was impossible for this commodity giant to sustainably record positive cash flow over the next few years at least. Yet the management, sitting in front of us, is telling us (investors) they are doing very well. It simply doesn’t make sense.
Now, the reason for the entire meeting was Noble Group was looking to borrow more debt (in the form of bonds). And it is reaching out to investment firms hoping that the company can raise money from them.
I needed to confirm my suspicion of the company. And I was convinced.
What came next taught me one very important lesson in my investing career.
In 2018, and shortly after the meeting was held. Noble Group defaulted on their bonds.
I was surprised, yet didn’t flinch when I read the news. Meeting management was important. You can tell whether they are being honest with you, or not.
And I learnt that, speaking and listening to them tells you a lot about a company. And based on the response given by the CEO, founder or a senior executive tells you a lot about the company. You can smell something is wrong sometimes.
Here’s something more important I like to share
I recently got invited to moderate at one of the biggest Singapore finance conference — REITs Symposium 2021 (click below to register and find out more). I’m stoked.
This is the largest gathering of Singapore REITs.
They have over 30 speakers, from S-REIT CEOs to top industry experts. And I’m excited to share the virtual stage with them.
You know, I’ve spoken at major seminars before, but this is the first time I’m invited as a moderator.
So I can’t wait to have some fun heh. Anyway, I strongly encourage you to register. It’s a rare opportunity to have some of the biggest Singapore REITs’ CEO and senior management present their companies to you.
What I like about this REIT Symposium is this. There will be live presentation by REITs’ CEOs, interviews with top financial bloggers and a private chat room to interact with some of the Singapore REIT management. Not only that, I’ll be moderating on the 22 May 2021. And here’s some of the speakers on both days:
15 May 2021: SREITs: What can investors expect now?
- David Kuo, The Smart Investor
- Dhruv Arora, Syfe
- Geoff Howie, Singapore Exchange
- Joy Wong, HSBC
22 May 2021: The Megatrends impacting S-REITS
- Chan Kum Kong, Singapore Exchange
- Chong Ser Jing, The Good Investor
- Kenny Loh, My Stocks Investing
And like attending Noble Group’s meeting, you can better understand who the real guys driving these REIT businesses. And learn from the industry experts as well.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity, I’ll see you there!
Always here for you,
Willie Keng, CFA
Founder, Dividend Titan
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