Monday, July 22, 2013

IBC Advanced Alloys (IAALF) Stuck in Penny Territory With Beryllium

IBC Advanced Alloys (IAALF / IB.V) has struggled for years.  You'd think their beryllium alloys would be in high demand for the coming explosive growth in the markets for drones and micromachines.  Alas, those markets can't come fast enough.  The management team has a diverse enough background to find some use for beryllium-laden things, although a few of their personnel selections seem odd.  A retired Marine general may know something about procurement needs for beryllium-aluminum mounts on airframes but that's no guarantee of contract awards.

They've made an effort to commercialize a nuclear fuel technology since 2009.  Reading the MD&A report for 3rd quarter FY2013 reveals that this is a part-time effort of one person.  That MD&A report also mentions that they suspended their mineral exploration efforts.  I take this to mean that they will not become a vertically integrated mine-to-metal enterprise since they don't have any geologists in management.

The company has been losing money since 2001 and the recent fall in the price of copper hurt the market for their copper alloys.  Their financial statement for Q3 2013 (dated March 31) shows cash on hand of $US2.2M and a burn rate of $330K/month, so they would have survived another seven months from that date.  They were fortunate enough to raise $2M in a PPO so someone must want them to stick around.   Recall from their MD&A that raised capital is committed to sustaining their corporate headquarters because of loan covenants governing cash already committed to manufacturing.  It's also noteworthy that their retained earnings are negative $36M, with no remedy in sight.

This company is not the right investment for my portfolio.  I prefer a company that doesn't have to go begging to keep the lights on at headquarters.  They have an uphill climb against larger competitors like Materion (MTRN).

Full disclosure:  No position in IBC Advanced Alloys, or other companies mentioned, at this time.