Saturday, April 28, 2012

Margarita fun time

I had my first Margarita on my first trip to the US. I think it was in Texas and my "cowboy" friend warned me if I got drunk and he will just throw me at the back of his truck. Found this article of how to make Margarita.
1. Siesta 2. Joey's Margarita 3. The Classic Margarita 4. Tommy's Margarita 5. Sangre de Cenobio 6. Breakfast Margarita

1. Siesta
A bright and fresh margarita variation for those who like things a little more tangy. The Campari and grapefruit juice round things out with just the right amount of bitterness.
1½ ounces blanco tequila
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
¼ ounce Campari
Orange twist
Shake liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
From Juilan Cox of Rivera, Los Angeles
2. Joey's Margarita
It is a little-known fact that green Chartreuse partners well with tequila. The French liqueur adds a beautiful je ne sais quoi to this cocktail while the egg white gives it a sophisticated, airy body. A grown-up's margarita.
2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce green Chartreuse
¼ ounce agave nectar
½ ounce egg white
Shake ingredients without ice to emulsify egg white. Add ice, shake again and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Salted rim and lime garnish are optional.
From Giuseppe González of Golden Cadillac, New York
3. The Classic Margarita
Ask five bartenders for their classic margarita and you'll get five slightly different recipes. That's OK. The margarita aims to please. Consider this recipe a base line. Too sweet? Use ¼ ounce more lime. Too tart? Add agave, ¼ ounce more orange liqueur or both. Too boozy? Delete a ¼ ounce tequila. (We find serving it on the rocks covers up slight imperfections.) A request: When you make a slam-dunk margarita, try it with no ice and no salt. You'll make the cocktail gods happy.
2 ounces tequila
¾ ounce orange liqueur
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¼ ounce agave nectar (optional)
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or over ice into a rocks glass. Salted rim and lime garnish are optional.
4. Tommy's Margarita
Julio Bermejo, the state of Jalisco, Mexico's "Ambassador of tequila to the United States" invented this drink 15, 16 or 17 years ago—"Things get blurry over the years," he said—because he didn't feel like saccharine triple sec was doing tequila justice. Instead, he swapped it for agave nectar to create a classic in its own right. Once you try this seminal margarita variation, you may never pick up another bottle of triple sec again.
2 ounces 100% agave tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce agave nectar syrup (1 part agave nectar to 1 part water)
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
From Julio Bermejo of Tommy's Mexican Restaurant, San Francisco
5. Sangre de Cenobio
This elegant margarita variation uses dessert wine (a Lacrima or Sauternes is recommended) instead of triple sec to give the drink a surprising, complex sweetness. The black lava salt is a nice theatrical touch and a nod to the volcanic soil where agave plants commonly flourish.
Black lava salt
2 ounces tequila
¾ ounce dessert wine
1 ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce agave nectar
Lime peel
Rim glass with black lava salt. Shake liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lime peel.
From Brian Means of Fifth Floor, San Francisco
6. Breakfast Margarita
A 'rita that's fresh and light enough to have instead of a bloody mary or a mimosa with breakfast.
1½ ounces blanco tequila
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce mango nectar
1 ounce fresh tangerine juice
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
¼ ounce ginger juice
Tangerine wedge
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a tangerine wedge.
From Nate Wales of La Condesa, Austin, Texas

---------The Margarita Experimentation Guide
It's simple: Use the classic recipe above, follow the tips below and say hello to your perfect margarita.
1. Choose Your Tequila
Look for 100% agave on the tequila label.
Key words to look for on the label: 100% agave. Anything else is for the spring break crowd.
Blanco This is how the drink is classically made, giving the margarita the bright, green, peppery freshness it's come to be known for. Generally, a highland tequila like Ocho Plata (40% ABV, $50) will give you more spicy, citrusy notes while a lowlands one like Partida Blanco (40% ABV, $50) will be crisper and fruitier. At around $20 a bottle, Espolón (40% ABV) is a steal.
Reposado This is a tequila aged for two to 11 months, which accounts for its slightly woody flavors. Siete Leguas (40% ABV, $43) has great balance between sweet agave notes and oak.
Añejo Some say using a tequila aged over a year is a waste in a cocktail, but if you like oakiness, go for it. Most can get pricey, but Milagro Añejo is a good option for a margarita (40% ABV, $33).
Mezcal Technically not a tequila, but still made from agave, mezcal is generally smokier and more savory. The fruit-forward, easy-sipping Del Maguey Vida (40% ABV, $34) is an approachable introduction to the spirit. Those seeking more spice and smoke should stock up on Sombra Mezcal (40% ABV, $32).
2. Pick an Orange Liqueur
An orange liqueur delivers the margarita's rich sweetness.
This is what delivers the margarita's rich sweetness. Don't make it an afterthought: Avoid generic-looking triple secs.
Cointreau Pure and clean, Cointreau is the top-shelf standard when it comes to margaritas (40% ABV, $40).
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Newly developed from an old recipe with the help of cocktail historian David Wondrich, this orange liqueur has pleasant Cognac-like elements and a nose of orange zest and blossoms (40% ABV, $26).
Combier This has become the choice of the craft bartender set as it offers a more subtle orange taste with a hint of bitterness (40% ABV, $40).
3. Stick to Fresh Lime Juice
Squeeze lime halves in a hand juicer.
We know, it's so much easier to use mixes. But none of them are going to beat freshly squeezed lime juice. To yield the most liquid, use room-temperature limes, gently roll them on the counter to loosen the pulp (but not too much or they'll turn bitter) and squeeze lime halves in a hand juicer such as this one from Chef'N ($20). Limes vary in tartness. If your margarita is too tart, try adding a bit of agave nectar to even things out.
4. Season It Right
The only rule: Don't use table salt. It tastes funny and the grains are too small. Other than that, be creative. Kosher salt is the standard and sea salt is a lighter option. Smoked salt works well with a mezcal margarita. Spice fans should add morita chili to their salt (a coffee grinder helps mix them evenly). The citrusy, spicy, salty Tajín, a Mexican fruit seasoning, works wonders too. has a wide selection of salts.

[illomarg] Jason Lee for The Wall Street Journal
How to Salt the Rim of a Glass: Step 1
1. Take a quarter out of an orange so that it resembles Pac-Man. Rub the outside edge of the glass on the orange pulp.

2. Roll the glass rim in a plate of salt—make sure there's a plentiful amount; it's just salt, after all—and try to keep the coverage even. Consider salting only half the rim. That way you'll have the option of sipping with salt or without.

3. If the salt is uneven, use a cocktail napkin to tidy up the rim. Make sure there's no salt on the inside of the glass. Stick the glass in the freezer. This will help the salt crystallize.


4. Enjoy your margarita masterpiece.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Outsiders



The Pros and Cons of Hiring Outsiders

AS an employee, you may feel at some point in your career that you aren’t being paid what you’re worth. If the feeling is acute enough, you may lobby for a promotion and a raise. But suppose that doesn’t work. Then maybe, you think, it’s time to apply elsewhere.

Employers, meanwhile, may feel that their talent base isn’t as strong as it could be. When an opening arises, they may receive some credible applications from inside the company. But what if they could do better? Maybe they should hire a star from the outside.
Such thought processes are common among workers and bosses, and a new study shows how they play out. The study, by Matthew Bidwell, an assistant management professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, found that external hires, on average, make around 18 percent more money than internal employees with similar positions. And yet they perform less well in the first two years and are also more likely to leave or be let go.
The findings may well stir indignation among internal employees passed over for jobs in favor of outsiders. The implications are worth considering as the economy improves, loosening hiring budgets and letting more employees seek greener pastures. They come amid a long-term trend of job mobility, with the idea of working for one employer for life seeming downright antiquated.
The rise of so-called knowledge workers has led to the myth of the completely portable employee, says Boris Groysberg, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and the author of “Chasing Stars.” Because these workers’ means of production is found between their ears, the logic goes, they will continue at the same level of performance if they move their brains to a new company.
To test that theory, Professor Groysberg studied some of the most ideal free agents he could imagine: Wall Street analysts. In some cases, just about all they had to do was clear off their desks and walk across the street to similar jobs. But he found that for most of the analysts, performance suffered significantly after they started a new job. They failed to account for all the institutional knowledge they had acquired at the old firm and would need to rebuild at the new one, he says.
After working somewhere for a while, you develop spheres of influence, says Beverly Kaye, founder and C.E.O. of Career Systems International, based in Scranton, Pa. You know who the power players are; you know the dos and don’ts. You know people’s “freaky buttons” — the odd things that can make them fly off the handle — and that new people are prone to press by accident.
Companies consistently underestimate how long it takes new hires to be effective in a job, especially when it comes to building relationships, Professor Bidwell observes. They need to understand that new jobs can come with a substantial learning curve, he says.
Of course, there can be much value in hiring externally. Outsiders can bring fresh skills and ideas, along with a healthy skepticism about long-held practices. But Professor Groysberg says employers need to be much more strategic about hiring so that the organization has the right mix of old and new.
As for employees, Ms. Kaye advises, “Don’t look to leave if the reason you’re leaving is financial only.” That is only one marker of a good job match — things like achieving the right fit for your unique skills are also important.
Managers need to be aware of valued employees who are “loose in the saddle,” says Ms. Kaye, co-author of a book called “Love ’Em or Lose ’Em.” A signal is that they aren’t participating as fully as they once were and may need a new challenge.
Even the consideration of other offers means that talented employees are taking their eye off of their company, she says. Then there’s the Pied Piper effect: if one person leaves, she says, others are more likely to follow.
INSTEAD of exit interviews, she recommends that managers conduct “stay” interviews — saying to valued employees: “Listen, I really want you to stay. What can I do to keep you?”
The first response will probably be “Give me a raise,” which is why managers are reluctant to have these conversations, Ms. Kaye says. But if they can’t deliver on a raise, they can say so and then ask, “What else is important to you?” Chances are, she says, that they can find something to give these employees, thereby re-energizing them and persuading them to stay.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bumi Armanda - The strongest off-shore service player but fully valued

Among all the offshore service players, Bumi Armanda has the strongest fundamentals.

It has four business units as you can see in this screen short.

A lot of abreviations here but we have no choice but to know a few of them.
FPSO(Floating Production, storage and offloading system).
OSV(Offshore vessel)
T&I(Transportation and installation).

Revenue Mix
Almost 80% of the revenue are coming outside Malaysia. This is what I like about them. They have proven themselves to compete internationally.

The financial snap shot.

The valuation is certainly rich. I do not intend justify the high valuation or high premium. I do not think it is justifiable to tag 22X PE to 2012 earning. If we were to compare to other regional players, 12 - 14 X are already considered very rich. At the current price, we are pricing in all the way into 2015. Despite of the stock is fully valued, I just want to highlight a few strong points so that it will be handy if the share price happens to come down to around RM 3 to RM 3.3/share.

Strong points:
1. Strong earning visibility. Bumi's order book stand at RM 7.6 billion with RM 3 billion extension option. Many of the contracts are long term in nature. They look busy in the next 3, 5 or 7 years ahead?

2. Strong liquidity -- free float of 55% will attract fund managers. On off contract announcements/news flow may spice up the share price??

3. I like their business strategy. It is crystal clear, isn't it?

4. Strong relationship with NOCs and Petronas especially. It is certainly not easy to navigate in emerging markets that full of uncertainty and political land mines but the risks are certainly equal or greater than opportunities. The reason? Malaysia politics is certainly one of the hardest to deal with as well. I'm pretty sure our pretty "screw up" business environment already given them a good training ground. ( I don't think I want to explain it too explicitly so that I don't get into trouble. Read in between the lines, okay???)

5. It may be too text bookish to say that they have strong management but based on what I read from their public reports, this company is certainly lead by very competent with strong international exposure management.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A study of Offshore Support Vessel Industry - Part II

I learned a lot by reading recent Bumi Armanda IPO exercise. I will extract some of the key points:

We are sitting in a nice spot because Malaysia and Indonesia plan to spend a considerable amount of capex from 2011-2015.

The capex will continue to climb for the next two years and expect to peak out in 2014.

Petronas is going to be the key driver in Malaysia as they are trying to spend more money in marginal oilfield and brownfield under the Economic Transformation Program(ETP). Petronas plans to spend about RM 60 billion in exploration and production activities. This is largely positive but most analysts would expect results can only be seen by the end of 2012 to mid 2013.

The following matrix shows the competitiveness of various players. A few of players are listed in our stock exchange.

Most of them are regional players except Bumi Armanda has been able to compete very effectively globally. One of the names that I did not see is Alam Maritim. Not sure why though because their revenue can easily surpass Tanjong Offshore.

Most of the Malaysian OSV operators are lucky because of Cabotage laws that prioritize the local players. That's why the rates was a lot better compared to international markets. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or bad because we are protected again. Anyway, I think it is too early to take about liberalization. The implication of liberalization or reform means consolidation that surely will spice up the market a bit hot with M&A rumors.

The industry utilization is improving, most should be operating around 80% now. Unless we have another round of full-fledged global great recession, we should see better prospects ahead. The only issue left is whether investment sentiment will improve towards these counters despite of more stable outlook.

The big picture seems to be okay that worth while to investigate further on the micro-level(stock picking).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A study of Offshore Support Vessel Industry ... Part 1

I need to make this clear before I write further. I made two statements recently:

1. China market is one of the cheapest in the world
2. Buying opportunities should emerge in 3 - 6 months

A 3rd statement of I'm going to study OSV industry will certainly make me look like a bimbo when the markets are hardly corrected - yet.

All the statements do not represent I want to jump into the market now. It's just that I'm getting to hunt but I have no idea when I'm going to pull the trigger.

The thing that prompting me to look into OSV segment is I'm keep hearing bad news of the industry is having over capacity and the charter rates are recovering from depressed level. If the crude oil price is to soften further by 10-20%, that is going to add more pressure to the sector. The share prices of many of OSV players are tanking everyday. It's one of the sectors that is hated by most now. I'm just sniffing around to see whether there are any mis-pricing stocks.

OSV market is a commodity market. The barrier of entry is low. All you do is raise funds, buy ships and rent it out. There may be some technical know how required but it is relatively easy to master if you are in this trade. ISL estimates about 500 vessels in SEA. It's a very fragmented market as well.

Over expansion in 2005 - 2008 cycle led to charter rates collapsed. In 2009, the charter rate was about US $ 2.20 - US 2.70 per bhp but it had a free fall to US $ 1.70 - US $ 1.75 per bhp. That was a 20-30% drop. At one point of time, the rates fell by almost 50-60%.

On top of that it is a very capital intensive industry and most of the players have a big sum of loan on their balance sheet.

Does that sound scary? Why the hell am I wanting to write something about this with such unfavorable conditions? I will come to that later.

For a start, let's try to understand the scope of OSV market. OSV market can be defined as vessels with anchor handling duties("AHTs") which are used for towing rigs and platforms onto location or platform support vessels("PSV") which are primarily use to supply to assiting platforms and assist with construction duties as well..

The drivers that can lead to revenue increase(beside raising capacity, better charter rates) are depending on

1. Global energy consumption
2. Seismic surveying activity(E&P)
3. Compulsory drilling requirements on old license blockage
4. # of rigs in the market
5. Depletion of existing fields

In short, it's all depends on exploration or production of crude oil activities, global economy health, crude oil price and demand and supply of vessels.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One of my all time favourite artists: Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko paintings are big. If you stand in front of his paintings, you will feel the connections right away, no need wordy descriptions or complex explanations/analysis.

In his words,

The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions.. the people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point.

Mark Rothko

This piece was painted before he died. He was found dead lying on the floor with slitted writs.

Sadness, doom and tragedy are gripping me when I stared at it.

I just can feel the intensity of battles within.

I felt the calmness and a sense of infinite liberation from all sources of conflicts.

I just like to look at the center of the painting ....... the bright burning whitish yellow that give me a sense of hope and serenity in an eternal world.

The horizon seems to be very far away and unreachable but you know in your heart it is closer than you think............

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The market is finally waking up

The US stock market indexes declined for almost 1% overnight realizing their expectations were too high. Word like real shock is finally surfacing on web pages. Was March job growth of 120 k marking the reversal of a trend? Most expect it to be around 200 k? People begin to question the last few months strong job numbers were just a temporary overshoot from extreme tightening conditions in 2008-2009?

The market participants are finally coming to their sense slowly but still in hang over mood begin to question topics such as:

1. Is job growth consistent with GDP growth?

What if, April job number coming is even smaller like less than 100 k or shocking 0?

2. Will profit growth stall?

Companies in S & P indexes derive 40% of their earnings from Europe and Asia Pacific. If Europeans are in recession and China is slowing down? Should we still expect high earnings growth? Are earnings peaking?

3. Should they sell in May and go away?

I begin to feel a little more excited as the buying opportunity should emerge in next 3 to 6 months. I hope I will be able to talk about my shopping list as we progress.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

China Real Estate Surplus Situation

The real estate housing construction in China has always been outpaced sales. Three years inventory seems to be a norm but now has inched up to 4. The good news is growth rate peaked two years ago.

I tilt my take more on soft landing rather than hard landing as its contribution to overall Chinese economy is still small 12% of GDP, continued demand for housing, strong holding power of retail investors and the most important of all, the Chinese government has taken many measures to shake out excesses slowly.

I believe the Chinese market is one of the cheapest now.............

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Turtle Portfolio Update - April 2012

Added another routine $ 888 saving to Turtle portfolio. Still no movement in my stocks.

I sleep well lately without have to worry many things like profit taking or cut loss. I am a lot happier these days because I finally have returned to who I am. The real me is a person who invest passively. I can now write when I feel like writing without constantly pressuring myself.

When I was a lot younger, I was very competitive. I want to win in everything I do. I believe I can achieve a lot of things if I set my mind on it. I will engrave the image of an objects that I want in my heart by internalize it by using NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Program) technique.

I will never show the weak side of me. However, there was this girl said something like this to me, it is not not a weakness that we admit that we are weak. Rather, it takes strength and courage to say that we are weak. I came across these phrases again recently

"The weakest thing in the world may overcome the strongest."


"The gentlest thing in the world
overcomes the hardest thing in the world."

I have lost touched with that person for almost 18 years now but I think what she said makes a lot of sense to me, especially if I apply it in the world of investing.