In the CC they admited being too slow in responding to the consequences of $30/ barrel oil and stated that this will not happen again. We now see that although diversified across many business segments, a slowdown can drag on many divisions at once.I sensed that Firestone is being a pain in the butt about EPDM roofing pricing. CSL simply got squeezed hard between severe pricing pressures and huge raw material increases. That rubber and energy related production costs were going to increase seemed to me pretty obvious, but I hoped for these costs to be passed along. They stated that in tire and wheel this is happening, but I sensed that Firestone is making it harder in roofing. Firestone has more than their share of worries.Tensilite is going gangbusters. Hinted strongly at 30%/ year growth, use in ultra high frequency apps such as cell phones a driver. Just got Nokia as a new customer.Admitted to fumbling the integration of the new businesses somewhat. This has beeen a real strength of CSL in the past and bears a close watch. But one has to admire management's forthrightness and candor. Next quarter sounds slow, maybe $.30-$.35??? and then as managements are always prone to do, an optimistic outlook for the latter half of the year. Roofing is a large portion of this company. One bright side of high oil prices is that standard built-up roofing costs, increase relatively, about four times that of rubber roofing. This should give a comparative competitive advantage to EPDM. I would think that reroofing projects have been put on hold with the hope that costs will go down, but these things can be delayed only so long. Who can guess what Firestone's thinking is in regards to pricing. Perhaps with all their other woes, CSL can pick up some assetts on the cheap. The trailer market is awful. I heard hints of divertitures? As with perishible cargo business, management will sell assets which drag upon their stated 15% goal. Hdlm, is the company's debt spiraling? This doesn't seem to be the case to me. They spoke of aquisitions in the works and said that D/E would remain about where it is, unless something suitably atractive came along. I thought I heard that these would be funded from cash flows. Anyone else hear this?I am impressed with the integrity of management and suggest anyone interested in this company to listen to the CC. The next three quarters will tell us anlot about the overall business model during times when the tide might go out. BWJ
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