E A Small Cap Idea

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I think Ben Carson is wrong about how the Holocaust victims would have been able to save their lives had they only had guns. I never knew my mother’s parents, Abraham and Amalia Goldschmidt who raised Mom and her 4 sisters in Sterbfritz, a market village in Hessen where they remained after their daughters had fled to America in the late 1930s.

My grandparents were old but not wise: they had no idea how bad things would get after Hitler was democratically elected in 1933. My grandfather had served in the German Army as a conscript (like most German Jews) and knew how to use a gun. They lived in a village their family had inhabited for over 200 years. My Opa ran a business selling fertilizer, seeds, pesticides, and herbicides to local farmers.

In 1938, after my mother had already gone to America, my grandfather took his horse and cart to collect a debt (after the harvest had been brought in) at a village up the hill, called Vollmaerz. There he was attacked for being a Jew by the children of the village school led by their teacher. He was shocked but his reaction was to drive back home and forget about the debt.

Over a year later my grandparents were driven out of their house by their Huguenot neighbors, whose ancestors had settled there because of religious persecution in France. They were trying to out-Nazi the Nazis and turned on the local Jews. My grandparents were sent to an old age home in the Ghetto in Frankfurt by the local Burgermeister along with other Sterbfritz Jews.

My mother and her sisters communicated with their parents using a drop-box run by a relative in neutral Switzerland after World War II began. When my cousin Sandra was born (on July 4, 1943, a good date for a little American), her mother wrote to tell her parents. The letter came back: “Addressee Unknown.”

My grandparents and other residents of the old-age home had been deported in cattle cars from Frankfurt to Belarus where they were killed. I cannot imagine any respectable elderly Germans taking up guns to defend themselves against their Nazi neighbors at any stage in this process.

*It is hard to find little-known energy companies likely to gain from further upward movements in oil prices. But I think we have one, Computer Modelling Group, CMGBY from Calgary, also traded as CMG-Toronto. This company like others in the oil patch suffered from lower prices but its specialized business of modeling oil reservoirs and gas wells to extract the most is doing better than most. It managed to increase revenues and cash flow despite weak oil and gas prices in the past 12 months, mainly because its technology is in demand . It also has changed its billing system to get more business, mostly outside Canada and Latin America, where drilling has slowed down.

It has upped its licensing of software to model oil- and gas-fields, particularly its perpetual licenses, to build out its US and Eastern Hemisphere business to offset losses in Canada. Eastern hemisphere means Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

CMG has sales offices in Houston, London, Caracas, Dubai, Bogota, and Kuala Lumpur as well as in Calgary and sells to over 60 countries. Most buyers are in the hydrocarbon business but it also sells to analysts and drilling specialists and does contract research.

In Q1 FY 2016 (it uses a March 31 year end) it landed a $1.1 mn US perpetual license and another 9 digit one in the eastern hemisphere, both records.

Licenses account for about 90% of revenues. Perpetual licenses allow the client to get the current software package to use as long as it wants to and provide a less predictable revenue stream. Annuity or maintenance licenses which have to be renewed as the software is improved are the real cash cow, but the market is changing and in the June quarter, perpetuals accounted for 13% of software revenues, vs 8% for all of FY 2014. The licensing revenue can vary quite a bit from quarter to quarter since often the buyer is an oil major.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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