Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GNBT: The Nasdaq Presentation May Have Created More Questions Than It Answered

Note:  This post is intended for VFC's Stock House only.  No repostings or reproductions are authorized. 

I'm not so certain that the presentation held by Generex at the Nasdaq on Wednesday should be referred to as a company presentation as much as it was an Antigen Express road show.

It should be telling that Oral-lyn, the supposed "flagship" product of the company, was not mentioned until twelve minutes into the presentation, long after Antigen Express and its lead product AE37 were identified as the "centerpiece" for Generex's strategic plan moving forward.

The lack of attention to Oral-lyn, the insistence on a reverse split that isn't to be voted on until June, and the casual comments about being prepared for future FDA trials, all have me believing that Generex just might be making plans for life without the "flagship" product that gets little mention at a major presentation on the Nasdaq.

If not an outright plan for life without the product, then it's possible that the company expects delays significant enough to where management feels news will not be enough to raise the share price high enough to warrant a listing on a major exchange.

After all, a share price high enough to meet minimum listing requirements on a major exchange would allow Generex to attract the institutional money that company officials claim would accompany the listing, although it should be noted - to be fair - that the institutional money never arrived in time to stave off a de-listing from the Nasdaq late last year.

It's possible that I'm making too much out of the general lack of interest in Oral-lyn at the presentation, but as if what I've already noted wasn't enough, the company officials had a noticeably more excited tone when speaking about Antigen Express than they did when discussing Oral-lyn.

Even Global Medical Direct received more enthusiasm than did the "flagship product."

With Oral-lyn not considered the centerpiece to the company's strategic plan ahead, where does AE-37 and Antigen Express come into play?

According to company officials (by the way, interim-CEO Mark Fletcher is now the permanent CEO), Generex will spin Antigen Express into a majority-owned subsidiary through an IPO and will "dividend" GNBT shareholders with ownership in the new company.

This action will raise some much-needed cash reserves, as will the planned rights offering and reverse split that shareholders will vote on this coming June.

For those that remember, the last reverse split that the company tried to implement was turned down by shareholders - more than once.

I was inclined to vote "yes" after some debate last time, but I'm now left to wonder - that if Oral-lyn is truly being phased out of the strategic plan, then wouldn't it make more sense to just purchase shares of the newly-publicly-traded Antigen Express when they become available? 

It's still way too early to cast a vote now for this reverse split, but it's something to think about.

After all, any positive news from the Oral-lyn front by June that would have it looking like an FDA approval was a possibility would most certainly have Generex trading for well over a buck and on its way to a major exchange, without a reverse split.

But I get the impression that the company is not counting on that.

Shares of GNBT were back in the mid-twenty cents range following the presentation on insignificant volume.  That tells me that the market was about as unimpressed with the call as I was, in terms of short term potential.

Over the long term, I think it's a wait-and-see game.  Generex has spun itself a reputation of loving the dramatic - there was no reason for this conference to take place at the Nasdaq - but unless there is dramatic news to be announced, the flair quickly fades.

Antigen Express may have the value that Generex is proclaiming it has, although some big partner money would go a lot further to validate that value than an un-named "independent valuation firm,"  but for now, GNBT remains as speculative as ever.

That said, the possible rewards still outweigh the risks, in my opinion; I have growing reservations about Oral-lyn, but I don't think it's completely dead-in-the-water, and those that wait around for AE-37 could be heavily rewarded.

Time to tune into the conference call.

Disclosure:  Long GNBT.

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