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December 8, 2014

Uber has its fans and it has its detractors. But it turns out that being a fan of the free market is often not a basis for liking the ride brokering service.

January 23, 2009

Commodes are interesting.  Commodes are important for bankers.  If you are going to lead a large bank through a credit crisis, you probably want a good commode.  Some of the smartest guys on Wall Street like fancy commodes.  Here is a nice commode, an "English Breakfast Commode,' from 1772.  I am not sure if it helps you identify a bad loan.

November 21, 2008

Coachmen is selling its recreational vehicle business to Forest River.

The particulars of the deal are not yet available, but the sale has been reported in the Wall Street Journal today.

November 4, 2008

Fleetwood (FLE) is going to be removed from the New York Stock Exchange.  Its stock has traded at an average price that falls below $1.00 for the last thirty days.

Fleetwood has some options.  They have until next Tuesday to file a plan to cure the situation.

October 22, 2008

Don't look, but Fleetwood (FLE) is tottering.  The company's shares are trading for as low as 32 cents this morning.  Just one year ago, they were trading for $9.13.

July 2, 2008

This morning, CIT announced that it will sell off more than $2 billion in assets to an assortment of investors, including all of its manufactured housing portfolio.

CIT made an agreement with Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance to unload its manufactured-housing portfolio for $300 million. The portfolio has a book value of $470 million, so this is quite a discount. Today, CIT's shares are trading up.

This is an interesting deal. Warren Buffett is again proving that he is a contrarian, buying assets in a sector that others are fleeing. He has made money before by being right when popular opinion contradicted his assertions. Maybe this is that case, all over again.

Vanderbilt is one of Buffett's two big plays in manufactured housing finance. Berkshire Hathaway, through its Clayton subsidiary, also owns 21st Century Mortgage.

Buffett gets more than just the assets. He is also buying the servicing rights to the portfolio. Servicing has

May 28, 2008

Its not an impossibility that a recession could restore the manufactured housing sector.
Consumers often change their purchasing habits when times are tough. You know the logic -- less steak, more hamburger.

Today, we have evidence of some of that kind of thinking. Dollar Tree just blew away its earnings

May 23, 2008

Recent quarterly reports show that the financial performance among the producers of manufactured housing are behaving differently than site built home builders.  Cavalier and Cavco have both released their 8-Ks in the last month.

April 29, 2008

Listening to a conference call from UMH Properties (formerly United Mobile Homes) in Sept. 2007 is uncanny. "Next year at this time, affordable housing is going to be the number one political issue in this country," says UMH founder and President Eugene Landy. "People are not going to be able to get mortgages, they are not going to be able to buy homes. They are going to have to buy housing that they can afford.

Landy believes that manufactured housing stands to gain from these changes.  People still need housing, due to the expanding population.

"It is going to be a trend for our industry," he says. "The Federal Reserve numbers are that people are

April 2, 2008

Are you due some help from the federal government?

Not, I don't mean mortgage securitizers or bond traders.  I mean the tens of thousands of low to moderate income Americans living in mobile home parks that are being closed with frightening regularity.