Rio Tinto AGM and Tracsis Results Webinar

I attended two webinars today. The first was the Rio Tinto (RIO) Annual General Meeting. This was a hybrid meeting run via the LUMI platform for on-line attendees (including on-line voting) although there were clearly a few shareholders in physical attendance. It was well organised.

There were good speeches from the Chairman and CEO who reported this was there third year with no fatalities – quite an achievement for a large mining company. This company is of course one of the largest mining companies in the world with a focus on copper, iron ore, nickel and lithium. There were record profits last year based on higher commodity prices and they paid out the biggest dividend ever of $16.8 billion.

It was stated that “respect for people and land is at the heart of our community” and there were multiple references to first nation people.

When it came to questions, one shareholder commented on the excessive length of the Annual Report (now 420 pages) which reinforces my comments in a previous blog post on this issue. He also requested that text be in b/w and not in multi-column format – to assist on-line reading no doubt. A good point.

Most of the questions were on environmental concerns about projects in Madagascar, Arizona, etc, so after 2 hours I switched to watching a webinar from Tracsis. There really needs to be some way to stop AGMs being dominated by environmental groups who are unable to keep their questions short and to the point. A time limit per question would be one way. And most of them would be better answered by written responses and by meetings with the CEO, for which they had apparently been given an opportunity.

The company is clearly paying a lot of attention to ESG issues anyway.

Tracsis (TRCS) is a rail technology company in which I hold a few shares. They reported interim results yesterday which were good – revenue up 31%, adjusted EBITDA up 14%, and dividend up. This was a PI World event which was well organised.

It was stated their objective is to increase recurring revenue which is something I always like in a business. There was discussion of the US rail market and the recent acquisition of Railcomm which gives them a good base from which to expand in what appears to be a very fragmented market for similar technology solutions. They are clearly intending to pursue M&A opportunities there.

I did not learn a great deal more but the CEO spoke fluently and the company clearly has growth ambitions. It was less impacted by the Covid pandemic than one might have expected last year when there was a significant reduction in rail passenger volumes and events were cancelled.

Roger Lawson (Twitter:  )

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