Nov 15, 2022Liked by Tony Maiorana

I don’t know. If sweet potatoes go on shortage... I would lose my mind. It’s my favorite food. Butternut squash just doesn’t do it for me.

Good article, it would be tough to have chemicals be a utility. I’m not sure I like that but it would be better if domestic, maybe? Interesting topic to think about.

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I wonder if the different growth incentives which exist in Germany will allow for a different tier of innovation/longer term growth. BASF is still doing a lot of specialty and new feedstock plays, both with renewables and with the synthesis of new monomers (i.e. VMOX acrylamide). They're able to command strong value for new small molecule products and control their introductions into select markets as they scale. My feeling is that they're able to do this because they have more freedom to grow long term without quick stock returns.

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They'll never be a utility for the very fact that if they could be made outside the country's borders for cheaper, they will be. So what's the point of the govt (or any entity, ie, company) doing it.

This was the direction we were heading in in the late 2000s - feedstock costs (nat gas) were going through the roof in the US/EU but was basically free in the Middle East (they were just flaring nat gas as part of oil production), so you could see US companies looking to unload the commodities bizs and shift to specialty (See: Dow, Eastman, DuPont, etc.). Fracking changed that equation.

But since the advent of the .coms in the 90s, stock valuations have changed. It's (almost) never about a quality stock that pays a solid dividend (aka, run for cash), but about how the stock price can grow. That's the only thing that matters these days - stock price growth.

DuPont is the #1 poster child for this. The CEO wasn't growing the stock price fast enough, so they were out, a new one brought in, and a couple of months later, they "merged" with Dow to "unlock" stock growth.

Problem is - as you've learned - new chemicals/materials don't show up and become game changers on Wall St.'s timeline. So every company/CEO is under the gun to "grow." If you don't, youre a "commodity" company and you suck...

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