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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Nov. 21, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 45 (download PDF version)


Page 7 Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
 

BRUNSWICK GUIDES EMBATTLED SINO-FOREST

Sino-Forest Corporation, the Chinese forestry company under investigation by Canadian securities regulators, is relying on Brunswick Group in New York and China for PR support as it works to refute a scathing analyst’s report and satisfy concerns about its financials.

After an analyst from Muddy Waters Research accused the company in June of “aggressively committing fraud,” trading of its shares was halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange pending an investigation as the report questioned its claimed forest reserves and revenues.

Sino-Forest released the findings of an independent report on Nov. 15 which it says verifies assets and revenues called into question.

“We can categorically say Sino-Forest is not the ‘near total fraud’ and ‘Ponzi scheme’ as alleged by Muddy Waters,” said CEO Judson Martin.

In the Muddy Waters report, which preceded a significant drop and suspension of trading in S-F shares as well as the resignation of its CFO, short-selling analyst Carson Block wrote: “As Bernard Madoff reminds us, when an established institution commits fraud, the fraud can become stratospheric in size. Sino-Forest Corp. is such an established institution fraud, becoming massive due to its early start, luck and deft navigation.”

In a statement following Sino-Forest’s release of the independent report’s findings on Tuesday, Block said the “release has no credibility.”

Brunswick partner Stanislas Neve in New York and Tim Payne in Hong Kong handle Sino-Forest.

The Wall Street Journal said S-F “came out fighting” with the release of the report this week, fighting both the charges against the company and a “wave of accusations against Chinese companies by short-sellers.”

The New York Times noted the independent report was unable to verify some company data and statements at the heart of the case.

The Ontario Securities Commission has not commented on its investigation.

BACKOVER PILOTS AMERICAN AIRLINES’ PR

American Airlines has upped Andy Backover, managing director of corporate communications, to the VP slot that Roger Frizzell held until he exited in October.

Backover
Backover

The five-year AA veteran takes command of media relations, social media, customer/internal communications, CSR and publishing.

At AA, Backover handled communications for the approval/launch of joint ventures with British Airways, Iberia and Japan Airlines.

He also directed the growth of American’s Facebook and Twitter activities.

Before entering the airline business, Backover was director of corporate media relations at AT&T.

He worked for 13 years as a journalist at USA Today, Denver Post and Fort Worth Star- Telegram.

Weber Shandwick does PR for the Fort Worth-based carrier.

NETZERO DIALS UP BROADBAND PR SEARCH

United Online’s NetZero unit, which launched in 1998 as a provider of free dial-up Internet access, is looking for a PR firm to support the launch of a mobile broadband service slated for early 2012.

CEO Mark Goldston announced Nov. 2 a five-year deal to market 4G wireless service via a partnership with Clearwire.

“Having revolutionized the dial-up market more than a decade ago, our goal is to bring the same level of innovation and competitive advantage to the 4G high-speed mobile broadband market,” he said at that time.

Clearwater’s 4G network is currently available in more than 70 cities with a combined population in the 130M range.

NetZero has promoted its brand via the “Defenders of the Free World” ad campaign and National Basketball Assn. sponsorship of “NetZero at the Half.”

Woodland Hill, CA-based United Online was formed in 2001 with the merger of NetZero and Juno.

It acquired FTD Group, floral business, in 2008.

KEMPNER HOSTS BIDEN

MWW CEO Michael Kempner, a powerbroker in New Jersey Democratic politics, hosted Joe Biden at a fund-raiser held at his home in Cresskill on Nov. 15.

Money raised from the $10K per-couple tab went to the Obama Victory Fund. The vice president traveled to Jersey following a labor rally at a firehouse in Euclid, Ohio.

Kempner, a “bundler” for the Obama campaign, hosted President Obama at a similar event in October 2010.

A ticket to the Obama event went for $30,400 per-person.

CRENSHAW ADDS DUKEN DIET

Diet Coaching Inc. has selected Crenshaw Communications following a competitive pitch to support the U.S. growth of its high protein and low fat diet created more than 35 years ago by French medical doctor Pierre Dukan.

Dukan
Dukan

Crenshaw is to help the Dukan Diet become a household name in the U.S. and help overcome comparisons to the Atkins, according to its RFP. Dukan ranks as the No. 1 diet in France.

The New York-based shop, which is helmed by Dorothy Crenshaw, is to differentiate the Dukan brand by playing up features such as its highly-personalized online daily coaching help.

It will target the weightloss, fitness and health communities.

Nicolas Holleville, managing director of Dukan Diet's U.S. arm, expects Crenshaw to “help us build on our early success.”

 
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