Thursday, September 18, 2008

Conference Call Tips

Do get comfortable with the fact you will be talking in front of a group and receiving no visual cues or feedback.

Do use the right phone in a quiet, undisturbed room.

Don’t use cell phones or phones that pick up background noise. Calling from an open plan office is the equivalent of having a conversation in a nightclub. If you really can’t find a quiet room, use the mute button until you are required to speak.

Do learn to use the mute button and other phone technology to avoid a Homer Simpson style “Doh” moment. Your intelligent contributions mean nothing if no one can hear them.

Do set up the meeting in advance and communicate the dial in number, passcodes and other information. “Spring forward, fall back” is something to keep in mind for your timezone crossing colleagues. Don’t work out time differences on your fingers – check on the internet or even phone a colleague in that country and ask what time it is!

Do start the meeting absolutely on time; don’t reward latecomers’ bad behaviour by waiting for them. Take a role call at the start of the meeting, highlighting the missing attendees. Go on, get tough, people will love you for it!

Do treat the conference call as if it were a meeting. You know the routine; prepare and circulate an agenda, take notes ya-de-ya-de-ya.

Do get each caller to say hello and introduce themselves. Even though you may never meet in person, it’s a good relationship builder and gets the shyest of people to at least say their name.

Don’t assume everyone recognises your voice. Unless you are dis-respecting the boss and want to stay incognito, say your name before you speak. This is particularly important for the poor soul taking meeting notes.

Do make use of guest speakers. Invite a special or important guest and get them to say a few words at the beginning of the meeting. No one will know they slipped out after five minutes and you’ll get the benefit of undivided attention and best behaviour.

Don’t allow the topic to wander. Be an iron fist in a velvet glove – polite but firm if people talk too long or over each other. If your callers are at home sitting in their pyjamas nursing a hot chocolate, be considerate that all they want is to go to bed.

Do ask for input by using a person’s name. People will pay more attention to avoid the embarrassment of needing the question repeated.

Don’t shuffle papers; scrape chairs, pencil tap, hum or other distracting, noisy activities. It…….drives…………people…………mad!

Do close the meeting formally, thanking everybody for their time. That little bit of recognition will make them feel good about talking to you again.

Conference Call Etiquette – the do’s and don’t’s of multi-way phone conversations

Conference calls - the curse of every hard working manager. Love or hate them, with today's geographically dispersed teams and travel restrictions, conference call etiquette is a key part of any manager's skill set.

Here are 3 of my favorite transgressions of conference call etiquette...

• a barking dog drowning out the key discussion point was bad enough, but then owner started shouting at his pet

• a thirsty caller uses the hold button whilst slipping out to get a drink, unaware that hold music starts playing to everyone on the call

• a talkative colleague uses the mute button to moan about the call, stopping anyone answering the question just asked by the remote senior manager

Obviously I would discourage all these career limiting behaviours, so what are the do’s and don’ts of effective conference call etiquette?

Article IV Consultation with Chile, Conference Call

MS. LOTZE: Thank you very much. Good morning and welcome to this press conference call on the Article IV Consultation with Chile. I'm Conny Lotze of the External Relations Department, and I am joined in this call by Martin Mühleisen, the Mission Chief for Chile and Mr. Markus Rodlauer, Deputy Director of the Western Hemisphere Department. This call is on the record.

You have already had access under embargo to the documents and opening remarks through our Media Briefing Center. Mr. Mühleisen will make some opening remarks, which you should also have in English and Spanish. But to save a little time, he will only make his remarks in English and then we will open the floor to questions. The question and answer period will be interpreted into English and Spanish, so we are happy to take your questions in either English or Spanish.

MR. MÜHLEISEN: Thank you. Good morning. Buenos días. The staff report that you have seen reflects our assessment of economic developments and policies in Chile and in particular our discussions with the authorities during our visit in late May.

The global economic environment has changed since then, but we do not see Chile's strong economic position as being greatly affected. The recovery from the unexpected slowdown in the third quarter of last year remains broad based. And we believe growth will reach close to 6 percent in 2007 and remain around the potential rate of 5 percent next year.

Nevertheless, the risks to the outlook are now more on the down side, given uncertainties about the global financial system, the U.S. outlook, and investors' risk appetite, including for emerging markets. Twelve-month inflation is now projected to rise through the end of this year, reflecting exogenous shocks, including a jump in global food prices, unusually cold weather conditions in Chile, and disruptions in energy supply.

Given the strong growth momentum, with excess capacity in the economy gradually vanishing and unemployment at historically low levels, the Banco Centrale has appropriately raised interest rates in recent months. This should insure that inflation expectations remain well-anchored around the 3 percent target and that food and energy price shocks do not spill over into other sectors.

Looking ahead, with risks to the outlook more on the downside, the future monetary policy path will need to depend on economic and financial development in the coming months. The strong improvement in the government's financial position in recent years has allowed a moderate reduction in the target for the structural surplus rule. We support this reduction and commend the government for keeping overall spending increases consistent with macroeconomic stability, as well as for the efforts to maintain the high quality of public spending in Chile. Keeping a small positive surplus target is appropriate, as it will allow the build up of some reserves to address future liabilities such as in the context of the planned reform of the pension system.

Let me perhaps elaborate on the impact of the recent global financial turbulence. This impact has been relatively mild in Chile, both compared with most other countries in the region and also with Chile's own past experience. In our view, this is really a strong testimony to the very robust macroeconomic framework that Chile has built over the past two decades, with strong cushions against adverse shocks--a sound fiscal position, low public debt, and independent central bank, high international reserves, and a flexible exchange rate.

The past few weeks have also served to underscore how resilient Chile's financial markets have become in the face of global turbulence. Threats have widened relatively little. The exchange rate has been fairly stable, and in line with fundamentals. And the interbank market has continued to function in a normal way. This resilience reflects a healthy banking system and strong corporate balance sheets, again the result of Chile's excellent economic policy framework. Therefore, assuming no further major unexpected shocks or a global downturn, we believe that growth and employment in Chile will remain relatively strong, benefiting also from Chile's diversified export structure and continued brisk commodity demand.

Let me close with a brief discussion of structural reform. Chile is already an example for structural policies in many areas, resulting in an enviable record of growth and considerable success in reducing poverty. Planned reforms of the pension and education systems will further strengthen the foundations for long-term growth while also addressing key social concerns.

Likewise, we welcome the creation of the President's Commission on Labor Market Issues and Social Equity, as we see scope for improving labor market flexibility and also reducing labor informality. Last but not least, we remain impressed by the speed with which the financial sector in Chile has developed. Past reforms have already created a vibrant market that is increasingly integrated with the rest of the world. Planned reforms, such as the liberalization of investment rules for pension funds, should further enhance the effectiveness of markets, raise returns to pensioners and savers, and provide improved access to financing for entrepreneurs, large and small.

I should probably also mention that what you're now seeing in terms of the documents, the staff report and accompanying selected issues paper have been provided to the Board for the discussion of the Article IV Consultation back in July. The outcome of that discussion was contained in the PIN, in the Public Information Notice, that has already been published on the IMF's Web site, but now we are releasing the report. And these reports are somewhat shorter than in recent years, because we have done what the Fund called a streamlined consultation, which means that we have used somewhat fewer resources than in the past because of the absence of any systemic issues in Chile and the continued excellent performance of the Chilean economy.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. The studies say that the financial institutions remain vulnerable to external shocks. In the actual outlook, do you know what is the real exposure of, for example, pension funds and other investment funds from Chile to the credit crisis?

MR. MÜHLEISEN: In our view, the Chilean pension funds and other financial institutions have low exposure to the type of risks that we have read about in recent weeks, including the subprime market in the U.S. Exposures are generally well managed, and, as you know, subject to limits on investments that limit these portfolios to high quality paper and a limited amount of investment abroad.

QUESTIONER: I wondered if you can confirm your CPI forecast please for us for both 2007 and 2008? And also, if I could ask you if you consider revising those forecasts in the light of rising inflation since the you made your visit in May?

MR. MÜHLEISEN: Yes, we will revise our forecast for inflation. We have fed in the price forecasts that are part of our world economic outlook, especially for food components and energy. And this will yield a year-end 2007 inflation forecast that is broadly in line with that of the central bank, contained in its monetary policy report, of around 5½ percent.

And then for next year, we envisage that the energy and food price shocks will partly unwind and that inflation will return to the 3-percent target of the central bank by the end of next year.

QUESTIONER [interpreted]: Regarding the effect on the exchange rate of the international crisis, what are the possibilities of having the Chilean export sector resisting this shock?

MR. MÜHLEISEN: Well, we came to the judgment in our report that the exchange rate is valued broadly in line with fundamentals, and that assessment hasn't changed during the recent period of market turmoil. I already mentioned that Chile was only mildly affected.

While we have seen some appreciation against the U.S. dollar, the multilateral exchange rate for Chile has hardly moved. And in that context, we have no reason to doubt the outcome of the research that we have conducted in our background paper, namely that the exchange rate has not affected exports to any significant degree.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Do you agree with other studies released by other institutions as, for example, the Cato Institute, that say that Chile needs to implement new reforms, for example, in the tax system?

MR. MÜHLEISEN: I think in general the Chilean tax system is characterized by a relatively low level of revenues relative to GDP compared to other countries. It is a relatively efficient tax system because it relies to a large extent on the value added tax. And while there's always room to fine-tune, I think broadly the Chilean tax system has been very successful.

In last year's report, we had some discussion about the gap between a marginal tax rate for corporate and individuals, and that may be a focus for tax reform going forward. But again, overall, the low level of taxation in Chile is something that has been very efficient from an economic perspective.

QUESTIONER [interpreted]: It's a follow-up question. What are the main challenges you think the Chilean economy faces given all the good things you have been saying about Chilean economy management?

MR. MÜHLEISEN: In our report, we mention that Chile has rightly set its sights towards catching up in terms of income and living standards with industrialized countries. And in that context, the greatest priority is to increase the human capital, employability and education levels of Chilean workers, which will help further diversify Chile's production structure away from commodity and close-to-commodity products toward a more diversified economic base.

In that sense, we agree with the government priorities about setting out further reforms in this area, while at the same time ensuring that social needs of the population are addressed and that a large share of the Chilean population enjoys the benefits of stronger growth going forward. And we welcome the progress achieved in reducing absolute poverty in Chile and support the government's effort in eliminating the remaining pockets in the years going forward.

The planned pension reform will go a long way, in our view, especially towards addressing old-age poverty and, in addition to that, we also think that reforms in the financial sector will be very important to integrate Chile further into a global capital market, and to increase the returns to Chilean savers and lower the financing costs for Chilean entrepreneurs.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Are you already working with Chilean authorities to implement a contingent claims analysis to evaluate bank risk?

MR. MÜHLEISEN: Yes. If you look in the financial stability report of the central bank earlier this year, you will find a chapter on this topic that has been co-authored by IMF staff.

And we also carry in our background paper an application of the contingent claims analysis to the Chilean financial sector. That paper is only available as a summary so far, but we hope to publish it soon in the coming months as a working paper on the IMF Web site.

The summary is contained in the background paper, and we found that the Chilean financial sector is in a very good position and it seems very robust to external shocks.

QUESTIONER [interpreted]: Regarding the interest rate, we would like to know if you believe that the monetary policy of the Chilean government is--regarding an increase in the interest rate will be consistent--what consequences will it have vis-à-vis the differences with the United States and if you believe that this interest rate is consistent with the inflation prospects?

MR. MÜHLEISEN: Well, monetary policy in Chile is set according to Chilean economic conditions. And in that respect, we noted in the report that, back in May, there was a case for raising interest rates, which the Bank has done over the following couple of monetary policy meetings.

Now in recent weeks, the situation has in so far changed as the downside risks to growth have increased with the global financial turbulence and the slowdown in the United States. And while we do not think that the slowdown in the U.S. will have a major impact on the Chilean economy, the distribution of risk is now different, and the central bank has changed the bias in their last meeting to neutral.

With this strong growth momentum in the economy, it was important to anchor inflation expectations at the bank's 3-percent target. This has been achieved, and, with that, the outlook for monetary policy will depend on development in economic and financial markets over the next coming weeks and months.

MS. LOTZE: Thank you very much. We will close the press conference call at this point.

Article 9 conference calls for spread of pacifism in Asia

CHIBA — The spirit of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution should not only be protected but also extended to other Asian countries, panelists at a symposium said Monday.

On the second day of the three-day Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War held at the Makuhari Messe convention hall in Chiba, a number of symposiums, meetings and performances were held to voice support for Article 9.

At a symposium titled "Realizing the Spirit of Article 9 in Asia: On the basis of historical recognition and the realignment of the U.S. forces," panelists agreed that the pacifist Constitution has aided and will continue to contribute to the prosperity of Japan and the surrounding region.

Gus Miclat, executive director of the Philippine-based advocacy and solidarity group Initiatives for International Dialogue, said Japan's wartime imperialism and propaganda held back the nation's development.

It was only after Japan espoused pacifism following the end of World War II that the country prospered and became the world's second-largest economy, he said.

Article 9 "may have been the secret engine" for Japan's prosperity, as it has spread a sense of security in the Asian region and "allowed Japan to develop and prosper in peace," Miclat said.

He added that Article 9 is "a historical breakthrough . . . incarnating the necessity of the human race and revolving (around) human harmony and peace. . . . In fact, Article 9 should be replicated all over the world."

Another panelist, Ban Zhong Yi, a film director and journalist from China, also voiced the importance of Article 9, saying that it needs to be protected with support among Japanese as well as neighboring Asian countries.

He said he would like to spread the spirit of Article 9 to China.

"However, before I do that, I think what needs to be done is to make a supportive environment, which is to make a steady ground where they can share the same ideas," he said.

Conference Call

Many businesses have long used the services of a conference call company to spread their message to the investment community, where investment professionals could hear many firms in several days. To accomodate those who couldn't travel, the conference call allowed hundreds of analysts to hear a presentation and ask questions in real time.

But access was usually restricted and often involved long-distance toll charges. Occasionally a friendly broker would loan you his access codes, some of which found their way to the Internet. As a result, conferences could be swamped.

The Internet now provides a much more practical venue for the conference call. With its low cost and ability to accomodate many listeners it is now practical to open a conference call to almost anyone (at least to listen). And an increasing number of firms now do.

For example, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal related how companies do this as an efficient way to control the irresponsible babble on the Internet. People posting idle chatter now attract accurate responces from others who have heard the actual story on a conference call. As a result, the irresponsible postings are controlled.

Companies like the ability to make one public statement, and then be free from goverment limitations on how investment information must be released. And individual investors like it too, as access to this information gets them access to information that once only slowly reached the average investor.

Using the Internet has many advantages besides the instantaneous international release that results. It is possible to save the audio files so that the conference call can be accessed later at a more convenient time. Plus it's possible to edit out meaningless portions of each conference. Naturally, there are some limitations.

If everyone could ask a question, real brawls could result as the conferences became uncontrolled. So most Internet systems limit who can ask a question. An outstanding advantage for the average investor is to witness directly a firm's management in action. While the information might be the same, an investor gains confidence in management that presents a virtuoso performane over one that is defensive, hesitant, and obfuscative. The details aside, the speed of responce and other items that don't get incorporated in an analyst's report can add a lot to one's understanding.

Previously, a small investor's only such access might have been at a company's annual meeting. Several firms have opened to provide investment-related conference-call services in one form or another over the Internet. Some require membership and user fees, but the trend seems to be toward company funding of the low cost service, and free or very low cost access by the public.

Expect that more and more firms will use the services of a conference call company to dissiminate their information to a wider section of the population including investors and employees. You should encourage firms that you are interested in to do so. This form of communication is yet another form of ultimate corporate democracy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

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King Pharmaceuticals Provides Updated Replay Information for Conference Call Regarding Proposed Acquisition of Alpharma

Friday, August 22, 2008 4:47 PM
Symbols: KG

King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE:KG) today held a conference call at 10:00 AM ET to discuss its proposal to acquire Alpharma Inc. (NYSE:ALO) for $33.00 per share in cash.

Playback of the conference call and the webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on August 29, 2008. The replay can be accessed by dialing 888-346-3949 or 404-260-5385 (toll/international), conference number: 20080818183818, PIN: 182778123. Accompanying slides and the conference call webcast will also be available at

About King Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

King, headquartered in Bristol, Tennessee, is a vertically integrated branded pharmaceutical company. King, an S&P 500 Index company, seeks to capitalize on opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry through the development, including through in-licensing arrangements and acquisitions, of novel branded prescription pharmaceutical products and technologies that complement the Company’s focus in specialty-driven markets, particularly neuroscience, hospital and acute care. King strives to be a leader and partner of choice in bringing innovative, clinically-differentiated medicines and technologies to market.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”). King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“King”) disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward- looking statements, and claims the protection of the Safe Harbor for forward- looking statements contained in the Act. All statements contained in this document that are not clearly historical in nature or that necessarily depend on future events are forward- looking, and the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “estimate,” “plan,” and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations, but actual results may differ materially due to various factors such as King’s ability to achieve the synergies and value creation contemplated by the proposed transaction; King’s ability to promptly and effectively integrate the businesses of Alpharma Inc.