STHC - A Due Diligence Deep Dive
Ticker STHC (for now)
Editor's Note: The original Google Doc has very clear pictures of all documents mentioned. I recommend clicking the link at the bottom to access the drive and see the pictures for themselves. In transferring them to this website, the quality suffered. Thank you.)
(skip to *** if you don’t care why I am doing this nor the perspective in which I have approached most of my work thus far with)
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Though I have posted a couple of times on Reddit either as myself or through a friend, this is my first real crack at doing a more thorough, proper deep dive into a company.
I do this because I believe in this company and want to share what I have found with others.
While you can (obviously) rightly argue that I have a vested interest in convincing others to ‘hop on the train’ since I am already on and them doing such would only increase my gains — full disclosure, I hold about 900,000 shares at 0.024 (and I’m not a financial advisor) — I am convinced Ameca Mining, as currently expressed in the ticker STHC, is a company that, after doing more thorough vetting beyond the surface level ‘DD’ that is circulating StockTwits and Twitter, is not an OTC scam, but rather a company that gives you no reason to distrust it, as well as reason to have confidence that it will continue to do as they say. I am not here to offer a new valuation or something — they are out there and you’ve probably read them. I’m here to remind you of what you hold — it’s real, it isn’t fake — and to encourage you to not lose heart nor grow impatient, or maybe help open your mind to the possibility of initiating a position in this company if you haven’t already.
What prompted this initially was my own fear and concern that I had been played — played by Twitter pumpers — and more specifically, seeing a couple of Tweeters claim the ticker is a scam,
as shown in above tweets, most significantly George Sharp’s, given his bio. Let’s not pretend this isn’t a possibility: while not uniquely an OTC problem, the frequency in which scams occur on the OTC rather than the major exchanges is higher. I thought I had done enough digging prior to initiating the vast majority of my position to know it wasn’t, but taking a step back after it had taken so long for the discharge to go through in the Delaware courts, and recounting my personal experience with OPTI — I had bought in but sold at a loss becoming sketched by it after a friend told me what they had found after doing more thorough DD — I thought to double check myself and exit my position now that I was finally in the green after holding the majority of my position for four months. On top of that, as I took that step back, I thought more about the too-good-to-be-true claims the company makes and those who tweet about it regularly echo: ‘$4,000,000,000 in graphite! This is a multi-dollar stock!’ … yet it trades for less than a nickel. If this really is true, realistically, wouldn’t they have been scooped up by another company, conducted their listing in a more ‘orthodox’ way, or secured financing and stayed private? Surely this is too good to be true! Until this company is public, they can say whatever they want and have virtually zero direct penalty if caught lying, nor are they required to disclose anything that would substantiate their claims.
***(pick back up here if you decided to skip – the link immediately below is important)
Most important was the discovery of a document on the Sri Lankan Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (or “GSMB”) website (tipped off by ToastTurtle on Reddit — a huge shoutout!!!). Open the file on the page that opens when you click this and see if you find any mention of Ameca or any of its leadership on it. You won’t. This troubled me greatly and thus took the saying ‘Do your own DD’ that so many say but don’t actually do to heart and resolved to get to the bottom of this. This was the springboard to me investigating whether or not this company was legitimate or not — maybe it was just some Catfish-like scam. Relatively speaking, Sri Lanka is not well off financially, so why wouldn’t someone potentially try to scam people into a scheme that would get them some tendies off empty hype? Easy gains right there!!!
With that, I put on as critical a lens as possible and got to it. I emailed Mark Bolster, Michael Paterson, Norton Fernando, William Pfaffenberger, Chinthaka Kumara, Upendra Kannangara, Aruna Amarasekera to see if they could either fill me in on information that, ignorant of, would lead me to think they had been lying about their licenses, given they seemed to not be on GSMB’s 2019-2020 license list, but when informed of said potential information, show they indeed weren’t lying, or explain why they weren’t listed on it — perhaps there was a legitimate reason for the discrepancy.
No reply from them after 48 hours and I started to worry even more than I had been scammed. A company would typically respond to an inquiry, especially one of this nature, within that amount of time, I’d think.
Simultaneously, I decided to begin trying to verify from independent entities as to whether or not this company even exists. For some reason, I decided to focus on people with deeper roots in Sri Lanka. Maybe we are all being scammed by some guy who just wants to siphon funds to the developing country and get out of poverty. If I could establish that the company exists, then, I reasoned, there is less of a chance this is all the work of one mastermind pulling strings behind the scenes.
Chairman of the Board
First on the list was Norton Fernando. Has anyone else wondered if this is even a Sri Lankan name??? It sounds Spanish or something! Surely we are getting conned! Googling his name, you’ll find some of the words in his name on LinkedIn are actually honorary titles given to him from the government. That is good if true, but it could just as easily be made up, and doesn’t prove anything. Further, after delving into my search, I found a number of other Sri Lankans with similar names and became less skeptical of it being fake. I imagine people with these names may use them more in professional settings, especially if they interact with people from other countries a lot. I know it is common for Chinese people to take an English name and use it despite it not being a legal or given name.
I pulled up his LinkedIn and went through his most recent activity that was listed at the time — he had shared a few posts of someone looking for work or something of the sort and told them to contact him, leaving two email addresses. One was his ‘Ameca account’ (I put that in quotes because it isn’t actually — I got an immediate undeliverable notice reply from Microsoft when I emailed it; email@example.com) I assume he just made a typo or something since the one that is listed on Ameca’s website is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The one he had commented on LinkedIn omitted his last name. The second email he had commented is to what seemed to be a personal gmail account. I threw it in google and found that it is associated with a Pinterest account. Checking out the Pinterest page, you’d find his personal website listed. This website verifies Norton Fernando’s bio on Ameca’s website — a good sign, in my opinion.
I decided to comment on that post he has on LinkedIn, telling him the email@example.com was an invalid email address and that I had emailed him the other day, as well as other members of the Ameca team, inquiring into the discrepancy.
I browsed through his profile yet again for the n-teenth time and decided to see if the license he has listed on his profile, D/S/F0489, was included in the GSMB list — it isn’t — it’s from some social services entity if I remember correctly (you can check on the desktop version of his LinkedIn profile). Further, after googling the name of the credential to see if I can find out any information on it, I get nothing. The only hit is some white woman run yoga studio with one of the words in his credential as the name of their studio. Possibly Ameca’s license is under his name, not the company’s, so I search his name and find 8 Fernandos, but none of them are him, at least his name as written on his LinkedIn, Ameca’s website, and his personal website. Maybe a full Sri Lankan name, if he has one and indeed only uses Norton Fernando in international business contexts, is the one used on the spreadsheet though. I can’t verify this given my ignorance of whether or not he has a non-English sounding name.
I emailed the office of archives, alumni, and registrar at Manchester University to try to verify whether or not he actually attended the school but have yet to receive a reply from them.
I also contacted the Sri Lanka Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (“GSMB” in case you forgot), as well as the Sri Lanka Geological Society.
I initially emailed the GSMB but never received a reply. I called a couple of days later a number of times (their English was amazing, which is nice if you’ve been in Japan for three and a half years) and finally found out after speaking with about three people what specific department I needed to speak to. Upon being transferred, I finally got through to the appropriate director, but was hung up on nearly immediately. To be honest, I think my internet connection was poor at the time (I was calling via Skype), so there is a chance that whoever I was going to be speaking to could not tell that I was there. I tried calling back a few times but didn’t get beyond the automated reception for whatever reason. It was Friday evening (Japan time) and my wife got home shortly after I had tried calling back a few times and we shortly thereafter went out for dinner. I thought I’d try again after getting back home, but by the time we returned, it was past end of business Sri Lankan time. I’ve still not yet received any reply from the bureau, but I have not attempted further contact — we will get to why later.
I did receive a reply from someone associated with the geological society — and this was big — a lecturer (I assume professor?) in the geography department at the University of Colombo. Why I think this is big is because he is a professional not directly associated with Ameca but is connected to the industry in Sri Lanka. Acknowledgement of someone like this of the company’s existence would demonstrate to me that the company actually exists, and that is exactly what I got. Check out the screenshots of my email correspondence with him below. Being only a university lecturer, I am not surprised that he does not know of Ameca’s specific projects, as I do not imagine he would be out in the field much, if at all. This is merely my own conjecture though. Had the company been a fraud or not actually exist, I don’t think a lecturer at a university would lie, saying it did.
I finally heard back from Norton though. He replied to my original email six days after I had emailed the Ameca team initially. His response given explains why, and suggests what I and others have expressed is spot on: Ameca is busy at work behind the scenes and is keeping quiet in the meantime. Actions speak louder than words, right?
In the picture below, image 1, is my initial email to Ameca using the email addresses they have listed on their website. Image 1a, 1c, and 1d are my follow up addressed to the faulty ameca domain email address he listed in the LinkedIn post (a), his gmail account listed in the LinkedIn post (c), and the email address I found on another LinkedIn post that I did not comment on (if I remember correctly). Image 1b is the automatic reply I received to 1a. Image 2 is his reply to my email. Image 3 is a second email he sent separately. Images 3a-3i are the attachments he included in the email.
President: North American Division
Can confirm that Michael Paterson does valuations, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance for Beacon Advisors outside of his LinkedIn page. Click here for more information.
Atule can be verified from external sources as well, namely his personal website.
Senior Geologist North America
Despite not being listed in his bio on Ameca’s website, I was able to find Christian’s LinkedIn.
REMINDER: I am not a financial advisor and these are merely my own thoughts.
•Bureaucracy. I imagine bureaucracy has been a factor in causing the delays we have seen so far. This is not shocking, but nevertheless something to keep in mind, especially in a country like Sri Lanka. Living in Japan, while I still very much hate American bureaucracy, it is nothing compared to here. I’ve not been to Sri Lanka, but there is a chance it could be closer to Japan than America in this regard.
•Cultural differences. Living in Japan has made me understand how naive I was prior to leaving the States. I used to think of culture as shallow surface level differences between people groups, but being here for three and a half years, I have come to understand more just how deep ‘culture’ is. Cultural differences are not just things like ‘the Japanese bow instead of shaking hands’, but more along the lines of a view and interpretation of the reality. That to say, Sri Lanka may, in general, like Japan, do things that would be perceived by a typical American as being ‘cheap’ (I do not mean to come off as racist, I am just being honest), and on top of that, being a relatively small, modest company (that doesn’t mean undervalued at current share prices though!), decide to go about becoming public in an unorthodox way (on the OTC no less) such as the way in which they are as it may be better for them from their perspective.
•View of technology/the internet. Japan is not what you think it is. In many ways, I feel like I am still in 1970. While Twitter is pretty popular here and you can read random one-off articles online about how technologically savvy Japan is, by and large technology is not used as it is in the US, or, more simply put, the power of the internet and social media hasn’t really set in here yet overall (in my opinion). This very could well be the case in Sri Lanka, and I’d bet probably more so than Japan. That to say, they may not be too aware as to how Twitter is used by many companies in the US.
Based on this digging I’ve done, I conclude Ameca is a company that current or potential shareholders have no reason to distrust, anymore than they would any company, and are thus reliable to continue matching word with deed . After vetting them further, they have passed my test. Are my standards lower than yours? Maybe, maybe not — you decide.
The short of it: after having done this dig, worst case scenario — Ameca is exaggerating their holdings. I do not think they are an outright scam though. Best case scenario — and we have reason to side this way — we see some of those pps projections people have dropped in valuations realized in due time.
Feel free to contact me via the platform you got this through with any questions, comments, or issues to raise. I am pretty opened and would love to hear from you in general, especially regarding how I may be wrong!