by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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Amsterdam Site For IRTA Europe International Barter Conference
The International Reciprocal Trade Association’s
Europe Chapter of trade exchanges and E-Banc Trade in The
Netherlands has announced the dates March 24 - 26 for the spring
conference. Following up on the successful theme of the past IRTA
World Congress, held last September at Disney World in Florida, the
attendees will be “Reaching For The Stars: Uniting People and
Standards In A Cashless Trading World.”
The European Conference will be held at the Hotel
Haarlem Zuid. Social events are scheduled as well as an opportunity
to tour Amsterdam, one of the world’s great cities. For additional
information contact IRTA Executive Director Krista Vardabash at
(585) 424-2940, or see
Trade Exchange Owners...
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Would You Like To Make 2006 Your Greatest Year Ever?
“I believe Bartercard is now in excellent
shape to realise its considerable potential to grow internationally and to
generate excellent value for shareholders.”
—Wayne Sharpe, Executive Chairman
On December 7, 2005, Chairman Wayne Sharpe provided
some insight and figures on Bartercard’s first interim results as a
publicly-traded company. For the six months ending 30 September
2005, Bartercard had a turnover (gross revenues) of
$27,811,038 with a profit before taxes of $556,493.
Sharpe’s letter reported, “All of the company’s major
subsidiaries performed ahead of forecasts during the period and the
largest, Bartercard UK and Bartercard Australia, were consistently
profitable, with a new national trading record being set in the UK
“In all company owned and licensed operations 6,700
new members were acquired globally, with trade volume over $1.25
billion, and ten new offices opened taking the total to 130.
“Bartercard also took ownership and management
control of the licence and operation in the United Arab Emirates.
This will become the hub office for further expansion in the Middle
East and Gulf region, such as the Qatar office which has commenced
“In September, a contract was signed to re-acquire
the majority interest of Bartercard USA. We believe that there is
considerable potential in these territories and expect that there
will be a meaningful contribution from them in the second half of
the financial year.”
It was also
announced that Bartercard Thailand was awarded 2005 Licensee of the
Year. (Bartercard is one of the world’s largest trade exchanges; WIR
in Switzerland is the other.)
New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!
You can obtain
useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue
Financier Soros Looks Into Crystal Ball
One of the world’s most successful financiers is
George Soros, who, in addition to running several successful hedge
funds, also sponsors major philanthropic efforts under the umbrella
of The Soros Foundations which operates in 22 countries spending
hundreds-of-millions of dollars annually to drum up democratic
support in countries around the world.
The well-known analyst recently spoke at an event
organized by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
Here’s a quick look at some of his musings:
1) The U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates
too quickly and set them too high, which will bring the mighty
American housing market to its knees...and the economy with it.
2) In 2007 expect a U.S. recession, as the Fed spends
all of 2006 raising rates to fend off inflation. “They can’t stop
raising interest rates until the economy shows signs of a slowdown.”
3) China could come to rival U.S. in terms of
economic status if it establishes the democratic reforms necessary
for significant economic growth.
4) Europe is growing
relatively well but a “hard landing” in the U.S. will be associated
with a decline in the dollar, which would hurt the European economy.
Bond-Guru Bill Gross Barters For Rare Stamp
According to Forbes magazine, Bill Gross is
among America’s richest 400, with a net worth of $1.1 billion. The
61-year-old financier is Pimco’s chief investment officer and earns
a $40 million annual salary.
In The Wall Street Journal, a recent article
(December 29, 2005) reported that Gross did a rather unusual
simultaneous barter with some of his assets by trading a block of
four rare 1918 stamps for another very unique stamp, an 1868 Z-grill
depicting Benjamin Franklin.
Reportedly, Gross had bought his block of four
stamps, which depicted an upside-down biplane, only two weeks before
the $2.97 million trade. The Z-grill, which was owned by Donald
Sundman, president of Mystic Stamp Co., had been purchased in 1998
for $935,800 as an investment. The stamp’s value had since climbed
to nearly $3 million with the trade.
The bartered swap would never have come about without
a trade component, because Sundman wanted to avoid taxes on the
large profits that would accrue from a sale. Therefore, a barter
transaction was structured to comply with the 1031 rules for
“like-kind” trades of similar assets. Such a strategy allows
participants to defer capital-gains taxes when they replace business
or investment assets with similar property of equal or greater
For years, investors have used 1031 exchanges
primarily for real estate. But as people grew familiar with the
tactic they began diversifying into a wider variety of investments
assets, as did Bill Gross.
Other types of
properties being exchanged today include art, collectibles, private
jets, classic cars, yachts, copyrights, and race horses
barter company in the world is listed on our web site,
click through to our Global List
of Barter Companies.
Banks Eye Real Estate Ownership
In the U.S., national banking laws generally bar
banks from owning and developing commercial real estate unless the
buildings are predominantly occupied by employees doing bank
Although banks have historically been excluded from
all but the financing end of real estate, they are trying to enter
other aspects such as developing projects and competing in the
housing market. (Regulators, wary of a high concentration of bank
portfolio loans in the volatile commercial real estate market, fear
a sudden economic downturn could impair bank capital.)
But recently the Comptroller of the Currency, a unit
of the Treasury Department that regulates national banks,
incrementally broadened its interpretation of permissible
development activities. In postings on its Web site, it approved
major real estate projects by two banks that go beyond the scope of
typical bank real estate development.
The two major banks
(PNC Financial Services Group of Pittsburgh and Bank of America of
Charlotte) received the green light from regulators to develop and
own large hotel and office properties, potentially opening the door
wider for banks desiring to enter the commercial real estate
business beyond their traditional role as lenders.
Further Info On Howard Stern Story...
On any good barter transaction both party’s are
winners. And the story we reported recently about Howard Stern’s
trade with Sirius Satellite Radio was an example of an exceptional
We didn’t fully elaborate on what the total benefits
to Sirius were, but they were significant. Consider that when the
contract with Stern was signed fourteen months ago in October 2004
Sirius had only 600,000 subscribers, and was expecting to have
slightly more than two million by the end of 2005 and 3.5 million by
the end of 2006.
Instead, Sirius presently has 3.3 million subscribers
and anticipates having six million by year end 2006. Additionally,
since the contract was signed Sirius’ stock price has more than
doubled, creating $5 billion of new shareholder value! (During the
same period, the stock of its competitor, XM Satellite Radio
Holdings, has been roughly flat.)
Clearly, the “Stern
factor” has paid off in spades for both barter parties!
A Gift To A Friend Or Associate. If you know someone
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for the forwarding service.)
- Microsoft Corp. is considering a
form of barter as a way to draw more users to its search engine business.
Essentially the plan is to provide some free content or software to individuals
who use its MSN Search site. Microsoft could then entice more advertisers to buy
ads on its online services. MSN Search handled 12% of U.S. search queries in
September while Google, the largest search engine, handled 45% of U.S. search
- CEOs from large U.S. companies
are confident moving into 2006...87% of them expect their sales to increase over
the next six months, and over half (56%) said they will raise company capital
- A Paris-based research
organization, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said
its leading indicator of economic activity rose in November for the sixth
straight month, signaling that moderate growth lies ahead in 30 of the world’s
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Overstock.com travel has added thousands of
privately owned ski-area rental homes in additional to hotel lodgings, the
listings are all in the Western U.S. and Canada and include most top resorts.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive
Thomas Donohue is urging corporate executives to stop issuing quarterly-earnings
guidance, and instead focus on communicating longer-term indicators of their
Donohue says short-term focus prevents
executives and directors from investing in their businesses at the same time
that our global competitors are making long-term investments in their companies
and their economies. He also noted that any executive who tries to twist himself
into knots to meet a quarterly guidance expectation is making a serious,
long-term mistake because of accounting rules and investor lawsuits.
- The Census Bureau says U.S. population is now
286.4 million, having grown by 2.8 million between July 1, 2004, and July 1,
2005. Nevada was the country’s fastest-growing state for the 19th-consecutive
year, increasing its population by 3.5%, followed by Arizona and Idaho.
California is the most populous
state with 36.1 million people, followed by Texas (22.9 million) and New York
(19.3 million). More people live in the South (36%) than any other region. The
West comprises 23%, the Midwest 22%, and the Northeast 18%.
- Five years ago media giant Clear Channel
Communications paid $3 billion for Live Nation, the concert-promotion entity.
Recently spun off from Clear Channel, the new company is valued at $715 million,
or 76% less than the acquisition price. (Clear Channel expects to reap
significant tax write-off benefits from the capital loss incurred.)