Substance over style

The CFO of a local company made a good point today during a panel discussion on the state of the capital markets: It’s the substance of a company’s story that matters to investors, more than style or charisma – especially in tough times.

Ryan VanWinkle, senior VP and CFO of NYSE-listed Ferrellgas Partners LP, was asked at the Kansas City chapter of Association for Corporate Growth to explain the company’s success in raising funds in both debt and equity markets in 2009.

“In the end it’s not any one person. If you have a good story to tell, it doesn’t matter who tells it,” VanWinkle said. For a good company with a track record and a good transaction, he said, “the capital markets are wide open.”

This is a change from late 2008, when even good companies couldn’t raise money, he said. And the day may come again when the doors all slam shut, so VanWinkle suggests that companies add some liquidity to protect against that contingency.

Just thought this was a worthwhile insight on investor relations: The reality of the story makes the difference, more than the marketing flair we show in telling it.

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