Jim Chanos is famous for his active shortselling. Jim Chanos has had many great calls, so this is as good a time as any to take a look at the companies he is shorting in Europe. His hedge fund, Kynikos Associates, manages $6 billion, only $255 million are disclosed as public long positions in US. Chanos has repeatedly said he is bearish on Chinese companies across the board, so his major shorts could be concentrated in China. We are concentrating in Europe today, where Chanos has all his major positions in the UK, France and Sweden. Eurozone equity shorts from Chanos amount to $355 million. We take a look at them below:
Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO)
Kynikos Associates has a short position equal to 4.97 percent of Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO). The online grocery retailer has a market cap of $1.12 billion, so the short amounts to $55 million. Chanos disclosed the short to FSA on Nov 1, when he revealed a position of 3.56 percent. The short position has been increased throughout its holding period except for one instance when it was covered to 4.22 percent from 4.35 percent on Nov 21st. From Nov 1 to date, Ocado is up 95 percent on the London exchange with consistent appreciation in value and almost no dips. It appears Chanos and several others are for now losing in bets against Ocado. Since its IPO, Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) has yet to report a profit, however, the losses reported on Feb 7 were significantly less than what the analysts were expecting. Customer numbers are improving and a change in the top management has done some good for the company.
ASOS plc (LON:ASC)
Kynikos Associates has a 2.03 percent position in ASOS plc (LON:ACS), with a market cap of $3.38 billion, the bet is worth $68.6 million. Chanos began shorting the stock at 2.52 percent on Nov 1st, decreased it to 1.99 percent in intervals and then increased again. Since November 1st, ASOS has gained 21.43 percent. Subsidiaries of ASOS are involved in a number of sectors, like fashion retail, shipping facilities and sourcing fashion brands. Most of the retail business is carried out on the web. Asos is trading around 2,780 pence today.
To be clear, Jim Chanos is not bearish on online retail, as betting against Ocado and Asos might give the impression. Chanos has held a long position in Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) for some time now.
African Minerals Limited (LON:AMI)
Jim Chanos has 0.9 percent position in African Minerals, which amounts to $12.09 million. The company is involved in iron ore mining, a sector that Jim Chanos has said is in trouble. Jim Chanos has said that iron ore mining will soon decline as demand from the largest consumer, China, ontracts. Chanos is also bearish on Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG), an Australian miner. Iron ore is a frequently shorted sector with hedge funds, Greenlight Capital has short positions in unnamed iron ore companies. Another miner, London Mining Plc (LON:LOND) is also a short bet of a few hedge funds.
JM AB (STO:JM)
JM AB (STO:JM) is the largest short bet of Jim Chanos in Sweden. Jim Chanos’ hedge fund has a 3.44 percent position which is equal to $64 million. JM is a property and housing development company with a market cap of $1.87 billion. The company builds houses and develops property mostly in the Nordic region. On Feb 15th, JM touched highs in trading that it had not reached since 2011; volume also reached a high. JM has gained 26 percent since Nov 1.
SSAB AB (ST):SSAB-A) (STO:SSAB-A) develops steel products, Jim Chanos is also bearish on the Chinese steel sector . His position equals 2.4 percent of SSAB, which is a $60.5 million bet. A noteworthy point here is that Chanos bought a long stake in Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI) in Q2 of 2012. Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI) is involved in the building, repair and modification of steel tanks and other steel plate structures. He sold the entire stake in Q4. SSAB has gained 3 percent since Nov 1st and is down 13 percent YTD, it seems Chanos is soon going to make money off of this.
Kynikos disclosed a 0.69 percent position in Electrolux and reduced it to below 0.5 percent on Nov 16th. At 0.69 percent, the position was worth more than $50 million.
Gemalto NV (EPA:GTO)
Gemalto NV (EPA:GTO) is a frequently shorted French equity among hedge funds. Famous hedge funds with a short position in Gemalto include; Steve Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital and Lee Ainsile’s Maverick Capital. Chanos disclosed a short position equal to 0.61 percent of Gemalto’s O/S on Nov 21st, which would be worth $45.5 million. Gemalto makes a number of devices with microprocessors, like SIMs, identity cards, smart cards etc. Another tech company that has attracted short interest from Chanos is Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ). Chanos has said on many occasions that the PC companies are value traps. However, the same reasoning may not be applied to Gemalto as it is not a pure PC/Printer company. Gemalto’s share price has been flat since Chanos disclosed his short.