Nicolas Sarkozy

Hedge funds in France have accelerated short interest in Ingenico SA (EPA:ING), named as Compagnie Industrielle et Financiere d’Ingenierie Ingenico SA in French. In the past few weeks several funds have increased their existing short positions, the most notable of these is Lone Pine Capital’s, which increased its short bet in Ingenico from 0.5 percent to 0.96 percent on March 11.

The $3 billion company provides secure transaction solutions for various businesses; the share value is down 5 percent in the past 30 days. For full list of hedge funds with short positions or information on their respective stakes, visit out page for Hedge Fund Short Positions In Europe. 

Other fund managers who increased short bets in Ingenico SA (EPA:ING) are Cadian Capital and Conatus Capital. Ingenico has been a short position of six hedge funds in total. The total disclosed short interest equals 5.2 percent of the company’s outstanding shares. Carlson Capital reduced its position to 0.3 percent in February.

Shortsellers’ favorite Peugeot SA (EPA:UG), French automobile company, is held by a string of hedge funds and asset managers. Marshall Wace increased its position slightly while Egerton Capital and Odey Asset Management pared their bets in Peugeot SA (EPA:UG).

Just recently Fitch downgraded Peugeot on account of negative outlook of operating income and a tough market environment, share price is up 19 percent YTD.

Europe’s hedge fund bigwig, Lansdowne Partners initiated a short position in a large French Gas and Engineering services company Air Liquide (EPA:AI) last week.  Air Liquide (EPA:AI) has a market cap of $38.8 billion and is not held by any other shortseller in our list.

Even with Lansdowne’s 0.61 percent bet, the position is worth $240 million. After experiencing lows in trading in mid-February, Air Liquide’s shares are back up, however YTD the appreciation in share price has been nearly flat. Lately the company has been involved in a number of acquisitions like, NordicInfu Care, Lentechgas, Gasmedi, LVL Medical, and Energas & Engweld, among others. As of 2009, Air Liquide is ranked 484 in the Fortune Global 500.

CQS UK initiated a new short position in Atos SA (EPA:ATO) with a short bet of 0.55 percent in the company’s shares, which was increased to 0.61 percent in March. Previously we have heard of Atos SA (EPA:ATO) only as a long holding of funds like, Permian Investment Partners and Bramshott Capital, both are relatively new in hedge fund business. Atos provides IT infrastructure to companies and has a market cap of $6.2 billion.

In other significant changes in short portfolios, Meditor Capital covered the major portion of its short bet in Ederned on March 6; The firm reduced its position to only 0.22 percent from 1.3 percent. Lansdowne Partners also reduced position from 0.51 to 0.46 percent on the same day.

BNP Paribas sliced its short bet in Altran Technologies SA (EPA:ALT) to half of its previous position; at the same time Exane SA took it up from 0.3 percent in Feb to 1.3 percent on March 1.