Belgium, like several other members of Eurozone faces a budget deficit that it needs to fill. However the gap is not as dire as other euro economies, the target is to reach 2.46 percent of GDP. On March 3oth, Belgium's government agreed on a deal that will attempt to raise 1 billion euros in order to reduce overall debt by selling government owned assets. Some worthy candidates for the selloff are Belgacom SA (EBR:BELG) and BNP Paribas SA (EPA:BNP)(PINK: BNPQY).
Approximately 3.5 percent of Belgacom SA (EBR:BELG), a former state owned telecom operator in Belgium, is held by the government. The possible sale of Belgacom could raise 230 million euros. The sale of government stake in Belgacom could spike higher buying activity and in turn appreciation in share price which could hurt two shortsellers who are currently betting against the telecom operator. Both AKO Capital and Marshall Wace have increased their short positions to 1 and 0.6 percent of Belgacom as of mid-March. Belgacom's shares closed up 1.3 percent on March 28. Get the full list of short disclosures in Belgian equities here.
Belgium's state owns more than 10 percent of BNP Paribas SA (EPA:BNP)(PINK: BNPQY) which can possibly raise about 5 billion euros. The government has not confirmed which assets it will offload yet.
Short interest in ThromboGenics NV (EBR:THR) (FRA:TG4) has spiked in the past few weeks, four funds have disclosed a short bet in the biopharmaceutical company. Adage Capital and Perceptive Advisors hold the largest short positions. ThromboGenics is down 10 percent for the year. Recently, JETREA was approved as treatment for vitreomacular traction by the EU. JETREA was also launched in the US in January which marked a major milestone for the drug maker.
Another shorting favourite in Belgium has been Delhaize Group (NYSE:DEG) (EBR:DELB) (FRA:DHZ) where short interest has been kept steady since our last update, except for a few changes. Maverick Capital has reduced its short slightly from 2.5 percent to 2 percent of the food retail company.