David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital is sitting on some great returns from one of its short bets in Europe. The hedge fund holds a 1.64% short against Outotec Oyj (HEL:OTE1V) which amounted to $41 million at the end of September and is now valued at $29.4 million.
Short interest in Outotec Oyj (HEL:OTE1V), a Finland-based company which provides processing solutions to the mineral and mining industry is up to 8.5% of outstanding shares. Other than Greenlight, Maverick Capital, Carlson Capital, Dialectic Capital and Marshall Wace have also bet against Outotec.
Einhorn wins on Outotec
Research from Novus Partners shows that Outotec was one of the best-performing shorts in Q4; in their estimate hedge funds made roughly $90 million on their combined bets against the company. Novus, a firm that provides innovative investment solutions to hedge funds and allocators, highlighted the rising short interest in Outotec in their European Short Observer for 2Q2013 as well. The company is exposed to headwinds in the mining industry and given the recent underperformance of the sector as a whole, it was only matter of time before Outotec suffered a major fall.
It is important to mention here that Outotec turning out to be a good short play is a recent development – until mid-October the company did not bring substantial profits to its shortsellers. Outotec’s recent troubles started as the company disclosed its plan to cut jobs and slashed its revenue estimates for FY2013. Due to slow payouts from projects and cancellation of one deal, the company lowered its estimate for annual sales from EUR 2.1-2.3 billion to EUR 1.9-2.1 billion on October 17.
SEB Equity Research rates Outotec as a Hold. In their recent analyst note, SEB cut its EPS estimates for FY2014-15 in light of the short-term weakness in the market. While their report mentions near-term problems due to weaker demand, SEB remains bullish on Outotec in the long term.
Alcatel Lucent’s yearlong rally
On the other hand, the worst-performing short continues to be Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU), which has packed up even more gains on top of its yearlong rally. Shares of Alcatel Lucent, which manufactures voice and data equipment, are up 211% YTD. Meanwhile short interest in the company is up to 4% of outstanding shares, with six managers holding active short positions. Novus Partners estimates that with Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU)’s massive gains, these hedge funds have lost $135 million on bets against Alcatel Lucent in Q4. In their earlier quarterly publication, Novus noted that even though Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU) had not posted a profit in several years, the company enjoyed a good year as it signed deals with other tech companies and followed its restructuring plan.
Citi expects Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU)’s operating margins to expand to 9% in 2016, up from 1.5% in 2013. Their recent report rated the stock at Buy. Citi said that the company was focusing on its core strengths and has set its priorities which include a focus on the ultra-boradband market. Citi also thinks that Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU) has competitive advantage in LTE, Routing, and 100G Optical which will play a key role in improving profitability.
Most participated short
Ingenico SA (EPA:ING), a French company which provides secure payment solutions, saw short interest rise from 10.6% at the end of Q3 to 13.5% this quarter. According to figures from Novus, Ingenico was the most participated name among short disclosures, as four more shortsellers jumped in, up from eight managers at the end of Q3. Some of the famous shortsellers include a bunch of Tiger Cubs; Tiger Consumer, Coatue Management, Lone Pine Capital and Hoplite Capital, all of which have bearish bets on the company. Farallon Capial and Cadian Capital are also betting against Ingenico.
Through the year, Ingenico SA (EPA:ING) has proved a fruitless bet for shortsellers as shares gained 35%. Morgan Stanley issued a bullish note on Ingenico going into 2014. The analysts agree with the company’s own estimate of achieving double-digit growth. Ingenico SA (EPA:ING) is also set to launch bundled offerings or its hardware customers which will make it a one-stop shop and thus recruit more brand loyalty. The company is set to double market share in the U.S. and increase its standing in China as well, so all in all there is not much reason to short it.