Short interest in European shares has surged to nearly $31 billion, up $3 billion from last month, according to new research from Novus Partners, a research and analytics provider to institutional investors.

February was the most “significant” jump in short EU stock interest since Novus has been tracking European short interest, according to Stanley Altshuller, Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer at Novus.  He attributed the rise partially to those complying with regulations put in place in 2012 but more significantly increased short positions across Europe.

Tiger Cubs and Chanos short Gemalto

Hedge Fund Novus Europe

Among the more interesting positions was a short in Gemalto, a European digital security.  The stock garnered shorts from known Tiger Cub disciples at Blue Ridge Capital, Lone Pine Capital and Maverick Capital, which all share a similar investment style, as well as garnering a short from Kynikos Associates.  Maverick Capital, run by Tiger Cub Lee Ainslie, had the largest short at $173 million, followed by Blue Ridge Capital’s John Griffin at $163 million and Lone Pine Capital Management’s Steve Mandel.  The “Tiger Cubs” are all protégés of hedge fund legend Julian Robertson, who closed down his fund in 2000 but continued to act as a mentor to many hedge funds, assisting them with trading and business strategy.  Kynikos Associates, founded by Jim Chanos, was short to the tune of $51 million in the stock, his only short

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Lansdowne largest short position in EU

Hedge funds with the largest short positions in Europe include Lansdowne Partners, AQR Capital Management, Marshall Wace and Odey Asset Management.  Lansdowne had near $4.8 billion in 30 short positions, by far the largest short seller. AQR had $1.7 billion short in 33 positions,Publicis Groupe S.A. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:PUBGY) (EPA:PUB) being the top short, a popular short position among hedge fund managers. Marshall Wace had $1.4 billion in 32 positions while Odey had $1.3 billion in 29 positions, most notably short Peugeot.

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Hedge Fund: Royal Imtech subject of most new shorts

The most significant short increase in February took place with Royal Imtech, garnering a new net short position of -$50,139,467 in the month, a short increase of 4.14%.  The firm was the subject of significant hedge fund shorting leading up to an accounting scandal and the short momentum is building once again.  Other notable increases in new short positions were Melia Hotels International SA, with a new short position of -$90,149,226 or 3.96% and Aberdeen Asset Management -$162,070,879 or 2.03%.

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The most covered names in February shorts were SolarWorld AG (ETR:SWVK) (OTCMKTS:SRWRD), Bonn, Kazakhmys plc (LON:KAZ) (OTCMKTS:KZMYY), African Minerals Limited (LON:AMI), TomTom NV (AMS:TOM2) (OTCMKTS:TMOAF), Ingenico SA (EPA:ING) (OTCMKTS:INGIY) and Outotec Oyj (HEL:OTE1V) (OTCMKTS:OUKPF).  Neste Oil Corporation (HEL:NES1V) (OTCMKTS:NTOIY) was covered by 4 managers in Feb, including BlackRock UK, Highbridge, Highline, and SAC.