Flotek’s Data ‘Made Up’ Or ‘Rigged’: Bronte Capital

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Flotek shares tumbled today in early trading after John Hempton of Bronte Capital published a blog post saying that the firm’s data just doesn’t work and “looks like it was made up or at least systemically rigged.” Shares of Flotek skidded by as much as 12.98% to $15.75 per share in heavy trading with 5.47 million shares changing hands as of 11:52 a.m. Eastern. The average daily volume is 1.17 million shares.

Flotek is the same company Praesidium Investment Management said it went activist on in September, and Hempton’s thesis appears to have shredded the firm’s entire thesis on Flotek.

Flotek a “really gonzo story”

Bronte Capital’s blog post starts out with a disclaimer: “Warning: this is a really gonzo story.”

The post goes on to say that they tested out Flotek’s iPad app, which has been its main marketing tool for some time. Further, Hempton said they can’t tell whether all of the company is “suspect” but that the math is “as non-sensical [sic] as anything we have seen on Wall Street.” Further, Hempton compared the company to Universal Travel Group, which has been delisted. The main executives of the firm settled on civil fraud charges.

Flotek highlights iPad app

Flotek management has been keen to show off their company’s execution in the midst of a slow time for their particular market. The firm supplies equipment and chemicals to the Energy sector, which is undergoing a bit of a crisis right now as commodities prices remain low.

The iPad app in question is FracMax, and Flotek CEO John Chisholm has hyped up the app repeatedly. In less than two months, the company gave five investor presentations in which the app featured prominently. FracMax was designed to show off the performance of Flotek’s nano-fluids, and Chisholm has placed almost all their success on it.

We will spare you all the math here. If you want to see Hempton’s complete analysis of Flotek, click here. But put simply, the numbers Bronte Capital found while using the supposedly praiseworthy app just don’t match up. They put in various chemicals and API numbers and checked them against those given by the Texas Railroad Commission and the RRC.

Flotek targeted by Praesidium

Bronte’s criticism of Flotek stands in stark contrast to the view of Praesidium Investment Management. In September, the firm announced that it had a 5.2% stake in the company. Praesidium said it saw potential in the nano-fluids and the FracMax app Flotek has been touting heavily and that it aims to create a software arm inside the company to maximize the potential of the app Hempton seems to have just annihilated.

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