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Famed Short-Seller Jim Chanos’ Largest Short Positions

Holly LaFon

Holly LaFon

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Jim Chanos is a money manager and famed short-seller through his fund, Kynikos Associates LP, founded in 1985. Chanos’ name often appears in recounts of historical corporate fraud events such as Enron and WorldCom in the early 2000s as a major force for exposing wrongdoing due to his keen eye for business malfunction. The investor also has a running short portfolio of businesses whose stocks he believes will go down – as opposed to up, which their long investors are wishing for. Only his international short positions are available, and can they be viewed via Global Premium Membership.

The largest international short positions of Jim Chanos are: Ocado Group PLC (LSE:OCDO), J.M. AB (OSTO:JM) and ASOS PLC (LSE:ASC).

Ocado Group PLC (LSE:OCDO)

Chanos has a total net short position of 5.37% of Ocado Group’s outstanding shares. He began accumulating the position in December 2012.

Ocado is an online grocery store delivering food, beverages and household goods to internet shoppers in the UK. Founded in 2000 and taken public in 2010, the company has a $923.38 million market cap. Its shares have declined 10% since the IPO, but spiked 73% year to date, as Chanos built his short position. Shares trade for £1.5 per share on Monday.

On May 14, the date of Chanos’ last reported short purchase, shares jumped approximately 30% as the company confirmed that it was in agreement with William Morrison Supermarkets PLC to license its intellectual property to launch an online grocery business in the UK. The group also confirmed that the agreement did not include any discussion of acquiring all or part of Ocado.

Ocado announced its annual financial report on the same day. Results included a year-over-year revenue increase to £678.6 million from £598.3 million, and a loss for the period of £2.4 million, or 0.46 pence per share, compared to £0.5 million, compared to 0.10 pence per share.

The company’s cash store declined year over year to £89.6 million, from £92.1 million. Ocado’s P/B ratio of 4.52 is close to its one-year high.

J.M. AB (OSTO:JM)

Chanos is shorting a total of 2.87% of Swedish company J.M. AB as of his last reported trade on March 26, after beginning the short on Feb. 12, at 3.44% of its total shares outstanding.

J.M. is a housing and residential developer of the Nordic region, focused on expanding metropolitan areas and university towns in Sweden, Norway, Demark, Finland and Belgium. The company also emphasizes long-term quality and environmental considerations in its buildings.

With a SEK 12.03 billion market cap, J.M. shares have gained 15.4% over the last year. Year to date, they spiked almost 29% to SEK 149.50 on Monday afternoon, after falling to as low as SEK 108 per share in November.

According to its year-end 2012 report issued on Feb. 12, 2013, J.M. revenue increased year over year to SEK 13.13 billion from 12.22 billion, as operating profit decreased to SEK 1.4 billion from 1.54 billion, and its operating margin decreased to 10.6% from 12.6%. Its profit decline was due largely to an impairment loss on project property.

Its number of housing starts decreased to 3,163, compared to 3,629 in 2011, and the number of sold residential units declined to 2,952 from 3,112 in 2011.

ASOS PLC (LSE:ASC)

Chanos is shorting 1.92% of ASOS PLC’s outstanding shares as of his last reported transaction dated March 22, 2013. The size has shrunk since he began the position at 2.07% of his shares on Dec. 17, 2012.

ASOS is an online fashion and beauty retailer with sites geared toward the UK, U.S., France and Germany, and ships to over 190 countries from its distribution center located in the UK. It has a Monday share price of £32.12, after traveling up 95% over the past year.

For the three months ended Feb. 28, 2013, ASOS’s reported a 37% year-over-year increase in retail sales to £186 million, with UK performance up 28%, beating its expectations. For the year ended March 31, 2013, the company’s revenue increased to 494.96 million from 339.69 million in 2011. Profit before tax totaled £30.35 million, up from £15.71 million the previous year. Cash and cash equivalents plunged to £4.68 million, from £15.65 million the previous year.

See the rest of Jim Chanosinternational short positions here. Also, enjoy GuruFocus Global Membership here.


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