Atlantic Sapphire accused of pumping up share price ahead of private placement

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Sharp rise in stock price before raising equity.

On the 20th May, Johan Andreassen, CEO of Atlantic Sapphire, stated that on Twitter: “In my 20 years in the industry, I have never seen a stronger outlook for high salmon prices than now. Buckle up!”

This comment was picked by the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv’s stock exchange commentator, Thor Chr. Jensen, who expected an immediate share issue. “Is this the same dude that’s about to go to the market to pick up equity?” he retweeted in reply.

USD 121 million
Two weeks later and the USD 121 million share issue was confirmed.

Daytrader Svend Egil Larsen believes the company has pumped up its share price.

“They have been good at pumping up the price, before a share issue that we really knew would come. It’s impressive that they spent ten days pumping up the price,” Larsen told E24.

In the last ten days, Atlantic Sapphire’s share price has risen 24 per-cent on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Atlantic Sapphire CFO Karl Øystein Øyehaug did not wish to comment on the allegation that the price was pumped up before Thursday’s share issue notice.

“Unfortunately, as a representative of a listed company, I can never comment on my own share price,” Øyehaug wrote in an e-mail to E24.

Double
The company hired the investment bank Arctic Securities, as well as Bank of America and DNB Markets as facilitators in the share issue. All these have BUY recommendations on Atlantic Sapphire.

The most positive analyst is Bank of America’s Alexander Jones. He believes that the stock will more than double to NOK 200.

Daytrader Svend Egil Larsen, for his part, has “shorted” Atlantic Sapphire stock, which means that he has sold shares he did not own to speculate on a price fall.

But it wasn’t a success.

“I had to sign up for the share issue to cover the short,” Larsen said.