Short-selling in Marine Harvest tops USD490 Mn

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There’s been no shortage of negative assessments of Marine Harvest. Yet, despite the recommendations of many tone-setting brokerages, the stock has grown 20 percent — along with low quarterly dividends — since the beginning of April.

Heavyweight international investors have positioned themselves for a share-price fall after the salmon price decline that developed through the summer and autumn.

Four billion
The Norwegian Financial Authority’s (Finanstilsynet) short-sale register reveals 25.8 million Marine Harvest shares worth exactly 4 billion kroner (USD 492 million). Just under 5.3 percent of outstanding shares in the aquaculture giant are sold short.

Short-selling is a strategy whereby an investor “borrows” stock from a broker to sell in the market until prices fall. When they do, an investor aiming to profit on the price drop will buy them back on the open market and return them to the brokerage.

This “shorting” is led by European Asset Management, which has been negative on the stock all year. The fund manager is sitting on a 8.2-million-share position and, in all probability, a loss on paper.

After European, its New York hedge fund, Greenlight Capital with its 7.1 million shares ahead of another hedge fond, Maverick Capital, of Dallas.

Speculating on a fall
Thunderbird partners, a portfolio manager in London, is also skeptical about the pricing of Marine Harvest, and is in with just over 3 million in short shares. Millennium International Management, another New York hedge fund, is satisfied with 2.5 million short-sold shares.