Bubbles and troubles in Hong Kong
24th September 2015
As readers may recall, last year, Lerado Group (Holding) Co Ltd (Lerado, 1225) announced the proposed sale of its core business of baby strollers and infant car seats to Canadian listed firm Dorel Industries Inc (Dorel) for HK$930m. Lerado was planning to squat on most of the cash proceeds and only pay out $0.30 per share, or $228m. For this reason, we opposed the sale, because of concern that Lerado would become a cash shell trading at a discount to its net asset value. Your editor, David Webb, is a disclosed substantial shareholder currently holding over 8%. However, the sale was approved by shareholders on 16-Sep-2014 and completed on 31-Oct-2014.
Our concerns have now proven justified, culminating in current egregious proposals not just by Lerado but by other listed companies. We hope to stop them, if the regulators will require certain parties to play fairer. This article is long and complicated, and we thought about breaking it into pieces, but the picture becomes clearer if you assemble the whole jigsaw, so here it is. Apart from Lerado, this article covers transactions by numerous other listed companies in which you may have an interest, and several billion US dollars of bubbles. Continue reading
Hao Wen, Capital VC and Unity
24th September 2015
Browsing through documents for a much longer forthcoming story, we came across two highly questionable acquisitions that link together 3 listed companies: Hao Wen Holdings Ltd (Hao Wen, 8019) and two Chapter 21 investment companies, Capital VC Ltd (Capital VC, 2324) and Unity Investments Holdings Ltd (Unity, 0913) that we have warned investors about in the past. Continue reading
Daewoo E&C fined W2 bil. for accounting fraud
24 September 2015
By Kim Jae-won
The securities regulator said Thursday that it fined Daewoo E&C 2 billion for allegedly committing accounting fraud by not reflecting expected losses worth more than 1 trillion won in its financial statements. Continue reading
Here’s why one hedge fund manager thinks Alibaba could be a big fraud
SEPTEMBER 18, 2015, 5:42 PM EDT
Compared to Amazon and UPS’s figures, Alibaba’s numbers don’t add up, he says.
Alibaba has already had a terrible first year since its IPO: Its shares are down 28%. But one well-known hedge fund manager has a suspicion that, if true, could potentially destroy Alibaba’s stock completely.
In a post on his blog this week, Bronte Capital hedge fund manager John Hempton laid out reasons why the Chinese e-commerce company’s delivery figures seemed fishy. The possibility that Alibaba BABA -1.36% might be a fraud, he wrote, “is a thesis worth testing”—and plans to gather evidence, and potentially short the stock, depending on what he finds. Continue reading
Can we trust Alibaba’s numbers? Auditor has never faced U.S. regulatory scrutiny; PwC Hong Kong signed only Alibaba audit, but China forbids U.S. from inspecting that firm
15 September 2015
PwC Hong Kong signed only Alibaba audit, but China forbids U.S. from inspecting that firm
Barron’s spent a lot of time analyzing the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. numbers and strongly questioning the stock’s future, even though those numbers have never been verified by an independent third party fully vetted by U.S. regulators. Continue reading
Alibaba Objects, but We Stand By Our Cover Story
The Internet giant says our article “contains factual inaccuracies and selective use of information.”
Sept. 19, 2015 12:22 a.m. ET
Alibaba Group Holding sent a letter to Barron’s objecting to our cover story of Sept. 14, “Alibaba: Why It Could Fall 50% Further.” The letter, printed in full below, maintains that the story “contains factual inaccuracies and selective use of information.” After thoroughly reviewing the letter, Barron’s stands by the story, with the exception of one error. Our discussion of that error appears at the end of the letter. Continue reading
Auditor of Morgan Stanley-backed Chinese company resigns
18 September 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — The auditor of a major Chinese chemical company that was the subject of an Associated Press investigation and is backed by Morgan Stanley
has resigned amid accounting concerns, further damaging the prospects of Morgan Stanley
‘s largest investment by its Asian private equity arm. Continue reading
Stock manipulation: GR Cables
16 September 2015
Why is the loss-making GR Cables generating such humungous gains and displaying extreme volatility? GR Cables supposedly manufactures telecom cables. In its annual report for FY13-14, the management states that, due to non-availability of sufficient working capital facilities, it was unable to execute any business. They further mention that they are exploring various options to raise the required funds through additional equity and debt. In FY13-14, GR Cables reported revenue of just Rs4.78 lakh and a net loss of Rs30.01 lakh. In FY14-15, the Rs2-crore market-cap company reported negligible sales and a net loss of Rs27.88 lakh. It has reported a net loss in each of the past 18 quarters. Yet, over a period of about 18 months, the stock rallied 305% to Rs0.77 on 8 September 2015, from Rs0.19 on 26 February 2014. Over this period, on most occasions, there have been just one or two trades a day. Much of the gain came between 6 April 2015 and 1 June 2015. In this two-month period, the stock shot up 197%, from Re0.31 to Re0.92. By the end of June 2015, the stock declined 27%, to Rs0.67, before rallying again. Why is a loss-making company generating such humungous gains and displaying extreme volatility? Will the regulators investigate?
United Spirits Falls on Inquiry Over Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines
16 September 2015
shares traded down for a second consecutive session, falling as much as 1.6 per cent against 0.8 per cent gain in the broader markets on Wednesday. Traders attributed the selling in United Spirits – India’s biggest liquor company- to the ongoing investigation in former group firm Kingfisher Airlines
over alleged diversion of funds.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office or SFIO is probing alleged mismanagement of over Rs 8,000 crore of funds since 2005, when liquor baron Vijay Mallya‘s UB Group-controlled Kingfisher Airlines and United Spirits, according to media reports. Continue reading
Pressure to show a profit led to Toshiba’s accounting scandal
BY KAZUAKI NAGATA
SEP 18, 2015
Manufacturing giant Toshiba Corp.’s president and seven other directors were forced to resign when an investigation revealed in July that the firm had doctored the books and had padded its profits over the past seven years to the tune of hundreds of billions of yen. The case is one of Japan’s biggest corporate scandals in years. The 140-year-old company is set to make a fresh start on Sept. 30 when it holds an emergency shareholder meeting to approve a new management team. But what was going on with Toshiba and why was it inflating its profits? Here are some questions and answers about Toshiba’s accounting problems. Continue reading