In December 2016, Muddy Waters’ Carson Block said China’s largest dairy farm operator, Hong-Kong listed China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., is “worth close to zero” and questioned its profitability in a report. Today, with no catalyst, it suddenly almost is. The stock collapsed over 90% in minutes to a record low.
The sudden crash wiped out about $4.2 billion in market value in the stock, which is a member of the MSCI China Index.
In December, Muddy Waters alleged that Huishan had been overstating its spending on its cow farms by as much as 1.6 billion yuan to “support the company’s income statement.” The report also alleged that the company made an unannounced transfer of a subsidiary that owned at least four cow farms to an undisclosed related party and Muddy Waters concluded that Chairman Yang Kai controls the subsidiary and farms. Those findings came from several months of research including visits to 35 farms and five production facilities, drone flyovers of Huishan sites and interviews with alfalfa suppliers, according to the report. Muddy Waters said it has shorted Huishan’s stock.
“It will be even harder for Huishan to get funded in the capital market after the report, amid a couple of earlier allegations that have raised some red flags to investors,” said Robin Yuen, an analyst at RHB OSK Securities Hong Kong Ltd. Still, Huishan’s shares and operations are unlikely to “collapse” due to its high share concentration and sufficient cash flow generated by its dairy business, he said by telephone.
About 73 percent of Huishan’s shares are held by Champ Harvest Ltd., a company that’s in turn 90-percent owned by Yang. A buying spree by Yang had supported the shares last year, making it a painful trade for short sellers. A one-year rally of about 80 percent through a peak in June had made the shares expensive.
Well that is all over now!!