Casino hitman targets Eurofins laboratories

Casino hitman targets Eurofins laboratories
Casino hitman targets Eurofins laboratories

Muddy Waters, the Casino hitman, is back in France and this time targets a CAC 40 company. The activist fund led by the famous American short seller Carson Block published a 35-page report on Monday June 24 criticizing Eurofins Scientific, the global bioanalysis giant, which he accuses of being “optimized for embezzlement”. The group, created in 1987 in Nantes, but whose head office was transferred to Brussels, did not immediately react to these allegations.

After being suspended, Eurofins shares posted a drop of almost 17% on Monday, leading to the evaporation of 1.7 billion euros in market value. Mr. Block specifies that he holds a short position, in other words, he previously borrowed shares from the group, resold them and intends to buy them back cheaper in order to return them to their owner, cashing in a nice capital gain. in passing.

But the financier also presents himself as an investigative journalist. “This report is a journalistic opinion”, he indicates in the preamble. His analysis is also based on « sources », former Eurofins employees whom he was able to interview, and whose comments he reports on condition of anonymity. Mr. Block did not directly contact the company co-founded and managed by Frenchman Gilles Martin but, obviously, had other investors ask questions.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Carson Block: “Jean-Charles Naouri had time to turn Casino around”

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“Collection of companies with a start-up spirit”

In October 2019, the salmonella and other coronavirus tracker had already been the subject of an activist campaign by a short seller. Pointing out the organization considered very complex of a giant employing 61,800 employees, which was built through acquisitions, the British ShadowFall had questioned the reliability of Eurofins’ accounting, even deeming a liquidity crisis possible.

These criticisms were, however, quickly extinguished, the Covid-19 pandemic having caused Eurofins’ profits and its stock price to jump. So much so that the bioanalysis specialist entered the CAC 40 on September 17, 2021. In a portrait published by The world on November 9, 2021, Gilles Martin then presented Eurofins as a “collection of companies with a start-up spirit”. The group weighed more than 23 billion euros: since then, its capitalization has been halved, even before the new charge launched on Monday.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Gilles Martin, a very discreet boss of the CAC 40

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Mr. Block’s accusations also focus on “complexity” of the structure and accounting of Eurofins, likely, according to the financier, to hide “malpractices”, some of which could enrich Gilles Martin, the largest shareholder. The engineer controls Analytical Bioventures, which holds 32.7% of the capital of Eurofins and 60% of the voting rights.

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