Sino-Forest Corporation (Sino-Forest) is a commercial forest plantation operator in the People Republic of China (PRC). As of December 31, 2009, Sino-Forest had approximately 512,700 hectares of forest plantations located primarily in southern and eastern China. Sino-Forest’s operations are comprised of two core business segments: wood fibre operations and manufacturing and other operations. Wood fibre operations include acquisition, cultivation and sale of standing timber or harvested logs from its purchased, integrated and planted sources; sourcing logs from PRC suppliers and selling them in the domestic PRC market, and sourcing logs, veneer, sawn timber and other wood-based products globally and sell them in the domestic PRC market. Manufacturing and Other Operations include production of engineered-wood flooring, sawn timber, finger-joint board and block board, plywood and veneer, and greenery and nursery operations. In February 2009, it acquired Omnicorp Limited.
TRE - Sino Forest (TSX)
Report on Sino-Forest Corporation
Muddy Waters Initiating Coverage on TRE.TO, OTC:SNOFF – Strong Sell
Published: June 2, 2011
Muddy Waters LLC has initiated coverage on Sino-Forest Corporation (TRE.TO, OTC:SNOFF) with a Strong Sell rating and an estimated value of < $1.00.
- Like Madoff, TRE is one of the rare frauds that is committed by an established institution. In TRE’s case, its early start as an RTO fraud, luck, and deft navigation enabled it to grow into an institution whose “quality management” consistently delivered on earnings growth.
- TRE, which was probably conceived as another short-lived Canadian-listed resources pump and dump, was aggressively committing fraud since its RTO in 1995.
- The foundation of TRE’s fraud is its convulted structure whereby it runs most of its revenues through “authorized intermediaries” (“AI”). AIs supposedly process TRE’s tax payments, which ensures that TRE leaves its auditors far less of a paper trail.
- On the other side of its books, TRE massively exaggerates its assets. We present smoking gun evidence that TRE overstated its Yunnan timber investments by approximately $900 million.
- TRE relies on Jakko Poyry to produce reports that give it legitimacy. TRE provides fraudulent data to Poyry, which produces reports that do nothing to ensure that TRE is legitimate.
- TRE’s capital raising is a multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme, and accompanied by substantial theft.
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Wow, this is going to be realllly ugly when it opens for trading. Its going to be a penny stock!
I was reading a bit about this story, check out this research report that got this drop started:
And from ZeroHedge:
John Paulson Could Lose Up To $650 Million On Latest Alleged Chinese Fraud
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/02/2011 13:56 -0400
That famous Chinese fraudcap swatter Muddy Waters was overdue to take down another Chinese fraud is not a surprise. Indeed, as reported earlier, the fraud-focused shorter just initiated coverage on Sino-Forest Corporation (TRE.TO), which the firm "Like Madoff, TRE is one of the rare frauds that is committed by an established institution. In TRE’s case, its early start as an RTO fraud, luck, and deft navigation enabled it to grow into an institution whose “quality management” consistently delivered on earnings growth." The rating, not surprisingly, is Strong Sell, and the estimated per share value is <$1.00. MW describes the fraud as follows: "TRE, which was probably conceived as another short-lived Canadian-listed resources pump and dump, was aggressively committing fraud since its RTO in 1995. The foundation of TRE’s fraud is its convoluted structure whereby it runs most of its revenues through “authorized intermediaries” (“AI”). AIs supposedly process TRE’s tax payments, which ensures that TRE leaves its auditors far less of a paper trail. On the other side of its books, TRE massively exaggerates its assets. We present smoking gun evidence that TRE overstated its Yunnan timber investments by approximately $900 million. TRE relies on Jakko Poyry to produce reports that give it legitimacy. TRE provides fraudulent data to Poyry, which produces reports that do nothing to ensure that TRE is legitimate. TRE’s capital raising is a multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme, and accompanied by substantial theft." So far so good: as soon as the report came out the stock traded down from CAD$18 to $14, and was promptly halted. Once again, none of this is surprising. What is surprising, is that the biggest holder of the stock, with over 34 million shares, which amount to just under $650 million, is none other than stock picker extraordinaire John Paulson. And to think Zero Hedge has been warning everyone about the dangers of the fraudcap space for 8 months now. Oh well, one analyst learned the hard way today.
Trading to open at 11:15.
The company did respond, we shall see if this damage control works:
TORONTO, June 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Sino-Forest Corp (TSX: TRE) ("Sino-Forest" or the "Company"), a leading commercial forest plantation operator in China, today commented on the share price decline on June 2, 2011 as a result of the allegations made in a 'report' issued on a website by a short seller operating under the name Muddy Waters, LLC. The Company was not contacted by Muddy Waters for comment ahead of publication of its report.
The Board of Directors and management of Sino-Forest wish to state clearly that there is no material change in its business or inaccuracy contained in its corporate reports and filings that needs to be brought to the attention of the market. Further we recommend shareholders take extreme caution in responding to the Muddy Waters report.
As indicated in the report, Muddy Waters has a short position in the Company's shares and therefore stands to realize significant gains from a share price decline that it precipitated. Muddy Waters expressly admits that it makes no representation as to the accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of any information contained in its report. Further, its website discloses no address or ownership information, nor the credentials of any of the authors of the 'report'. Neither the Ontario Securities Commission nor the Securities Exchange Commission website lists Muddy Waters or its author as being registered as an advisor. Nevertheless, due to the substantial impact that the report has had on the prices of the Company's securities and the reputation of the Company, the Board has appointed an independent committee consisting of three of the Company's independent directors, William Ardell (Chair), James Bowland and James Hyde. All three of these directors are financially qualified professionals and two of the three are recent appointees to the Board. The independent committee's mandate is to thoroughly examine and review the allegations contained in Muddy Waters' report, and report back to the Board. The independent committee has appointed Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP as independent legal counsel and will retain the services of an independent accounting firm and such other independent advisors as it deems necessary to assist with its examination. During the course of the independent committee's examination, the Company will provide any updates as appropriate. Following conclusion of the report, the key findings of the independent committee will be released to shareholders.
Allen Chan, Chairman and CEO of Sino-Forest commented: "We are committed to a high level of corporate governance and stand by the integrity of our company, our 16-year operational track record and our financial statements. Our company has continuously retained the services of internationally recognized law firms, auditors and expert consultants from Canada, the US, Hong Kong and mainland China."
"It is important that our independent committee thoroughly address Muddy Waters' allegations, and they will have my full support and those of the management team in doing so. However, let me say clearly that the allegations contained in this report are inaccurate and unfounded. Muddy Waters' shock-jock approach is transparently self-interested and we look forward to providing our investors and other stakeholders with additional information to rebut these allegations."
David Horsley, Senior Vice President and CFO of Sino-Forest commented: "I am confident that the independent committee's examination will find these allegations to be demonstrably wrong, as for example:
(a) Muddy Waters fundamentally misunderstands and misrepresents the most basic items in our published Management's Discussion & Analysis with respect to revenue generated from Yunnan Province, which we report as being approximately 45.5% of the Company's standing timber revenue of approximately US$508 million. Muddy Waters alleges that it is impossible that such revenue existed because achieving such levels would greatly exceed allowable cutting quotas and it would be impossible to truck close to that volume in the period. However, that revenue was very clearly disclosed in our MD&A filed for Q1 and Q2 of 2010 as revenue resulting from the sale of the standing timber - there is no cutting or transport involved, as the trees were sold but not harvested and therefore are not considered part of the quota for the region until the harvesting is conducted by the buyers.
(b) Muddy Waters alleges that the Company overstated the assets in Yunnan Province, based on its erroneous and narrow assumption that our only purchases in Yunnan Province consisted of purchases of 20,574 ha of plantations in Gengma county in Yunnan. However, this allegation ignores the fact that in addition to the purchased plantations in Gengma county, (as disclosed in our 2010 annual MD&A of a total of approximately 193,000 ha purchased in Yunnan Province) we have purchased approximately 173,000 ha of plantations in approximately 25 other counties in Yunnan Province as of December 31, 2010."
As at December 31, 2010, the Company had approximately US$1.26 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short term deposits as reported in the audited consolidated balance sheet. As at March 31, 2011, the comparable amount was approximately US$1.09 billion. The Company continues to hold such cash, with the majority of it in banks in Hong Kong and offshore.
As previously announced, the Company intends to file its Q1 2011 results on June 14, 2011.
About Sino-Forest Corporation
Are you buying now?
Just a few days ago Credit Suisse had this stock rated at $28 target price.