The Mysterious Disappearance of Anglo American
Gather 'round, Fools ... we have a juicy mystery on our hands.
I know Anglo American isn't exactly a household name here in the States. In fact, when I covered the proposed takeover of AAUK by Swiss mining giant Xstrata, I swear I could hear crickets chirping through the interweb.
Still, we're talking about a truly massive resource company that recently reported first half operating profit of $2.1 billion. Though down significantly from $6.2 billion a year earlier, in the present economic environment these are robust earnings from a global powerhouse in coal, base metals, platinum, etc.
Immediately following that July 31 earnings release, I noticed that my Yahoo service offered only an empty space-saver for my AAUK holding, saying "no such ticker symbol". "Hmmm... must be a glitch", I thought, so I waited for a couple of days for some tech dude to notice the problem and correct it. Meanwhile: crickets. Half way through the week, I'd had enough, so I contacted Yahoo, and receoved a response the next day saying they must have changed the symbol to AAL.L. I don't think so!! I own shares of the ADR that trades at $16 and change ... not the London shares trading at nearly GBP 1,900!
Now my curiosity was beginning to stir. I checked the Nasdaq website, and confirmed they showed no AAUK listing whatsoever. Surely, when a multi-billion corporation abruptlyde-lists from the Nasdaq, such action must be accompanied by a press release ... right? No mention on the Nasdaq site ... crickets. All itindicated was that AAUK changed to AAUKY on August 3.
Well, at least the Anglo American website's investors section will set me straight with up-to-date information on what's going on! To my utter amazement ... NOTHING! Even though the website has been updated to remove the ADR from the "share information" section and replace it with a new ticker symbol for a pink sheets listing (AAUKY.PK), the company somehow has the gall to do so without so much as drafting a press release!
This is more than a mystery ... it's an outrage! I don't want these stinking pink sheets ... I want my ADR shares back! And more than anything, I want an explanation. Something feels entirely wrong with this whole event, giving me a sense of forboding about what the company may reveal when they finally get around to
This is no oversight, and there is simply no excuse. There will be consequences for their failure to inform ADR shareholders of the delisting in a timely manner. The CAPS listing for AAUK shows the time of the last quote as 4pm on 7/31, corroborating my observation that the ticker ceased functioning directly after release of the company's financial results. Was there something in there that Nasdaq found to indicate ineligibilty for listing on their exchange?
I now see CAPS blogger MikeBobulinski posted on the mystery yesterday ... glad someone was paying attention! :)
According to the only other blogger I found that has covered the event, there was at least some foreknowledge that the ADR would delist:
TORONTO, July 31 /CNW/ - Standard & Poor's Canadian Index Operations announces the following index changes: The ADR shares of Anglo American PLC (NASDAQ:AAUK) will move to trade OTC after the close on Friday, July 31, 2009. The company will be removed from the S&P/TSX Global Mining and Global Base Metals Indices after the close on Friday, July 31, 2009.
This makes it even clearer that Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll has some serious 'splainin' to do.
Now, I have to say, shame on Bloomberg, Reuters, AP, and every other financial newswire service that failed to provide timely information on a major development like the delisting of ADR shares from a major American exchange. Principally, however, the buck stops with Anglo's management.
I expect a full explanation from Anglo American immediately, and I expect an investigation into the silence surrounding the move.
I won't hold my breath, since one can grow old waiting for the truth to be told. Remember the $134 billion bond caper? And with Ken Lewis still at the helm of BAC, we certainly can't expect Carroll's post to be in jeopardy. Accountability and transparency are sorely lacking in the financial markets these days.
Please post any information you encounter about this event, and I will do the same.