The Korea Herald


Short selling of Celltrion persists on Kospi

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : April 5, 2018 - 16:42

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Contrary to market expectations for Celltrion to avoid short selling by moving from the second-tier Kosdaq market to the first-tier Kospi in February, the ratio of the firm’s short sellers have increased since then, data showed Thursday.

Celltrion`s headquarters in Songdo, Incheon (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald) Celltrion`s headquarters in Songdo, Incheon (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Of the entire daily trading from Feb. 9 to Monday, short selling accounted for 13.8 percent. The figure saw an upshot from the yearly estimate until Feb. 9 this year, at 8.4 percent. By month, the average short selling ratio came to 13.6 percent in March, and 17.4 percent in February.

Celltrion, a South Korean biosimilar giant, was relisted on the Kospi on Feb. 9, after delisting on the Kosdaq following a decision at a shareholders meeting in September last year.

When Celltrion first began to eye moving from the Kosdaq to the Kospi, small shareholders supported the move, on anticipation of a decrease in short selling and a rise in capital influx.

But contrary to their hopes, Celltrion in March saw a 12.3 percent loss, after a monthly increase in stock price for seven consecutive months that lasted until February this year.

On March 8, Celltrion investors short sold stocks worth 485.1 billion won ($458 million), or 18.1 percent of the entire value of stocks traded on the day.

Following the events, South Korean investors recently launched an online petition to the presidential office, demanding an investigation into Celltrion short sales.

Retail investors in Korea have criticized short selling as virtually exclusive to institutional investors and as prompting a sudden drop in stock price, while individual investors have no choice but to take losses.

In response, the Korea Exchange last year tightened regulation on short selling, by suspending stock trades the day after investors short sold the stocks at an extraordinarily degree.

The short selling ratio of Celltrion since November last year hovered above 10 percent. The ratio stood at 11 percent in November, 11.9 percent in December and 11.1 percent in January.

By Son Ji-hyoung