China Medical (CMEDY)

Curious things are happening in the stock market. The stock price of China Medical (CMEDY on Pink Sheets, formerly CMED on NASDAQ) has gone up 10-fold over the last several months (from the low of US $0.60 to over $9 on June 26, 2012), just as the company bondholders are about to drive CMEDY into bankruptcy. In Cayman Islands, no less - this is where China Medical (and, apparently, quite a few other Chinese companies whose stock is traded on international securities markets) is registered.

There apparently have been no news from the company's management for a long time - it is politely described as "non-communicative" by commentators. The company website is frozen in time, quoting CMED's stock price at the moment when the stock was delisted (March 31, 2012), with the last news item dated December 2011. So there are only speculations as to who/what drives up the company's stock price. Some say it's a "short squeeze" situation. Well, it's certainly a possibility. One can get some idea of the availability of the company's stock for short-selling by looking at the fees short-sellers have to pay to borrow CMEDY shares to short. Typically such fees range within a few percents, more often fraction of a percent, in annual terms; for CMEDY, the rate at present is at the incredible 32.5%. So even if you can borrow shares, and your position is not forcibly closed at an inopportune time, it is expensive to short CMEDY: even if you are lucky and buy at the the top, the stock price has to decline at least by 1/3 over a year in order for you to break even. And of course if somebody - perfectly rationally - chose to short that stock when it was at $4 a couple months ago, he may be simply wiped by the stock price increase, even not thinking about the interest.

On the opposite side of the equation, this also means that an investor who has a long position in CMEDY, and lends his shares to short-sellers, can get some fraction of that money, if his broker is of the kind that passes on some this fee to the lender. At Interactive Brokers, they called it the "yield enhancement" program, and the "net fee" that the (long) investor get is one half of the gross rate paid by the borrower (the short-seller), i.e. 16% p.a. But I would not recommend to anyone the strategy of buying this stock with the intent to lend it to short-sellers and to collect one's interest: the rate may amount to 16% per year, but how much of the principal will you have left after a year if you buy this stock at at the present price (or perhaps at any price)?

No disclosure: I don't have a CMEDY position, long or short, anymore :-)

P.S. The Chinese "face" of the company known in the Cayman Islands and the USA is apparently called "Beijing Yuande Bio-Medical Engineering Co., Ltd." (北京源德生物医学工程有限公司). They have a website, but it does not even have a "News" section.