Harbin Electric Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Harbin Electric (Nasdaq: HRBN  ) sank as much as 10% today after stock whistleblower Citron Research issued a bearish report on the Chinese electric motor maker.

So what: Citron is highly skeptical that the "proposal of going private" Harbin received from Chairman Tianfu Yang eight months ago will actually go through due mainly to the lack of definitive details (funding, partners, and timeline). Given that the buyout price of $24 per share is likely helping keep Harbin's stock up, there could be plenty of pain ahead for longs if Citron's hypothesis turns out to be right.

Now what: I'd keep my distance from the stock for now. In the report, Citron also writes that Harbin appears to have grossly understated its liabilities, that it will have an incredibly tough time securing financing, and that the $24 offer price has "zero credibility." Only time will tell whether Citron's actually onto something, but given Harbin's slipping margins and very real heavy debt load, it's probably not the best fundamentals-based buy anyway.

Interested in more info on Harbin Electric? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2011, at 3:14 AM, techsv82 wrote:

    This report.. surprisingly misses one thing. The $24 buyout offer will not keep the stock price up. it will shrink down to nothing. Rick Pearson was right in speculating that the WB leak had to do with the option expiration. WB violated the confidentiality pledge it made to the CEO when it leaked the content of conversation. On the other hand, CEO probably should not have talked at all. One should expect CEO will be more tight-lipped from now on.

    This stock is going down extremely fast.

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