Shares of Chinese fishing company Pingtan Marine Enterprise (NASDAQ:PME) collapsed on Wednesday, tumbling 28.2%. The shares fell again on Thursday, down 3.4% more. But then, a miracle happened: On Friday, Pingtan stock bounced back, and was riding 20.4% higher as of 1:20 p.m. EDT.
Up until today, Pingtan stock was suffering the ill effects of a short attack spawned by an analyst at Aurelius Value, which alleged the company was engaged in such "fraudulent and illegal activities" as "poaching, and even human trafficking."
Obviously, those are distasteful subjects. So what has Pingtan done to address them? Following the old adage that "if you don't like the argument, just change the subject," Pingtan today issued an announcement disregarding Aurelius's allegations and instead putting itself into a new narrative entirely. Pingtan Marine, you see, is entering the age of e-commerce.
As announced this morning, Pingtan has signed an agreement with Shanghai City Supermarket Co. and Shenzhen Honglicun Restaurant Co. to "provide its deep ocean fish products directly to City Shop and Honglicun as a primer [sic] supplier."
Pingtan notes that its new customers are "two major competent companies" in China, and says it's "directly [entering] the e-commerce and restaurant chain" in order to "continue to rapid expand our presence in China."
None of that does much to answer the allegations of poaching (or human trafficking) that Aurelius has raised, of course. Nor does it explain what selling fish to a supermarket and a restaurant has to do with "e-commerce," for that matter. But Pingtan's announcement does seem to have distracted investors away from Pingtan's legal troubles for the time being, and for that at least, shareholders can be grateful.