Short seller Jim Chanos just shared a short idea at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, and it may upset another hedge fund titan: Carl Icahn.
Chanos’ short is Cheniere, a liquefied natural-gas company. Investing legend Icahn, of Icahn Enterprises, has a long position in the company.
Chanos said that the bulls will tell you that Cheniere isn’t an energy story – so no need to worry about commodities prices tanking – because it’s a finance story. It has fully understood its business.
But Chanos thinks that it actually hasn’t accomplished the financing of its dreams – that the reality is that it’s a very complex holding-company structure.
For example, he said that the bulls will have you believe over 30 billion tons of steel sitting literally on the Gulf’s edge should have a maintenance capex of 100 years of life. They believe that there will be no cost overruns.
Fine, say you buy the company totally and fully understand its costs.
But Chanos thinks that even if you believe the bull case, “the stock is still crazy expensive next to its peers.” What’s more, five years from now he thinks it will be the most leveraged one of its peers versus Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and Woodside.
Meanwhile, headcount is rising and the company continues to build new plants.
“I don’t know what Carl sees that I don’t, you will have to ask him,” he told the moderator.