This is bowlingA lot of discussion in the option market of Imtech. The troubled company with a billion debt will start a rights offering worth EUR 600 million. The offering if fully guaranteed by a consortium of banks.  As the current market cap of the company is some modest EUR 200 million, the dilution will be heavy. New rights will be offered with a huge discount, as the banks want to avoid the risk as possible to be stuck with millions of Imtech shares nobody wants.

Arbitrage

As usual, the rights will be trading at a discount and the arbitrage game is on. Sell the shares, buy the rights at a discount and lock in a profit. You won’t be able to borrow the shares as soon as the rights start trading. If you own the shares before the offering, you’ll be receiving rights. But everybody wants to own the shares, without the rights. In-the-money calls start trading at a premium. Be long the itm put and itm call – and exercise the call as soon as the rights start trading.

Short squeeze risk

Another issue is the availability of the shares. The option contracts get a huge contract size, due the recalculation options get a contract size of 400 or even 1000 instead of just 100. When options get a contract size of a 1000, the availability of shares to cover the delta may run out of supply. A short squeeze in Imtech was widely anticipated. The new shares from the offering will take some weeks to arrive.

Other rules

Euronext realized this, and decided to change the rules of the game. Instead of the fixed rulebook for right offerings – the rights will now be seen as a “spin off” company. Options will have a basket of claims and shares as underlying  (package method).  Investors unaware of the risks have been selling deep itm calls with a big premium, and can keep the profit after Euronext stepped in.

Then again, these new rules can be changed again and can only be seen as guidelines. Difficult to trade without a fixed set of rules.

Jack
Jack