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From Bad to Worse for Gladiator

Report: Systematic Strategies

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Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – Just about everything that could go wrong for Max Mitteregger’s long/short equity fund Gladiator Fond did go wrong in October. Gladiator Fond booked a loss of 29 percent in October, its largest ever monthly loss since launching in 2005, to bring the year-to-date decline to a little over 50 percent.

“The result for October and the full year 2021 is a great disappointment for all unitholders,” writes Mitteregger in a monthly update to investors. The October loss of 29 percent “is the worst result in a single month since the start in 2005. I can only state that many mistakes have been made, not only on the long side but also on the short positions.” For several years, Mitteregger has built and managed a portfolio of companies expected to grow organically on their own merits such as AstraZeneca, SAAB, Attendo or Cumurus and also a number of high-risk, high-reward investments in biotechnology companies.

“Many mistakes have been made, not only on the long side but also on the short positions.”

Mitteregger’s biotechnology investments accounted for most of Gladiator Fond’s losses in October. “The reason for the catastrophic result can be found in several holdings,” explains Mitteregger. One of those investments was Swedish biotech firm Oncopeptides AB, which has seen its share price plummet in the wake of the decision to withdraw its myeloma drug from the U.S. market following interactions with the FDA around a phase 3 study that did not meet the criteria of a confirmatory study.

Alongside the announced withdrawal, Oncopeptides also revealed plans to scrap its sales and marketing operations in Europe and the U.S. and “immediately refocus the company and return to being a Sweden-based R&D company.” Oncopeptides has seen its market capitalization fall by SEK 2.9 billion since the end of September to its current market capitalization of less than SEK 300 million. Max Mitteregger has sold off the entire position in Oncopeptides.

“The announcement from Oncopeptides led to a further weakening of an already-weak biotechnology.”

“The announcement from Oncopeptides led to a further weakening of an already-weak biotechnology sector and companies owned by the fund, such as Bioarctic and Calliditas, fell 28 percent and 30 percent, respectively,” continues Mitteregger. “Following what has happened with Oncopeptides, a great deal of uncertainty has hit the sector and the prices of several biotechnology companies have fallen sharply,” adds the fund manager. “However, I intend to remain with the same relative positions in Bioarctic and Calliditas as my assessment is that both are worth buying at these levels.”

“The fund’s short positions went in the opposite direction.”

The remaining long positions in Gladiator Fond’s portfolio also had a weak development in October. “Attendo and SAAB have both beaten expectations four quarters in a row by between 5-10 percent each time, but are still trading lower than at the turn of the year,” points out Mitteregger. AstraZeneca was the only holding on the long side to gain during the month, rising a modest one percent. “The fund’s short positions went in the opposite direction,” writes Mitteregger. “EQT was up 24 percent and Balder 18 percent, the other short holdings also had a positive development apart from Assa Abloy, which went down two percent for the month.”

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Eugeniu Guzun
Eugeniu Guzun
Eugeniu Guzun serves as a data analyst responsible for maintaining and gatekeeping the Nordic Hedge Index, and as a journalist covering the Nordic hedge fund industry for HedgeNordic. Eugeniu completed his Master’s degree at the Stockholm School of Economics in 2018. Write to Eugeniu Guzun at eugene@hedgenordic.com

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