Chairman of Icahn Enterprises and longtime Trump friend Carl Icahn made millions off of a steel-related stock sale last week, just days before the president announced plans to impose heavy tariffs on imports, as reported by Think Progress.
The billionaire investor and former Trump "special advisor" dumped $31.3 million of stock in Manitowoc Co. Inc. (MTW), a company heavily dependent on steel, according to a Feb. 22 SEC filing. Icahn disclosed that he sold off nearly 1 million shares of the firm, which manufactures cranes and lifting solutions, and requires a great deal of steel to make its products. Shares of the Fortune 500 equipment maker have dropped approximately 10% since Wednesday close on the news. MTW is trading around $27 on Friday afternoon, compared to the $32 to $34 price at which Icahn sold it.
According to the SEC filing, Icahn began selling MTW stock on Feb. 12, four days before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross publicly released a report calling for a 24% tariff. Following his major sell-off, the investor now owns less than 5% of the crane company, meaning he is no longer required to make another disclosure about his holdings until May. It is likely that Icahn could have continued selling the stock.
Steel-Dependent Companies Take a Hit
In August, the high-profile investor stepped down as an advisor to President Trump, just before an article in The New Yorker detailed how he "used his position in the White House and his connection to Trump to protect his investments."
The decision to tax steel and aluminum imports at a 25% and 10% rate, respectively, marks the most substantial trade restrictions to date, and is likely to precede a collapse of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. Steel-dependent stocks have been some of the hardest hit, as part of a larger market sell-off driven by investor concerns regarding an increasingly volatile global equity market and an ensuing trade war.
Also this week, Icahn boasted his investment in controversial multilevel marketing giant Herbalife Ltd. (HLF), suggesting that he has made about $1 billion on his bet against hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, whose firm Pershing Square recently dumped an equivalent short position against the company he once slammed as a crooked pyramid scheme. (See: Billionaire Bill Ackman Dumps Herbalife, Ending 5-Year War Betting Against It)