If you are not from Germany then the only time you have probably heard the term “Landesbank” is in relation to the subprime mortgage problem. WestLB and IKB required rescue from their owners after speculating and losing billions of dollars in subprime mortgage securities. Their peer NordLB (or for the German-speaking, Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale) evidently decided to emulate WestLB’s and IKB’s idiocy by purchasing for a client 24% of perennially-overvalued microcap Remote MDX (OTC BB: RMDX). Now, normally this would not be a problem: if the client loses money the bank still gets its fees. However, the bank’s unnamed client refused to take the shares and those shares are now sitting on the bank’s books. NordLB recently filed a form 13D to announce this. Here is an excerpt:
Since November 2007, NORD/LB has been acquiring RemoteMDx Common Stock at the instruction of a client and with the intention to pass the shares on to the client. However, the client now refuses to accept the RemoteMDx Common Stock and to settle the orders. In the course of a review conducted with regard to these business activities, one of NORD/LB’s brokers mistook the trades for settled with the client and entered them into the books accordingly. Because the settlement process with NORD/LB’s client is still disputed, NORD/LB, as a matter of precaution, on February 25, 2008, assigned the shareholding to its own assets and is therefore making this disclosure on Schedule 13D. However, NORD/LB disclaims beneficial ownership of the shares of RemoteMDx Common Stock included in this Schedule 13D subject to resolution of this dispute.
The shares were purchased near the stock’s all-time highs. Whoever ends up with the shares will have a mark-to-market loss of $81 million, or 70%. No matter what happens, this situation makes NordLB look incredibly bad.
Note 3/16/08, 7pm: since I first published this I was made aware that Carol Remond of DJ Newswires published an article about this Friday. She identified the client as Vatas GMBH, a previous 13D owner of RMDX stock. The hedge fund had also left Nord/LB with stock in several other microcaps.
For more information:
Citron Research Comments on Remote MDX (December 2007 – CitronResearch.com)
Disclosure: I have no position in RMDX.