E Mostly Red Day

Our holdings in Soquimich, the Chilean fertilizer company, were not very lucrative because of misstatements over the value of the ADR which occurred between June 30, 2010, and March 18, 2015. A class-action lawsuit has been filed by the Borough of South Tyneside on behalf of the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund (of Britain) for a potential claim of $62,500,000. While we were among the victims of the SQM activities, from actions by members of the family of former Chilean dictator Pinochet who controlled SQM, we did not meet the dates for the UK pension fund's settlement. Our earliest purchase according to my records, was on Dec. 13, 2015, and our last May 2, 2019.

However, the fact that a New York Court is ruling on the claim of a British non-profit organization rather than ambulance-chasing lawyers marks a new level of enforcement for the ADR marketplace. We will not be profiting from the claim ourselves and in fact, we got out of SQM when the misstatements were made known, not at big losses, but I applaud the new enforcers.

Wall Street is fickle, and yesterday's huge rally in the Dow Jones, the best showing since June, was followed by another day of mostly red in markets.

Business newspaper article

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*Mexico is the no. 2 market for Mercado Libre, MELI, after the Argentine Internet sales and finance firm sold operations at risk of covid-19 in Q4 2020. It accounted for revenues in Q4, at 80% vs 133% in Argentina. MELI sales rose 148.5% in 202 to $1.3 bn excluding forex and its payment volume (mercado pago) hit $15.9 bn, up 134.4% on the same basis but was only up 83.9% in $s. Merchandise volume gained 109.7%. The number of active users grew by 71,3% to 74 mn people. Items sold hit 229.4 mn up 109.5%. It earns financial revenues from off-platform transaction, financing fees, interest earned from merchant and consumer credit, and sales of wireless (mobile point-of-sale.)

MELI's new asset management product reached nearly $700 mn under management, and 15 mn users.

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