Longtime Trump adviser and billionaire investor Carl Icahn, sold tens of millions of dollars’ worth of stock in a company heavily reliant on steel weeks before the Trump administration announced hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, according to an SEC filing.
The total dollar amount of stock sold was roughly $32 million and the selling took place over a period of about ten days, from February 12 to February 22, 2018. The Commerce Department issued a report finding that the “quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports threaten to impair the national security” in a report that was released on February 16.
The filing shows that three companies owned by Icahn, High River Limited Partnership, Icahn Partners LP and Icahn Partners Master Fund LP sold roughly 1 million shares of a stock in The Manitowoc Company, a maker of cranes and construction equipment. Manitowoc has manufacturing, distribution, and service facilities in 20 countries, according to its website, and had sales of $1.6 billion in 2016.
Because it is a maker of industrial construction equipment it is heavily reliant on steel.
The SEC filing shows that Icahn’s companies were able to sell the 1 million shares at prices between $32.47 and $34.31 per share. On the day the Commerce Department release its report Manitowoc’s stock prices closed down about $2 at $33.59, and has steadily been losing value since.
Nearly two weeks later, when President Trump announced hefty 25% and 10% tariffs on steel and aluminum products imported from foreign countries, the stock was trading at $27.95, a drop of nearly 14% from even the lowest price Icahn’s companies were able to sell their shares.
Icahn has long been an adviser to President Trump and even served briefly in the administration as a special adviser, before resigning in August of last year over inappropriate contact he had with a government agency over regulations he felt were adversely affecting one of his investments, a Texas oil refinery.
A request for comment from Icahn Enterprises L.P. was not immediately returned.
President Trump’s announced tariffs roiled markets for days, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing more than 400 points the day the tariffs were announced. Those losses have since been gained back.
He announced this morning that exemptions for Mexico and Canada would be contingent on a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Both countries, as well as others, have indicated that if tariffs go into effect, they would have no choice but respond in kind with their own tariffs on American products, sparking fears of an international trade war.
The President, however, seems unfazed. “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” the President wrote on Twitter last week.
“Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!” he added.