Camber Energy, Inc. (CEI)
What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags?
We are short shares of Camber Energy, Inc. Please click here to read full disclosures.
We are short shares of Camber Energy, Inc. Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy, an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day.
Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves.
But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count, and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million.
Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50-million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares.
Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near-term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again.
Read our full report here.