Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson already has a problem with the Lumber Liquidators call, which hasn't even happened yet

Whitney Tilson’60 Minutes’Whitney Tilson

Lumber Liquidators — America’s largest specialty retailer of hardwood floors — will host an investor call on Thursday morning to address concerns about its Chinese manufactured laminate flooring.

Concerns have come in the wake of a March 1 investigative report from CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Naturally, folks still have questions for the company.

However, the company’s director of financial reporting, Ashleigh McDermott, sent an email on Wednesday night that appears to suggest that the company won’t be taking any questions on the call.

“We hope you will tune in tomorrow for our business update call. Our desire is to provide as much transparency as possible for our investors, analysts, customers and employees. To that end, we invite you to send any questions you still have remaining after the conference call to me via email. We will compile these questions and address them on our next conference call or in another appropriate format,” the email states.

Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, who runs Kase Capital and is short Lumber Liquidators, has a problem with this.

Here’s Tilson:

Unless I’m mis-reading the email…which LL sent to analysts (and others?) ~2 hours ago (9:30pm EST), the company isn’t going to take any questions on the call tomorrow morning.

So they’re just going to read a prepared statement — no doubt mirroring what they have already posted on their web site — and then hang up???

The 60 Minutes piece aired 10 days ago and they knew about it at least two weeks ago (when they disclosed it on the Q4 conference call, which means they likely first learned about it three or more weeks ago) — yet they are so ill-prepared and/or have so much to hide and/or are so terrified of their legal exposures that they can’t take any unscripted questions??

This is bizarre — and so damning. As one analyst said: “If you are 100% clean….you shouldn’t be afraid to talk.”

Exactly.

I am shocked that they aren’t willing to defend themselves (other than posting a web page and reading a script) and also delighted, because I now have even more conviction that my investment thesis is absolutely correct.

We reached out to Lumber Liquidators about why the appear to not be allowing for Q&A on their call today. We’ll update when we hear back.

On March 1, “60 Minutes” and Anderson Cooper aired a damning report that found that Lumber Liquidators appears to be selling laminate flooring from China with levels of formaldehyde higher than what’s permitted under California law. High levels of formaldehyde have a number of health concerns.

Lumber Liquidators said in a statement after the report aired that they believe “60 Minutes” used an improper testing method.

Since the report aired, shares of Lumber Liquidators have tumbled more than 36%.

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