Adir Shiffman, Executive Chairman Of Catapult (ASX: CAT) On Coronavirus

Adir Shiffman, the executive chairman of Catapult International (ASX: CAT) has one of the most notable twitter feeds of any of the ASX executives I track online. Catapult International shareholders can get a real sense of his views about covid and lockdowns from his public feed.

Of particular interest to me is the confidence with which Shiffman delivered predictions about Covid and lockdowns, in September last year.

Adir Shiffman, Catapult Chairman, Covid Prognosticator

Perhaps the most emblematic tweet, in terms of Adir Shiffman’s understanding of covid-19, was on September 6, 2020, when he confidently declared:

“This is an historical moment. Do not be silent! Premier Andrews’ plan is a death knell for 1000’s of businesses and the overall Victorian economy. We are not going to achieve and retain fewer than five cases a day, let alone zero. Who will protect this State’s citizens and SMEs?” [My emphasis]

Of course, this prediction didn’t turn out to be particularly accurate, with headlines subsequently boasting that “Victoria records zero coronavirus cases as Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins,” by February this year. A more optimistic take would have been closer to the mark.

However, an arguably worse prediction came on September 10, 2020, when Adir Shiffman, the executive chairman of Catapult International declared Sweden’s Covid “deaths now largely done.”

As I write today the Guardian reports that, “Sweden has reported Europe’s highest number of new coronavirus infections per head over the past week and has more patients in intensive care than at any time since the pandemic’s first wave.”

On top of that, Sweden’s response to covid doesn’t really show covid “in the wild”, because Sweden is a sophisticated society. While they’ve eschewed the most effective measures of control, Medpage Today made clear in July 2020 that Swedish people did take measures to reduce covid spread, even if they weren’t mandatory:

Mozhu Ding, PhD, an epidemiologist at the famed Karolinska Institute, said the decline is “likely to be a combination of measures taken by individuals, businesses and a widespread information campaign launched by the government.”

“Even without a strict lockdown order, many businesses allowed employees to work from home, and universities are offering distance courses to the students,” Ding told MedPage Today. 

Even before Adir Shiffman declared Sweden’s covid “deaths now largely done”, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine had published a paper on Sweden, entitled “Sweden’s prized herd immunity is nowhere in sight.

What Do Adir Shiffman’s Tweets Tell Us About Catapult International?

Catapult International is an interesting business, and one I have owned shares in before. As I write, the share price languishes some 30% below the $3 that the company raised capital at in 2016, though the Catapult International share price has spent most of the last year in an uptrend.

As a small tech business, Catapult is on my radar as a potential buy, and it was during some routine research that I stumbled upon Adir Shiffman’s tweets about coronavirus. I don’t discard Catapult International because of Adir Shiffman’s twitter feed, but neither his September predictions, nor his lack of correction when they were proved incorrect, entice me to buy shares.

As a father, I’m glad Adir Shiffman is the executive chairman of Catapult International, instead of the premier of my state.

This article may document some of the factors that may influence a company’s share price, but the article is not financial advice, it is general in nature, and our disclaimer is here. I have no position long or short, in Catapult International.

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