NEW YORK – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn denied having prior knowledge of President Donald Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum before he sold about $31 million of stock in steel-dependent Manitowoc Co.
“We don’t generally comment on rumors, but the recent media speculation regarding our sale of Manitowoc stock calls for a response,” Icahn, a former Trump adviser, said in a short statement on his website Wednesday.
“We state for the record: Any suggestion that we had prior knowledge of the Trump administration’s announcement of new tariffs on steel imports is categorically untrue. We reduced our position in Manitowoc for legitimate investment reasons having nothing to do with that announcement.”
Icahn had served as an unofficial adviser to Trump, but stepped down in August because of criticism regarding the appearance of possible ethical conflicts.
A regulatory filing shows that Icahn sold almost 1 million shares in The Manitowoc Co. from Feb. 12 through Feb. 22. for between $32.47 and $34.31 per share. Trump made his announcement about the tariffs – saying he would levy penalties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports – on March 1.
Manitowoc shares have been declining since late January, and trading in other steel consumers has been mixed. As early as 2016 during his presidential campaign Trump openly favored a shift in U.S. trade policy, and described U.S. trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement as bad deals for the country.
Manitowoc shares and have fallen almost 7 percent since President Trump’s announcement. Shares in the Manitowoc, Wisconsin, company are down more than 2 percent in midday trading, to $27.73.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter