Artini suspends missing chairman

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 July, 2012, 12:00am


Fashion jewellery firm Artini China has suspended its missing chairman after it tried and failed to contact him over the last 10 days.

In a company filing to the stock exchange last night Artini said it had been unable to contact its founding chairman and chief executive Tse Chiu-kwan.

'Consequently, the board has decided to suspend the duties and revoke any authorisation of Mr Tse to act on behalf of the group until further notice,' it said.

The statement added that Tse's wife, Yip Ying-kam, who is vice-chairwoman and chief operating officer, would take over full management responsibility of the company. Yip co-founded the company with Tse.

'Given that Ms Yip is one of the founders of the group and had also assumed management and operational responsibility recently when Mr Tse went on a leave of absence, the board does not expect this, in itself, to have a material adverse effect on its operations,' the company said.

Tse and Yip co-founded Artini in 1992. The company makes and retails fashion jewellery, accessories, and gift items such as photo frames in Hong Kong and the mainland.

In its latest annual report it said Tse, 48, had more than 21 years of experience in the fashion jewellery industry.

He is the honorary president of the Hong Kong Pearl Association and the Hong Kong Gold and Silver Ornaments Workers and Merchants General Union as well as the honorary president of the Hong Kong Gemstone Manufacturers' Association.

Tse returned to work in May, cutting short four months of scheduled leave. In February, the company said Tse 'would like to take a leave of absence due to health problems from 23 February, 2012 to 5 July, 2012'.

Yip took charge of the company before Tse eventually returned to work in May.

In June, the company announced a net loss of HK$143.34 million for the year ended March, down from a previous loss of HK$176.56 million.

It said the loss was the result of a 25 per cent decrease in its retail business turnover to HK$90.71 million for the year.

Since then it had continued to adopt stringent cost controls, it said, by consolidating internal resources, streamlining staff structure and cutting operating costs.

It also reorganised its retail network by strategically closing down poor performing outlets to reduce operating costs.

As of the end of March, it had 50 retail outlets on the mainland, down from 120 a year earlier.

The company listed in Hong Kong in May 2008.

Its shares closed at 10.80 HK cents on Friday.