Brilliance Auto

Compass Pacific directors ousted

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 12:00am

Compass Pacific Holdings' controlling shareholder Yang Rong had six directors booted out of the company at a special general meeting yesterday, as his ownership dispute with a mainland provincial government escalated.

The ousted directors appear to have been associated with the Liaoning provincial government, which Mr Yang has accused of attempting to seize what he claims to be his personal assets in Brilliance Group, an investment empire he has built in the past decade.

The row broke out earlier this year when the government set up a 'working committee' to prepare for the takeover of Brilliance. Mr Yang has since begun a one-man battle against the government, including filing a lawsuit with a Beijing court.

Brilliance, which has an estimated asset value of 30 billion yuan (about HK$28.11 billion), includes two Hong Kong-listed companies - minivan maker Brilliance China Automotive Holdings and investment firm Compass.

Directors Wu Xiao'an, Su Qiang, Hong Xing, He Tao, Yang Maozeng and Sun Tung were voted off the Compass board by about 80 per cent of the shareholders at the meeting, a company source said. The remainder were said to have objected to the resolution.

The meeting was chaired by a legal representative of Mr Yang.

The entrepreneur fled to the United States in late May fearing for his 'personal safety' amid the dispute.

Last month, the provincial government issued a warrant to arrest Mr Yang on charges of 'economic crimes'.

Six new directors were elected to the board at the meeting.

Some of the ousted directors are also directors of Brilliance China, from which Mr Yang was dismissed as chairman in June.

In a company announcement yesterday, Mr Yang's legal representative said the Liaoning government had issued an order on August 12 'requesting' Mr Yang transfer his interest in Compass to it within seven days.

Mr Yang holds his Compass stake through Daiweldo Foundation, of which he owns 80 per cent. Mr Wu, Mr Su, Mr Hong and Mr He each owns 5 per cent.

The foundation holds 49.88 per cent of Compass, while Brilliance China holds 12.9 per cent.

The stock has been suspended from trade since October 4, when the boardroom power struggle broke out. It would remain suspended pending resolution of the dispute, the announcement said.

As part of the Brilliance boardroom power struggle, Brilliance China had removed Mr Yang as a director, Associated Press reported.