Jiangxi Copper chairman retires in reshuffle

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2007, 12:00am

Jiangxi Copper said chairman He Changming has retired, making the company the latest big mainland metal firm to undergo a top management change.

The company said Mr He, 65, stepped down due to age.

He had been in the position since the firm listed in Hong Kong in 1997.

On Wednesday, former executive director Li Yihuang was appointed the new chairman, the mainland's largest copper producer said.

Mr Li last month took over from Mr He as general manager of the parent company, Jiangxi Copper Group.

State Council guidelines stipulate that executives at state-run companies should retire at the age of 60.

Earlier this month, Xie Qihua, 63, stepped down as chairwoman of Baosteel Group, the mainland's leading steelmaker, and Liu Jie, 63, resigned as president of Anshan Iron and Steel Group, the country's No4 steelmaker.

Analysts said the recent management reshuffle at metal firms was unlikely to affect their operations because the replacements were former deputies who knew the companies well.

Mr He and Qi Huaiying, 64, also retired from their posts as the company's executive directors, Jiangxi Copper said in a statement to the stock exchange.

The firm appointed Li Baomin and Long Ziping as new executive directors.

Jiangxi Copper also said it planned to increase its copper cathode production capacity 59 per cent to more than 700,000 tonnes by next year from 440,000 tonnes last year.

To facilitate the output expansion, the company said it would lift the limits on connected transactions with its parent, including the sourcing of raw copper materials for refinery and smelting and other services.

In October last year, Jiangxi Copper said profit for the 12-month period was expected to more than double after earnings jumped 165 per cent to 3.55 billion yuan in the first three quarters last year amid surging copper prices.

The firm reported net profit of 1.87 billion yuan for 2005.

Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs raised Jiangxi Copper's earnings forecast for this year 39 per cent to 5.3 billion yuan after upward adjustments to its copper price prediction by 17 per cent to US$3.09 per pound.

The investment bank also raised the firm's earnings forecast for next year 112 per cent to 4.28 billion yuan on a 30 per cent increase in its copper price prediction to US$2.60 per pound.