China Everbright first-half profit edges down to HK$737m

China Everbright may need more write-offs as a result of a recent trading 'error'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 2:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 3:30am

China Everbright, the Hong Kong investment arm of state-run financial conglomerate China Everbright Group, said yesterday it may make additional write-offs for a recent "fat finger" trading error by Everbright Securities after it reported a decline in first-half profit that it blamed partly on an undisclosed provision.

The Hong Kong-listed company, which is transforming itself into a multi-asset fund-management firm, said its net interim profit fell 4 per cent to HK$737 million, even though operating income rose by 12 per cent to HK$596 million owing to a big spike in management fee income from private-equity and venture-capital funds.

China Everbright chief executive Chen Shuang told a post-results briefing in Hong Kong yesterday that it might need further write-offs in the second half because of Everbright Securities' accidental buy order.

Chen, who is also a director of the Shanghai-listed broker, said Hong Kong regulations required provisions to be made when purchased securities had lost more than 25 per cent of their face value, which was more stringent than the standard on the mainland, where companies were required to make provisions only if the value of the instruments more than halved.

The Hong Kong unit, which owns a 33.33 per cent stake in Everbright Securities, did not disclose the impairment losses.

The troubled broker's chief executive and president, Xu Haoming, resigned last week after the trading mistake, which cost at least 194 million yuan, and a separate error in which the brokerage gave the wrong price information when it traded 10 million yuan of government bonds.

Chen declined to say when the mainland regulators would finalise its investigation.

Another hot topic at the briefing was the planned Hong Kong listing of China Everbright Bank, one of its sister firms. Chen said the Beijing-based lender was still working on the share sale.