Chairman steps down after insider settlement

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 3:21am

Mainland billionaire Zhang Zhirong has resigned as chairman of two Hong Kong-listed companies, shortly after a court approved a US$14 million settlement of an insider trading case by an investment firm he owns.

Zhang resigned from the boards of Shanghai-based shipbuilder China Rongsheng Heavy Industries and developer Glorious Property yesterday, the two companies' announcements posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange website said.

In each announcement, the firms said Zhang had resigned as chairman "to devote more time to his personal endeavours".

Each company said: "Mr Zhang has confirmed that he has no disagreement with the board and there is no matter in respect of this resignation that needs to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the company."

The announcements did not mention the decision by a New York court two weeks ago that approved a deal between Well Advantage - a company indirectly owned by Zhang - and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The deal settled the regulator's investigation into alleged insider dealing involving Well Advantage ahead of the US$15.1 billion bid for Canadian oil firm Nexen by Chinese offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC.

While Well Advantage agreed to pay US$14 million, it neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing, according to the SEC.

China Rongsheng said executive director and chief executive Chen Qiang had been appointed the shipbuilder's new chairman.

Glorious Property said Cheng Li Xiong had stepped down as chief executive to become the developer's chairman, while Liu Ning had succeeded Cheng as chief executive.