Executive director at trouble-hit Fujian firm steps down

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 July, 2014, 1:39am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 July, 2014, 5:06am

An executive director of mainland menswear manufacturer Fujian Nuoqi, which this week was at the centre of rumours that its chairman had absconded, has stepped down, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange yesterday.

The announcement followed unconfirmed online reports that Ding Hui and his wife had absconded with a large amount of money.

The company, which listed in January, said yesterday Au Yeung Ho-yin had resigned as executive director "due to [a] health problem". It did not offer further explanation but confirmed Au Yeung would remain the firm's chief financial officer and company secretary.

The rumours about Ding first emerged on the Sina Weibo microblogging platform on Wednesday night, when Chen Liling, the general manager of a footwear material provider in Quanzhou, in Fujian province, accused Ding and his wife of racking up borrowings of more than 1.5 billion yuan (HK$1.87 billion) and transferring a large sum of money to Hong Kong.

Chen removed the online posting shortly after having posted it.

In a statement posted on Fujian Nuoqi's Sina Weibo microblog yesterday, before the announcement of Au Yeung's resignation, the company confirmed that Ding was "unreachable" but said his disappearance might not be linked with the alleged smuggling of cash out of the mainland. The company was also taking steps to confirm the situation.

The company said Ding's personal behaviour had had a negative impact on its reputation and daily operations.

Although the allegations were unconfirmed, it said it had referred the matter to the Hong Kong police who had started an investigation.

Fujian Nuoqi shares plunged 33 per cent on Monday and its market value more than halved in the three days leading up to its suspension from trading on Wednesday morning.

CCB International, a sponsor of the company's initial share sale, the stock exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission all declined to comment.

A number of recently listed companies have issued profit warnings and disappointing results, despite the city's regulators imposing more stringent rules aimed at lifting quality and corporate governance standards.