China economy

Chairman of another Chinese company goes missing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 May, 2016, 9:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 May, 2016, 5:11pm

The chairman of Kolumb, a Fujian-based outdoor wear manufacturer, has gone “missing”, three days after he couriered a resignation letter to the board.

Wei Qinghua, chairman of the company that is traded on China’s over-the-counter National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) market, resigned as chairman and general manager on the grounds of poor health but kept his post as a board member, Kolumb said in a filing on Tuesday.

Wei owns 42.72 per cent of the company. But he took a loan against his stake in February, broking house Guotai Junan Securities said on Wednesday.

“The company faces the risk of a change of controller if Wei fails to pay back the debts in time...

Guotai Junan Securities has been trying to call up Wei, but failed to communicate with him to confirm the situation,” the announcement said.

Kolumb listed on the NEEQ in December. Earlier company filing shows Wei had borrowed cash against equity in February from a Shanghai-based asset management company and is due to return the money by August 25. The value of the loan is unknown.

Calls to Kolumb on Friday afternoon went unanswered.

Shares of Kolumb have been suspended from trading as the company had failed to deliver the 2015 annual results in time. They results were due on April 30. The company will be removed from the NEEQ if it fails to issue the results by June 30.

The company reported revenues of 210 million yuan for 2013, 148 million yuan for 2014, and 68.7 million yuan for the first five months of last year.

Beijing’s NEEQ is home to nearly 7,000 companies, with a total market capitalisation of 3 trillion yuan (HK$3.56 trillion).

China’s missing tycoon Guo Guangchang back after 'assisting authorities' - but is this the end of the matter?

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has recently put in tough measures to keep retail investors out of this market, which is famous for big swings and lack of liquidity. Like the over-the-counter markets in the US, the lack of liquidity on the NEEQ market makes it an ideal playground for stock manipulators.

Chinese businesspeople have been going “missing” all too often lately, either in connection with anti-corruption probes or over debts, and even love affairs.

In November, Yim Fung, chairman and CEO of Hong Kong-listed Guotai Junan International, went missing for more than a month, claiming he was “assisting investigations by authorities”. In early December, Guo Guangchang, founder of Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Fosun, went missing for one-and-a-half day, also to “assist investigations by the authorities”.