Understanding the Yingde Gases corporate drama
Who are the main actors in the Yingde corporate drama?
* Zhao Xiangti - founding shareholder, current chairman, formerly in charge of Yingde’s finances
* Sun Zhongguo - founding shareholder, current non-executive director, former chairman and CEO
* Trevor Strutt - founding shareholder, current non-executive director, former chief operating officer
* He Yuanping - current CEO, also chief financial officer of minority shareholder water treatment firm Beijing OriginWater
* Air Products - a global rival of Yingde that has expressed an interest to take over the firm whose shares had been hit by board and shareholders inflighting
What went wrong?
* Sun and Strutt were voted out of their executive roles in a board meeting without their presence
* Zhao claims Yingde is on the verge of collapse and saddled with debt due to mismanagement and poor handling of customer relations ; Strutt said profit and cash flow track record shows Yingde
is in good shape and claims Zhao created a credit crunch
When did the drama start?
* Early November, when the board meeting took place, and a share placement to Beijing OriginWater was agreed to so that it could become Yingde’s largest shareholder ; the placement was subsequently dropped
How will the drama unfold?
* Amid ongoing infighting, Air Products expressed a non-binding interest to buy all of Yingde’s shares at a big price premium
* Sun and Strutt requested an extraordinary shareholders meeting to let all shareholders decide on their proposal to reinstate their executive roles and to remove the newly appointed directors
* Zhao also requested an extraordinary meeting for shareholders to vote on his proposal to remove Sun and Strutt as non-executive directors
* A board meeting will be held on January 23 to discuss whether to appoint independent board members and an independent financial adviser for Yingde to proceed with discussions with Air Products about its possible takeover offer and to allow the latter to conduct due diligence
Why does it matter?
* At stake is the future of one of China’s largest suppliers of industrial gases such as oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, serving many of the nation’s steel and chemical plants, in an industry that has seen some consolidation globally in recent years. Bond and shareholders are keen to know who will be in charge