Ousted directors pledge to seek most attractive options for Yingde shareholders

‘We unequivocally undertake ... we will conduct a sale process for your company with a view to securing an attractive offer for your shares’, say Sun and Strutt

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 10:24pm

The two ousted directors of debt-ridden Yingde Gases Group, mainland China’s largest supplier of industrial gases, have pledged to offer attractive options to shareholders at a meeting arranged for next month as they remain at loggerheads with the company’s management over its future.

Former chief executive Sun Zhongguo and Trevor Strutt, previously the chief operating officer, said in a statement that they would continue to work with financial advisers at Morgan Stanley to seek potential suitors for the company .

“We unequivocally undertake to you, the shareholders, that we will conduct a sale process for your company with a view to securing an attractive offer for your shares and we will commit our shares to such an offer,” the two executives said in the statement, which was published on Wednesday.

Yingde chairman meets Air Products boss to discuss due diligence on possible takeover

Sun and Strutt were redesignated as non-executive directors of the company from executive directors in November and Zhao Xiangti, an executive director, was appointed chairman at a board meeting.

An extraordinary meeting of shareholders is now scheduled for March 8, which is increasingly being seen as a showdown between Sun’s camp and the majority of the board led by Zhao.

The meeting will effectively decide whether Sun and Strutt will be reinstated to their executive director roles to regain the control of Yingde.

Zhao met his counterpart at giant American gas supplier Air Products, Seifollah Ghasemi, earlier this week to discuss due diligence work regarding a possible buyout offer.

Global rival Air Products expressed non-binding interest in taking over Hong Kong-listed Yingde in December.

But a war of words between Air Products and Yingde’s current management broke out after that meeting, adding uncertainty to the corporate drama unfolding at the embattled company.

Air Products criticised Yingde for having no genuine desire of engaging in a due diligence process while Yingde management defended its stance, saying it would not sell the company “on the cheap”.

Shares in Yingde advanced 2.15 per cent on Thursday to close at HK$4.75.