How does an animation studio turn around to become a brokerage business? Ask Imagi International

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 January, 2016, 11:20am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 January, 2016, 11:20am

In the latest twist in a convoluted sage, the holding company of Hong Kong-based animation company Imagi International said it has decided to change its business focus from work in computer animation and entertainment to financial services.

The company’s stock jumped 4.9 per cent, with massive lot trades placed on Friday morning, flattening the stock’s year to date losses to near-zero as of 10.57am.

The move appears to be a coup made in the absence of two executive directors who have not been sighted since October. Shan Jiuliang, the missing chairman of Fanya Metal Exchange, and Zhang Peng appear to remain on the board, but it has resolved on a 180-degree change on how to allocate the company’s cash made from its sale of the animation business in their absence.

To that end, it has appointed a new general manager along with two executive directors to sit in for the missing pair.

In an announcement filed to the exchange, the company’s new board explained the wave of changes by saying: “The Company has achieved very little in business development since Advance Beauty Holdings Limited, a company jointly owned by Mr Shan and Ms Zhang, became the single largest shareholder of the Company on 16 September 2014.

“It was resolved during a Board meeting held today that the Company shall develop an integrated financial services business including provision of securities brokerage services, placing and underwriting services, corporate finance advisory services, investment advisory and management services, margin financing and money lending business, securities investment and proprietary trading so that they will become the principal businesses of the Group.

“The goal is to establish an integrated financial services business to provide better return to, and enhance value for, the shareholders of the Company.”

Three independent non-executive directors have tendered their resignations.

Local tycoon Francis Leung Pak-to also announced he is selling out his 7.82 per cent stake in the company for HK$218 million to a privately controlled vehicle called Easy Rider Capital. That’s 2.8 times the valuation of his stake when he acquired it.

Little is known of the new owner, Howard Wong. Imagi investor relations manager Amy Chu said the company had only just been informed and did not know of his background.

Shawn Campbell, investor relations manager at Hong Kong-based long-short hedge fund Doric Capital denied Wong was Doric’s managing director of the same name.

Leung will stay on as a chairman of the company and a non-executive director according to Imagi’s announcement.