Birmingham City owner's shares slump after long suspension ends

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 5:12am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 5:12am

Birmingham International Holdings, owner of English soccer club Birmingham City, slumped the most in more than seven years after it resumed trading following the suspension of the shares in 2011.

The slump followed the resignation of its former chairman, the beleaguered Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung Ka-sing, from all his positions at the English soccer club on Tuesday, as he awaits the verdict in a money-laundering case.

The shares tumbled up to 42 per cent, the biggest drop since May 16, 2006, in Hong Kong trading yesterday. They finished down 34.4 per cent at 10.1 HK cents. The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 213.72 points, or 1 per cent, to 21,647.42 on the day.

A statement on Tuesday by the firm said Yeung resigned "to devote more time to his other personal commitments".

Yeung was succeeded by Cheung Shing, who is also an executive director at state-owned China Oil and Gas Group. Yeung's brother-in-law Ma Shui-cheong has been appointed as executive director of the company.

The colourful tycoon took over City in 2009 but has spent a lot of time in Hong Kong courts since 2011, when he was charged with five counts of money laundering involving HK$723 million.

In 2009, when Yeung took over City for HK$731 million, he made lavish promises of big spending on player transfers. But in 2011, the club was relegated from the Premier League and Yeung was arrested in June that year. His assets were frozen and he was ordered to give up his Barker Road house on The Peak after allegedly defaulting on the mortgage. He was also barred from leaving Hong Kong.

The District Court hearings ended on December 12. The verdict is due on February 28.

Meanwhile, Yeung has sued mainland businessman Chen Lixue over shares of two British Virgin Islands (BVI) companies. According to a High Court writ, in April 2011 Chen signed documents to transfer his 50 shares of Even Glory Holdings and one share of Will Success Holdings to Yeung who paid US$50 and US$1 for the shares respectively.

The writ says Chen failed to ask the two BVI companies to make changes in shareholders and directors despite Yeung's request and also allegedly sold the shares to a third party.

Additional reporting by Austin Chiu