The Shanghai Stock Exchange has censured China Eastern Airlines for failing to disclose a major aircraft purchase deal last year. The company also did not convene a board meeting or a shareholders' meeting to approve the deal as required under listing rules, according to the exchange. China's second-largest airline signed an agreement in December last year to acquire aircraft worth 4.52 billion yuan (about HK$4.23 billion) from an overseas company, which accounted for 68 per cent of the carrier's audited net asset value of 6.68 billion yuan at the end of 1999, the exchange said. In January this year, a China Eastern board meeting approved a resolution pertaining to the agreement, on 'introducing 15 short-haul aircraft over [an unspecified number of] years.' The resolution involved 2.1 billion yuan, or 31 per cent of its audited net asset value at the end of 1999. The stock exchange said the company did not disclose the matter on time. 'Because of the above behaviour, China Eastern has seriously breached the stock exchange's listing rule (section 7 clause 2) and its company article,' the exchange said. 'The exchange has decided to publicly censure the company according to listing rule No 12.1.' China Eastern spokesman Luo Zhuping declined to comment on the reason for the non-disclosure. He also would not say from which overseas company China Eastern had agreed to buy the aircraft, nor the number of aircraft which were scheduled to be delivered in each of the contracted years. 'All we can say about the matter has been disclosed in the [exchange's] statement,' he said. Brokerage analysts said they were unaware of the acquisition agreement, adding the aircraft were likely to be bought on lease terms. 'According to the information I have, China Eastern had a total fleet of 61 last year, which is scheduled to increase to 71 this year and 73 next year,' one analyst said. 'It's surprising the company did not disclose such a major deal.' Meanwhile, a spokesman for China Southern Airlines - China's largest domestic carrier - said no date had been set for the airline to sign a contract with Boeing, the giant aircraft-maker based in the United States, on the purchase of 20 aircraft. The signing was delayed due to the terrorist attacks in the US earlier this month. Also early this month, China Southern said it was expecting to sign a US$800 million 10-year finance lease agreement to acquire 20 Boeing 737-800 aircraft from next year to 2005 to replace its older 737 fleet.