Yangzijiang: Executive chairman assisting in China investigation

Singapore port and Sentosa islandSingapore port and Sentosa island

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding’s Executive Chairman and controlling shareholder Ren Yuanlin has taken a leave of absence while he assists in a confidential investigation by certain Chinese governmental authorities, the Chinese shipbuilder said Wednesday.

“The intention of the leave of absence is to expedite the completion of the investigation so that he may resume his full-time duties with the group as soon as possible,” Yangzijiang said in a filing to SGX in response to queries over unusual trading activity in its shares last week. On Thursday, the shipbuilder requested a trading halt.

“The businesses and operations of the group are unaffected by the investigation and Mr. Ren Yuanlin’s leave of absence and it is business as usual for the group’s businesses and operations,” Yangzijiang said. “Jingjiang Runyuan Rural Micro-finance Co., Ltd., a company in the group, continues to operate its financing business and it is business as usual for the group’s financing division.”

Ren Yuanlin’s leave of absence began 9 August, Yangzijiang said.

The Business Times reported last week, citing shipping news provider TradeWinds, that shipbuilding sector patron Liu Jianguo was under investigation for “serious disciplinary violations,” based on a statement from the Communist Party’s anti-graft body.

Tradewinds reported Liu was the chairman of a charity foundation set up by Ren Yuanlin, who funds the foundation with annual dividends from his Yangzijiang shareholdings, according to the Business Times.

Yangzijiang warned Wednesday it reserved the right to commence proceedings arising from any falsehoods which may damage the reputation of the group or its directors.

The board added that to the best of its knowledge, none of the other directors nor any of the group companies are the subject of the investigation, and none of the other directors or executive officers has been requested by authorities to assist in the investigation.

Ren Letian, CEO, alternate director and Ren Yuanlin’s son, will assume Ren Yuanlin’s role as director, the filing said.

Yangzijiang requested the trading halt on its shares be lifted on Thursday.

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