Yangzijiang Shipbuilding's Chairman Takes Leave to Aid Investigation
China's largest private shipyard, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, told regulators Wednesday that its executive chairman has stepped away on a temporary leave of absence in order to assist an investigation by the Chinese government.
In a response to an inquiry from the Singapore Exchange's regulatory board, Yangzijiang said that its executive chairman, founder and controlling shareholder, Ren Yuanlin, took a temporary leave beginning August 8. On the same day, rumors of his absence sent the company's stock plummeting by more than 20 percent, prompting Yangzijiang to file a request for an immediate suspension of trading.
"Mr. Ren Yuanlin . . . is currently assisting in a confidential investigation carried out by certain PRC governmental authorities," the shipbuilder wrote. "Until 8 August 2019, Mr. Ren Yuanlin had continued to have a decision-making role in respect of major matters of the Company . . . Beginning 9 August 2019, Mr. Ren Yuanlin has been granted a leave of absence by the Board to focus on the investigation."
The reason for Ren Yuanlin's leave is to expedite the completion of the investigation so that he can resume his full-time duties as soon as possible, the company said. Ren Letian, the firm's CEO and Ren Yuanlin's son, has assumed the role of executive chairman in his absence.
Yangzijiang added that to the best of its knowledge, none of the firm's directors, executives or subsidiaries are targets of the Chinese government investigation. Only Ren Yuanlin's assistance has been requested, the firm said, and none of the firm's other employees or its operations are affected. The company has filed a request with the Singapore Exchange to resume trading on Thursday.
The investigation Yangzijiang cited may be an ongoing anticorruption probe into the activities of a former local Chinese Communist Party official with ties to the shipbuilding industry.