China's Fosun billionaire founder Guo assisting authorities with investigation

Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:38am EST
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By Denny Thomas and Lisa Jucca

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Fosun International (0656.HK: Quote) said on Friday its Chairman Guo Guangchang, one of China's best-known entrepreneurs, is assisting authorities with an investigation, after an earlier report said the group lost contact with its billionaire founder.

Guo, the self-styled student of investor Warren Buffett, will still be able to take part in major company decisions through appropriate means, Fosun said, without elaborating.

"The directors of the company are of the view that this investigation has not posed any material adverse impact on the (finances) or operation of the group. The operations of the company remain normal," Fosun International said.

Fosun International's shares and convertible bonds, as well as shares in companies controlled by Guo, were suspended in Hong Kong and the mainland earlier on Friday.

Fosun International said its shares and convertible bonds will resume trade on Dec. 14.

The trading halt on Friday had come after a report by online publication Caixin stoked speculation among company watchers that Guo may have become the latest high-profile Chinese businessman to be quizzed by regulators as part of an anti-corruption crackdown.

Late on Thursday, Caixin quoted unidentified sources saying that Fosun had been unable to reach Guo since noon (0400 GMT) on Dec. 10. A Fosun spokesman in Hong Kong had declined comment on the report or Guo's whereabouts.

China's authorities have been aggressively clamping down on corruption in the financial sector.   Continued...

Billionaire Guo Guangchang, Executive Director and Chairman of Fosun International, attends the annual general meeting of the Chinese conglomerate in Hong Kong, China May 28, 2015.      REUTERS/Bobby Yip