China's Fosun in trade halt amid reports its chairman is 'unreachable'

China's Fosun in trade halt amid reports its chairman is 'unreachable'

Guo Guangchang

Trading has been suspended in the Hong Kong shares of one of China's biggest private investment conglomerates Fosun International.
It comes amid uncertainty over the whereabouts of its chairman, with one report saying Guo Guangchang has been unreachable since noon on
Fosun has interests spanning insurance, real estate and retail. It controls the French holiday group known as Club Med.
Guo Guangchang is one of China's wealthiest men.
Caixin online cited unnamed sources saying Fosun employees had been unable to contact Mr Guo.
It also cited social media messages saying he had last been seen with police in Shanghai.
Fosun International, the parent company of Shanghai-based Fosun Group, was listed in Hong Kong in 2007.
In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday, the firm said its shares would be halted from trade "with effect from 9:00 a.m. on Friday, 11 December 2015 pending the release of an announcement containing inside information".
As part of the statement, Mr Guo's name was included in the list of Fosun's executive directors.

Karishma Vaswani, Asia Business correspondent, BBC News

If Mr Guo has indeed disappeared, he wouldn't be the first high-profile executive in China's financial sector to have gone missing in recent weeks.
There is speculation that this is part of the wider anti-corruption campaign that Beijing launched to clean up various pillars of China's economy - which now includes the financial sector.
If Mr Guo is proved to be part of that, then he would be among the most high-profile Chinese businessmen caught up in it.
He called himself a student of the US investment legend Warren Buffett, and wanted to transform his conglomerate, Fosun, into a top asset management firm.
Fosun has made a number of international acquisitions recently, and is a shareholder in global media companies such as Forbes. It is seen as one of China's most successful firms internationally.

Fosun profile

  • Mr Guo launched Fosun with a group of fellow students in 1992.
  • Headquartered in Shanghai, Fosun's initial success came from pharmaceutical and real estate investments.
  • The firm's business interests and investments now include insurance, industrial operations, real estate and asset management, among others.
  • After nearly two years of takeover efforts, Fosun finally clinched control of the French holiday group Club Mediterranee in February.
  • Today, the conglomerate has a wide range of international investments including Greek fashion brand Folli Follie and the Chase Manhattan building in New York.

Last year, Mr Guo told the BBC of some of the difficulties the private enterprise had faced over the years doing business in China. He said when China's banks were all state-owned that it had been hard to secure long-term loans.
Fosun International posted a 24% rise in profit for the year ending in December 2014 from a year earlier to 6.86bn yuan ($1.1bn). Its shares fell close to 2% on the news, however, by mid-afternoon they had recovered lost ground to be down 0.45%.