Shares of lubricant additives supplier Tianhe Chemicals Group resumed trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Thursday after a month-long suspension triggered by an accusation that its June initial public offering was a fraud.
Tianhe continued to insist that its business is above board, but its stock lost a third of its value after trading resumed.
In an Oct. 8 statement posted with the stock exchange, Tianhe called the report by Anonymous Analytics groundless, misleading and malicious, and suggested the organization was trying to manipulate Tianhes stock price so that members could profit from short sale positions. The directors [of Tianhe] are at a loss to understand why a firm such as Anonymous Analytics would publish such a wholly refutable report aside from wanting to directly or indirectly profit from such an action.
Anonymous Analytics is a shadowy research group that does not identify its principals or maintain identified offices. With its stated mission of promoting transparency in the business world, the organization publishes reports on publicly listed companies, accompanied by recommendations to buy or sell their stock. Most of the organizations reports contend that subject companies are significantly over-valued and advise shareholders to sell their stock. In at least some cases, AA members take short sale positions aimed at making profits as share prices drop.
In late August, the organization published a report alleging that Tianhe had committed fraud by exaggerating its profitability and by over-stating the size of its fluourochemical business. It predicted that Tianhe would be exposed and go out of business.
Tianhe refuted the report, but the Hong Kong exchange suspended trading of its stock on Sept. 2 until the company could respond to the claims.
Tianhe issued statements on Oct. 8 and 10 that largely reiterated previous explanations. The Oct. 10 statement insisted that the company maintains only one set of financial records, not two as AA claimed. It also provided documents purported to verify tax payments that it reported in its IPO prospectus. It said AAs claims that Tianhe greatly overstated those payments were based on forged documents.
AA had argued that the anti-mar market where Tianhe claims to sell most of its fluorochemicals is far too small to support the volume of sales that the company reports. AA said anti-mar applications are mostly limited to smartphones and computer tablets. Tianhe countered that AA failed to grasp that anti-mar materials are a family of fluorochemical products that are grouped together based on similar functions, rather than chemical structures. Under Tianhes definition, anti-mar products are used not only to prevent formation of fingerprints, but also to protect surfaces from water, dust and grease.
Tianhes stock price was trading at 1.56 Hong Kong dollars (U.S. $0.20) per share early today, down 35 percent from HKD 2.31 the day before trading was suspended. The share price had dipped as low as HKD 1.22 on Thursday before rebounding.
Clearly, the authors and backers of the reports are seeking to profit from downward manipulation of our stock price, Tianhe Chief Executive Officer Wei Xuan, brother of Tianhe chairman Wei Qi, wrote in the Oct. 8 statement.
Tianhes statement to the stock exchange said company director might buy back stock shares. On Friday the company reported that CEO Wei had bought 63 million shares.
Also on Oct. 8, Tianhe reported that its gross profit for the third quarter of 2014 was RMB 1.22 billion ($200.4 million), an increase of 44 percent from the same period of last year.