© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Fan Bao, founder, Chairman and CEO of China Renaissance Group, an investment bank led by one of the country’s most famed rainmakers, holds a news conference on its IPO in Hong Kong, China September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
By Xie Yu
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Boutique investment bank China Renaissance Holdings said it would delay its audited annual results and suspend its stock trading from Monday, after mainland authorities took away its chairman, Bao Fan, to co-operate with an investigation.
In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, the bank said auditors told it they were unable to complete their audit and sign off on the earnings report until Bao, as controlling shareholder, becomes generally available for contact.
“While the company has used its best efforts to facilitate the requests of the auditors”, those requests are not matters within the control of China Renaissance, the bank said in the filing, adding that the board “was not able to reasonably estimate when it would meet to approve” the 2022 annual results.
Bao, who is also CEO, started the bank in 2005 with a two-person team, seeking to match capital-hungry startups with venture capitalist and private equity investors.
He is known to be well connected in the corporate world and was involved in a string of high-profile tech mergers including the tie-up of ride-hailing firms Didi and Kuaidi, and food delivery giants Meituan and Dianping.
The bank had an unaudited loss of 563.8 million yuan ($81.8 million) for 2022, compared with 1.6 billion yuan worth of net income for the year earlier, Sunday’s filing showed.
Late in February, the bank said in an exchange filing that Bao Fan, its star dealmaker, was co-operating with authorities in their investigation.
Bao’s disappearance in February sent shares in China Renaissance down as much as 50%. The shares remain about 10% down this year.
The bank said the resumption of trade in its shares would depend on the publication of its audited annual results.
Authorities have not issued any official statement regarding Bao’s whereabouts.
The bank said in its filing the board was also considering splitting the roles of chairman and CEO at an appropriate time.