Regulator only requested trade halts six times since 2011
* Previously ordered suspensions of Hanergy. Hontex shares
* Huishan has missed loan payments, board members have quit (Adds Huishan’s latest statements in paragraph 3 and 5)
By Elzio Barreto
HONG KONG, May 8 Hong Kong’s securities regulator ordered all trading in China Huishan Dairy Holding Co Ltd shares to be suspended on Monday, indefinitely extending a suspension in place for more than a month as concerns about the company’s finances grow.
The unusual move by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) follows a warning by China’s largest integrated dairy firm last month that it was unable to operate because most of its board had quit.
Huishan said in a statement it had received notice from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of the suspension.
The SFC can issue so-called Rule 8 directions under Hong Kong’s listing rules “on grounds that the market is misinformed, disorderly or unfair”.
The dairy company also said on Monday that Bank of China’s Macau branch had requested it repay the principal of a $50 million loan dated April 28, 2014, and interest of $937,363.11 by May 16.
Huishan’s stock has been suspended at the company’s request since March 24, when it plunged 85 percent. The firm has missed loan payments and lost contact with a key executive in charge of its finances and cash.
The SFC declined to comment on the reason for the halt in trading on Monday. Last month, Ashley Alder, head of the regulator, declined to say whether the watchdog was investigating Huishan but said it would continue in its efforts to investigate initial public offering (IPO) sponsor failings.
Huishan, which went public in a $1.3 billion IPO in 2013, did not reply to a request for comment.