China Renaissance shares plunge after investment bank declares chairman unavailable

China Renaissance shares plunge after investment bank declares chairman unavailable

SYDNEY, Feb 17 (Portal) – Shares in China Renaissance Holdings Ltd (1911.HK) fell as much as 50% on Friday after the boutique investment bank said it could not contact chairman and chief executive Bao Fan .

Bao’s disappearance is the latest in a string of high-profile Chinese leaders disappearing without explanation — particularly during a sweeping anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by President Xi Jinping.

In 2015 alone, at least five executives were unavailable to their companies without notice, including Fosun Group chairman Guo Guangchang, who Fosun said later helped investigate a personal matter.

“The Board is not aware of any information to indicate that Mr. Bao’s unavailability is or may be related to the group’s normally ongoing business and/or operations,” the mainland China-based bank said in a filing late Thursday.

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Shares of China Renaissance tumbled 50% in early trade to hit a record low of HK$5, wiped out the HK$2.8 billion market value. It regained some ground, losing 28%. So far as of Friday, 19.04 million shares of China Renaissance have changed hands, the highest number on record.

A spokesman for China Renaissance referred Portal’ request for comment Friday to the investment bank’s public filing.

A well-known dealmaker, Bao is the founder and majority shareholder of China Renaissance, having previously worked at Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N).

Described as one of China’s most connected bankers, he has worked on major tech mergers, including bringing together ride-hailing champions Didi and Kuaidi, food delivery giants Meituan and Dianping, and travel device platforms Ctrip and Qunar.

Bao launched China Renaissance in 2005 and listed it in Hong Kong in 2018 after raising $346 million. The firm has acted as advisor to some of China’s largest technology initial public offerings (IPOs), including those of JD.Com Inc and Kuaishou Technology (1024.HK) and the 2021 listing of Didi in New York.

China Renaissance is also an active investor in the technology sector. In 2019, the company raised more than 6.5 billion yuan ($945 million) in a yuan-denominated fund.

Bao’s disappearance comes days after property developer Seazen Group Ltd (1030.HK) said it had been unable to contact or reach its vice chairman.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (9988.HK) founder Jack Ma’s long absence from the public eye after authorities canceled the IPO of his Ant Group Co Ltd (688688.SS) led to speculation as to his whereabouts. Alibaba has never reported Ma as unavailable, and media outlets have reported that he has been out and about in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.

Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Sydney and Kane Wu and Donny Kwok in Hong Kong; Edited by Christopher Cushing and Jacqueline Wong

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Scott Murdoch

Scott Murdoch has been a journalist for more than two decades, working for and News Corp in Australia. He has specialized in financial journalism for most of his career, covering equity and debt markets across Asia and Australian M&A. It is based in Sydney.