Shares in Yingde Gases rose as much as 2.4 per cent after shareholders voted to remove the company’s chairman, ending a rare public boardroom battle and setting the stage for a potential bidding war.
Zhao Xiangti was removed as a chairman and director of the company alongside four others in a vote held on Wednesday. Mr Zhao’s removal follows a public spat that began four months ago after he ousted Yingde’s founders, Zhongguo Sun and Trevor Strutt, from the company in a boardroom coup and installed himself as chairman.
On Tuesday ahead of the vote, the fight became even more intense with Mr Sun and Mr Strutt asking Hong Kong’s Commercial Crime Bureau to investigate Mr Zhao for possible crimes including false statements, fraud and threatening investors. Yingde Gases hit back, calling the allegations “baseless and spurious” and nothing more than a diversionary tactic ahead of Wednesday’s double EGM.
Mr Sun and Mr Strutt on Wednesday survived a proposal from Mr Zhao to remove them from the board. Investors hope the pair will now move more quickly to sell the company, which has so far received a non-bonding offer from Air Products at between HK$5.50 and HK$6 a share and a firm bid from PAG Capital, the Asian private equity group, at HK$6 a share.