China meat giant gains after founder reappears

HONG KONG • China Yurun Food Group Ltd jumped in Hong Kong as its founder and largest shareholder Zhu Yicai returned home after mysteriously disappearing three years ago.

Shares of the Nanjing-based supplier of raw pork and processed meats surged 29% yesterday, the most in more than three years. Trading volume exceeded 30 times the stock’s three-month daily average.

Zhu, who also controls Shanghai-listed shopping centre operator Nanjing Central Emporium Co Ltd, had been placed under surveillance at an unspecified location in China since 2015. Nanjing shares gained 10% in Shanghai trading. The companies said on Tuesday they received notice from family members of Zhu’s return.

While Zhu’s disappearance and re-emergence isn’t an uncommon occurrence for Chinese executives, investors and the market still react forcefully when news hits. At least three Chinese executives of Hong Kong-listed companies have vanished from public view last year, following four other missing chiefs between 2014 and 2017.

Missing bosses in many cases “assist” graft probes or themselves become the subject of investigations into corruption or financial crimes in China.

Real Nutriceutical Group Ltd last month removed Wang Fucai as ED following an EGM.

The company said in August that it was unable to contact Wang, who was being probed in China for alleged “illegal absorption of public deposits”. — Bloomberg