Li Hejun, the wealthiest man in China, had his personal fortune halved in the space of a few short minutes today.
Shares in the company he founded, Hong Kong-listed Hanergy Thin Solar, were pummeled in trade, falling 47% to HK$3.91 before being suspended. On Tuesday its shares closed at HK$7.37.
The company, after initially offering no reason for the suspension request, issued a second statement soon after requesting the suspension pending “an announcement containing inside information” according to Bloomberg.
Earlier today Hanergy held its annual general meeting and Li, Hanergy’s chairman, was a notable absentee.
According to documents filed recently with the Hong Kong Exchange, Li reportedly increased his stake in the company to 80.79% through share purchases made on April 22 and 23 this year. With 41.7 billion shares on issue, along with today’s 47% collapse, this equates to a paper loss of HK$116.7 billion, or just over US$15 billion based on our calculations.
Today’s plunge is just the latest in a long line of mysterious and bewildering price moves.
Shares in the company, Forbes reported recently, have “surged from HK$1.50 in October to as high as HK$9.07 even though its a solar company that produces a technology that currently makes up a small portion of the overall solar power industry and sells most of what it manufactures to its parent company“.
Not only has the scale of the rally been impressive, according to analysis conducted by the Financial Times, Hanergy’s share price has a mysterious knack of rallying hard in the final 10 minutes of trade most days, something that has delivered a compounded gain of 536% from January 2013 through to February 9 this year.
Whatever the reason for the late splurge, or indeed the entire rally, it’s old news now. The company, like its founder, are unlikely to be number one in China come the start of trade tomorrow.