China Unicom withdraws filings of mixed-ownership reform

Updated 2017-08-17 13:30:08 Global Times

State-owned mobile service provider China Unicom has so far withdrawn three filings involving the participation of strategic investors for its mixed-ownership reform which the company sent to the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The two filings published on the website of the Shanghai Stock Exchange were no longer available at 8:30 pm on Wednesday. The filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was also unavailable on Thursday morning.

The filings were initially published at around 5 pm on Wednesday. Under the plan, investors including Tencent Holdings, Baidu, Alibaba and JD.com Inc will purchase 9 billion shares, or 35 percent of the total shares, in the country's second-largest mobile service provider for 6.83 yuan (15 cents) each.

Core company employees will buy about 850 million shares at 3.79 yuan a share, said the filing. China Life, CRRC Corp, Suning and ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing will also be among Unicom's strategic investors.

But CRRC Corp on Thursday morning denied the claimed purchase, according to a filing it sent to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

In terms of the reasons behind the withdrawal, news website yicai.com on Thursday quoted insiders as saying that "China Unicom may revise the deal details and will publish it again when the company confirms." But there will be no change regarding the participation of four Internet companies, and two of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent will become board members, said the report.

However, a report by financial news website caixin.com, citing industry analysts, also noted details regarding the pricing of the new shares and noted that investors' shareholdings may have contradicted the new rules that Chinese security regulators issued in February.

Shares in group firm China Unicom Hong Kong were halted from trading on Thursday "until further notice."

The trading is expected to resume on Monday, the paper.cn said on Thursday, noting that the suspension does not indicate any substantial changes in the mixed-ownership reform plan and is only because of "problems in procedure and techniques."

Trading was also suspended on Wednesday. The company's shares closed at HK.94 (.53) in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

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