Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Wison executive quits in China corruption probe

Bloomberg

PetroChina Co (中國石油天然氣) supplier Wison Engineering Services Co (惠生工程) said Chinese authorities froze some of its bank accounts and its chief financial officer Chen Wenfeng (陳文峰) quit amid an investigation into graft surrounding the nation’s biggest oil firm.

Regulators questioned Wison about “certain projects,” took records and froze bank accounts, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday.

It was not given reasons for authorities seizing its accounts, although some have been unfrozen.

Wison chairman and founder Hua Bangsong (華邦嵩) and a finance manager at one of its units, Zhao Hongbin (趙宏彬), continue to assist authorities with their probe, the statement said.

“Hua is not contactable and he isn’t able to discharge his daily duties in relation to the group’s business operation and administration,” Wison said. “The company is still liaising with the regulatory authorities, assessing the impact of the investigations on its normal operation, and taking actions to manage cash flow and risks.”

Wison said on Sept. 3 that Hua was helping with unspecified investigations, a day after its shares plunged 16 percent and were suspended from trading.

China is probing PetroChina’s former chairman Jiang Jiemin (蔣潔敏) and four senior executives for graft. The nation’s largest oil producer was Wison’s biggest customer before last year.

Wison’s revenue from contracts with PetroChina was about 111 million yuan (US$18.1 million), or 5.6 percent of total sales, in the first half of this year, according to a statement on Friday last week. Outstanding contracts with PetroChina are worth 204 million yuan, it said.

In last year’s listing document, Wison said it had a nine-year business relationship with PetroChina. In the three years to 2011, its revenue from PetroChina and its subsidiaries amounted to 63 percent, 80 percent and 58 percent of sales, the document said.

Jiang has been dismissed from his post as head of the state assets regulator and is under investigation, Xinhua news agency reported on Sept. 2.

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