(Bloomberg) -- Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd. has lost about one-third of its market capitalization as its chairman takes a leave of absence to help an investigation of the company by Chinese authorities.
The Singapore-listed Chinese shipbuilder dropped as much as 27% on Thursday to its lowest level since November 2016 as the exchange lifted a trading halt imposed a week ago after a similar-sized plunge. The two-session slide has erased S$1.7 billion ($1.2 billion) in market value.
Ren Yuanlin, who is the company’s controlling shareholder as well as executive chairman, took leave starting Aug. 9 to help expedite the investigation and allow him to return to his duties, Yangzijiang said in a statement Wednesday. The shipbuilder didn’t disclose details of the investigation, saying only that none of its directors and executive officers are the subject of the probe.
Analysts comments were mixed over the impact of Ren’s leave of absence, even as the company said in the statement that “it is business as usual.”
“We acknowledge the chairman’s importance to the group and hence expect that any news surrounding his whereabouts could result in stock price volatility in the near term,” Citi analyst Kwok Wei Chang wrote in a report dated Wednesday. The company has “addressed the uncertainty,” however, and the drop might provide a good chance to buy the shares, Chang said.
The probe is “unlikely to hinder the company’s earnings and long-term strategy,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Chris Muckensturm wrote in a note. The focus of the investigation seems to be on parties external to the company, Muckensturm added.
(Adds comment from Bloomberg Intelligence in last paragraph)
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