Fresh questions emerged yesterday surrounding Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand Group's plan to buy a stake in Ping An Insurance (2318).
CP insists it has enough cash to pay HSBC (0005) US$9.4 billion (HK$73.32 billion) to acquire its 15.6 percent stake in the mainland insurer.
But reports said four CP subsidiaries - directly involved with the stake purchase - have seen a combined 52,500 times gain in their registered capital within a month.
On December 7, a Hong Kong stock exchange filing from Ping An showed the combined registered capital of the four units at US$200,000. But the figure jumped to US$10.5 billion in a separate filing posted at the end of December.
Also, the four units are registered in the British Virgin Islands, so their accounting standards may not be recognized by mainland regulators, Caixin media said.
Earlier, CP said China Development Bank was arranging a loan worth HK$44 billion for the acquisition. But the loan reportedly stalled. Last week there were rumors that the China Insurance Regulatory Commission had called off the deal.
But CP Group said in a statement on Friday that it has enough capital for the acquisition and the CIRC is still reviewing the deal. The stake purchasers are not acting on behalf of any third party, the Thai conglomerate said.
Caixin also quoted an interview with CP vice chairman Tse Ping that Chinese businessman Xiao Jianhua expressed his interest but was turned down by the group.
Xiao issued a letter through a local solicitor to media on Saturday, stating he did not participate in the deal, and has never been involved in any illegal cases.
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