Chairman pledges controlling stake in IBO Tech (2708) to China Fortune (0290)
8 February 2019
On 29-Jan-2019, China Fortune Financial Group Ltd (CFF, 0290) announced that it has lent HK$155m at 12% p.a. for 12 months to Shine Well Holdings Limited (Shine Well, BVI). The loan is guaranteed by the borrower's sole director and sole shareholder, who was not named, secured on 223.22m shares of a listed company ("Listco"), which was not named. The percentage of Listco that this collateral represents was not disclosed.
This is typical of the poor level of disclosure permitted by HK's Listing Rules - beneficial owners of counterparties do not have to be named. However, as the lender is not a licensed bank, insurer or stockbroker (a "qualified lender"), it is not exempt from disclosing its security interest in the shares if they are 5% or more of Listco's shares.
So we can tell you from a Disclosure of Interest filed the next day that the Listco is IBO Technology Co Ltd (IBOT, 2708) and the shares represent 55.8% of IBOT. The borrower is owned by Lai Tse Ming (Mr Lai), the Chairman of IBOT, which was listed in HK on 28-Dec-2017. The shares closed on the day of the loan at $1.70, compared with the margin loan of $0.694 per share, for a loan-to-value ratio of 40.8%. The latest closing price was $1.60 on 4-Feb-2019.
However, we note that IBOT has net tangible assets at 30-Sep-2018 of CNY244.4m (then HK$277.7m) or about $0.694 per share, almost exactly the amount of loan per share.
Regulators might think that the pledge of a majority shareholding is price-sensitive information, but IBOT has not made any announcement of the share pledge. Also, Mr Lai and Shine Well have failed to file a disclosure that they have pledged the shares to a non-qualified lender. We have no idea what Mr Lai plans to do with the money, which is presumably worth more than 12% p.a. to him.
We note from our CCASS Analysis System that he originally deposited 213m shares with Fortune (HK) Securities Ltd (FHS), the wholly-owned brokerage subsidiary of CFF, on 10-Jan-2018, 13 days after the listing. FHS was a "Joint Global Coordinator" and "Joint Bookrunner" of the IPO. It appears that all his market purchases since then, from 16-24-Jan-2018, were through FHS, based on CCASS settlement data.
IBOT had 4 pre-IPO investors:
On 8-Jan-2016, Ping An Securities Group (Holdings) Ltd (PAS, 0231) lent Mr Lai HK$30m for 1 year at 15% p.a., exchangable into 9% of the pre-IPO entity. Interest was paid for the first year, then the note was renewed for a further year and the principal and accumulated interest after that was converted into shares at the IPO.
On 11-May-2016 and 7-Jul-2016, Value Convergence Holdings Ltd (VC, 0821) bought a total of 10.5% from Mr Lai for HK$35m (all paid on 7-Jul-2016).
On 3-Jun-2016, Ms Tin Nga Fong (Ms Tin) bought 3% for HK$10m.
On 22-Dec-2016, Mr Yip Man Yung (Mr Yip) bought 6.5% for HK$30m.
After dilution by the IPO, these holdings became 6.75%, 7.875%, 2.25% and 4.875% of the post-IPO company, leaving Mr Lai with 53.25%. PAS owns Ping An Securities Ltd, which was one of the 3 "Joint Lead Managers" in the IPO, alongside FHS.
Ms Tin, also known as "Mrs Hon Tin Nga Fong", is a member of the advisory board of China Fortune Foundation Ltd, and apart from that we know nothing relevant about her. We know nothing about Mr Yip. Based on CCASS movements, we can see that:
PAS deposited its 27.0m shares with its subsidiary, Ping An Securities Ltd, on 29-Dec-2017. The lock-up expired on 28-Jun-2018, and it sold them all at $1.51 on 17-Jul-2018. No buyer emerged, but the shares moved on settlement day to FHS.
VC deposited its 31.5m shares with its subsidiary, VC Brokerage Ltd, on 24-Apr-2018. It topped up its holding to 8.00% on 1-Feb-2018.
Ms Tin's 9m shares were deposited with VC Brokerage on 4-Jan-2018.
Mr Yip's 19.5m shares were deposited with Eternal Pearl Securities Ltd on 8-Jan-2019.
We'll have more to say about CFF, VC and the people behind them in our next article.
Organisations in this story
China Fortune Financial Group Limited
ETERNAL PEARL SECURITIES LIMITED
FORTUNE (HK) SECURITIES LIMITED
IBO Technology Company Limited
Ping An Securities Group (Holdings) Limited
VALUE CONVERGENCE HOLDINGS LIMITED
People in this story
Hon Tin, Candy Nga Fong
Lai, Tse Ming
Yip, Man Yung