(Yicai Global) Jan. 24 -- China Yurun Food Group's shares have surged after the meat packer's billionaire founder, who disappeared nearly four years ago following a corruption probe, unexpectedly came home.
Yurun Food received word from Zhu Yicai's family that its honorary chairman and senior board adviser had returned home, the Nanjing-Based company said in a statement on Jan. 22.
The company's stock [HKG:1068] soared almost 30 percent yesterday to close at HKD1.07 (14 US cents). The shares had hit a 52-week low of 58 Hong Kong cents at the end of October. Today, they ended 1.9 percent higher at HKD1.09 each.
Yurun Food had operational difficulties after Zhu went missing. Revenue fell 40 percent over two years to HKD12.1 billion in 2017.
Zhu held an almost 26 percent stake in Yurun Food as of Jan. 22 and is still the firm's actual controller, public information shows. But he doesn't take part in the company's daily operations.
Forbes' Rich List
The 52-year-old founded Yurun Food in 1993 and turned it into one of the largest pork producers in China. With a joint personal fortune of CNY10.3 billion (USD1.5 billion), Zhu and his wife ranked 51st on Forbes' list of the richest people in China in 2012.
The Supreme People's Procuratorate, the country's top agency for investigations and prosecutions, ordered Zhu to be placed under 'house arrest' in March 2015. He was held at an unspecified location. It was reported that the move may have been related to the acquisition of state-owned enterprises at low prices or even for nothing, and an unauthorized entry into the real estate sector.
Yurun Food got into the property sector in 2002. It bought state companies and turned the sites into logistics centers for farm products. The firm's property ownership exceeded 60 million square meters at the end of 2013.
Zhu also controls Shanghai-listed department store operator Nanjing Central Emporium. Its stock [SHA:600280] climbed by the daily trading limit of 10 percent yesterday and today. The shares closed at CNY4.94 (73 US cents).
Editor: Emmi Laine