(Yicai Global) Oct. 8 -- Zhang Zhenxin, the low-profile founder and chairman of UCF Group, died in London last month leaving the debt-ridden Chinese financial conglomerate in crisis. Shares of the group's Hong Kong-listed units plunged today.
HongDa Financial Holding's stock [HKG:1822] fell 14.8 percent to close at HKD0.023 (USD0.003). Ping An Securities Group Holdings [HKG:0231] dropped 14.5 percent to HKD0.065 (USD0.008).
Zhang, 48, died of complications related to alcoholism on Sept. 18 in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, subsidiary NCF Group said on Oct. 5. Chief Executive Zhang Liqun has been appointed leader of the crisis management team, it added.
Zhang ran a sprawling business empire with investments in a wide range of businesses from financial technology, asset management to peer-to-peer financing. Founded in 2003, Beijing-based UCF was one of China's first privately owned diversified financial holding groups.
Many fintech platforms controlled by UCF, including NCF, have been struggling with overdue debt payments since July. One of the first moves by the crisis management team was to instruct group subsidiaries not to transfer property, change structure or close down so as to retain their assets and enable them to service their debts, according to NCF.
In July, authorities ordered the Chong Sing Holdings FinTech Group, owned by UCF, to cease trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange due to irregularities related to its mobile payment unit UCF Pay, which has since ceased to operate. The company has not released further details.
Chong Sing's share price [HKG:8207] was down to HKD0.012 when trading was suspended on July 8, and its market capitalization had dropped to under HKD300 million (USD38.25 million) from over HKD20 billion (USD2.55 billion) in May last year.