Last Generation Network News ::NightWatchNews :: Chinese companies pull out of US stock markets




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Michael James Stone
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 Chinese companies pull out of US stock markets
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Chinese companies pull out of US stock markets
Chinese firms leave US stock markets amid complaints about price, accounting scrutiny

By Joe Mcdonald, AP Business Writer | Associated Press – 15 hours ago

Focus Media Holding Ltd.China Everbright Ltd.China Mobile Limited
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A Chinese man walks past a TV advertising screen by Focus Media Holding Ltd. on display near an apartment lift in Beijing Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. Just a few years after Chinese companies lined up to sell shares on Wall Street, a growing number are reversing course and pulling out of U.S. exchanges. 

This week, Focus Media Holding Ltd., announced its chairman and private equity firms want to buy back its U.S.-traded shares and take the Shanghai-based advertising company private. The deal would value Focus Media at $3.5 billion, according to financial information firm Dealogic. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) -- Just a few years after Chinese companies lined up to sell shares on Wall Street, a growing number are reversing course and pulling out of U.S. exchanges.

This week, Focus Media Holding Ltd., announced its chairman and private equity firms want to buy back its U.S.-traded shares and take the Shanghai-based advertising company private. The deal would value Focus Media at $3.5 billion, according to financial information firm Dealogic.

Smaller companies also are withdrawing from U.S. exchanges. In a sign of official encouragement, a Chinese business magazine said a state bank has provided $1 billion in loans to help companies with listings abroad move them to domestic exchanges.

The withdrawals follow accusations of improper accounting by some companies and a deadlock between Beijing and Washington over whether U.S. regulators can oversee their China-based auditors.
Some Chinese companies say they are pulling out of U.S. markets because a low share price fails to reflect the strength of their business. Withdrawing also eliminates the cost of complying with American financial reporting rules.
Focus Media "has been seriously undervalued on U.S. stock markets" and being taken private will help to promote its "long-term strategic development," said a company spokeswoman, Lu Jing.
The company, formed in 2003, operates electronic advertising displays in elevators, grocery stores and other locations.
"We haven't considered whether to list the company on Chinese markets but that possibility has not been excluded," Lu said.

U.S.-traded Chinese companies faced scrutiny after auditors for several quit and others were accused of accounting irregularities. Concerns about company finances have caused share prices to tumble, costing investors several billion dollars.

"Probably all these companies have some questionable accounting, so they may prefer to move out of the U.S., not to come under too much scrutiny," said Marc Faber, managing director of Hong Kong fund management company Marc Faber Ltd.
A financial firm, Muddy Waters Research, accused Focus Media last year of overstating the number of its display panels and questioned acquisitions reported by the company. Focus Media denied the allegations and said independent auditors confirmed the size of its network.

This week, Muddy Waters founder Carson Block said in a statement: "The markets are far better off if a few deep pocketed investors own Focus Media instead of mutual funds and other public shareholders."

The group proposing to take the company private includes its chairman, Jason Nanchun Jiang, and private equity firms Carlyle Group, CITIC Capital Partners, CDH Investments and China Everbright Ltd.

The status of Chinese companies in the United States could be complicated by a dispute between U.S. and Chinese regulators over whether American inspectors will be allowed to examine the work of their China-based audit firms.

Washington wants auditors to hand over documentation on companies that are under investigation but Chinese authorities have barred the release of some information. If a settlement is not reached, the SEC could reject audits by China-based firms, forcing companies to find new auditors.

In May, Beijing took steps to tighten control of local affiliates of major accounting firms by issuing a requirement for Chinese citizens to head those offices.

Dozens of Chinese companies issued shares on Wall Street over the past decade, raising billions of dollars from investors who wanted a stake in the country's booming economy.

Many were private companies that could not raise money on Chinese exchanges that were created to finance state industry or wanted the higher public profile.

Chinese regulators encouraged the move as a way for entrepreneurs to raise money and speed the development of China's economy. But in recent years Beijing has encouraged private companies to issue shares in China to help develop its markets and give Chinese households better investment options.


Regulators have made it easier for private companies to join China's two exchanges in Shanghai and the southern city of Shenzhen, though most listings still are for state enterprises. The Shenzhen exchange created a second board for small companies, imitating the U.S.-based Nasdaq market.

Major state companies such as oil giant PetroChina Ltd. and China Mobile Ltd., the world's biggest phone company by subscribers, also have issued shares abroad. None has indicated it plans to withdraw from foreign stock exchanges.

The economics also are shifting in China's favor.

U.S.-traded companies saw share prices plunge following the 2008 global crisis, while economic growth at home, even after a recent decline, is still forecast at about 8 percent this year. Rising Chinese incomes are creating a bigger pool of money for investment.

"Generally speaking, a company's shares are sold at a higher premium in initial public offerings on Chinese stock markets than on U.S. markets," said Mao Sheng, a market strategist for Huaxi Securities in the western city of Chengdu.
Also, he said, "If the company's business is mainly in China, it will be good for its brand promotion."

Another U.S.-traded company, Fushi Copperweld Inc., announced plans in June by its chairman, Li Fu, and a Hong Kong firm, Abax Global Capital, to take the maker of metallic conductors private.
Muddy Waters cited Fushi Copperweld in April as one of several companies it said dealt with an investment bank that helped enterprises seeking U.S. stock market listings to conceal problems and misrepresent financial information.
Fushi Copperweld denied Muddy Waters' "vague and nonspecific" claims.
The company said its privatization will be financed with loans from the China Development Bank.
Created to support construction of highways and other public works in China, CDB plays a growing role in its corporate expansion abroad. The bank provides credit to buyers of Chinese telecoms gear and other big-ticket goods and has financed building projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
CDB has lent $1 billion "to help Chinese public companies leave the U.S. stock market to return to domestic markets," the business magazine Caixin said last month.
Employees who answered the phone at Fushi Copperweld said no one was available to comment.

Also in June, China TransInfo Technology Corp., a provider of traffic management technology, announced privatization plans to be financed by CDB's Hong Kong branch. A company spokeswoman said she could not comment because the plan is not finalized.

In October, Harbin Pacific Electric Co. withdrew from Nasdaq in a share buyback financed by $400 million in loans from the CDB.
___
Associated Press researchers Fu Ting in Shanghai and Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.
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Last Generation Network News :: NightWatchNews :: US message to Israel: Don’t rely on us




"Last Generation Forums" :: Last Generation Network News :: Last Generation Network News :: NightWatchNews :: US message to Israel: Don’t rely on us
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  AuthorTopic: US message to Israel: Don’t rely on us (Read 24 times)
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 US message to Israel: Don’t rely on us
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‘US message to Israel: Don’t rely on us to finish the job in Iran’

Channel 2 quotes source saying America won’t necessarily join in an Israeli-started offensive; 

White House reiterates call to give diplomatic solution a chanceBy AARON KALMAN and TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF August 13, 2012, 8:54 pm 24 

A US fighter jet during practice maneuvers over the desert. (photo credit: Courtesy/US Air Force by Master Sgt. Benjamin Bloker)RELATED TOPICS
ISRAELI STRIKE ON IRANUS ELECTIONSIRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
The US would not necessarily join in were Israel to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, an unnamed source in the Obama Administration told Israel’s Channel 2 News on Monday.

The US feels a profound commitment to the defense of Israel, and so could be relied upon to protect Israel defensively from the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran, the TV channel quoted the source as saying. But the thrust of the US source’s message to Israel, the TV report said, was “don’t rely on us to finish the job.”

Israeli media has been full of reports in recent days, based on leaks and off-the-record briefings by senior figures, suggesting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are close to deciding on an Israeli attack to thwart Iran — despite opposition from the US, and from current and former domestic security chiefs.

On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US was committed to giving talks with Tehran a chance to bear fruit.

“We continue to believe there is time and space for diplomacy, the opportunity remains for Iran to take advantage of this process,” Carney told reporters, AFP reported.

Carney said he believed talks between the five UN Security Council powers plus Germany, and Iran, should continue.

The negotiations were cut off in the spring after failing to produce any breakthroughs in several rounds of meeting.

A second Israeli TV report on Monday night went so far as to specify the ostensible timeframe for a possible Israeli attack, based in part on a tentative meeting scheduled between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu is set to meet the president — in Washington, rather than as previously thought at the UN General Assembly in New York — between September 28 and October 1. The prime minister, Channel 10 News reported Monday, could not possibly order an Israeli strike on Iran prior to that meeting, where the Iranian threat would presumably be the main subject of discussion. Neither could he order an attack before his tentatively scheduled address to the General Assembly a few days earlier, on September 27 — his last appeal to the international community for firmer action to thwart Iran, according to Channel 10.

The timeframe for an Israeli attack, the report suggested, would thus be sometime between October 2 and the presidential elections on November 6. Immediately after the US elections, Israel could presumably not defy a newly elected president. And fairly soon after that, it might be too late for Israel to stop Iran because of the Iranians’ progress and the limitations of Israel’s military capacity.

Channel 10 went on to predict the likely consequences of an Israeli attack in terms of retaliatory missiles fired by Iran and its allies such as Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

While Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in 2006 saw 4,500 rockets and missiles fired into Israel, an Israeli attack on Iran would prompt the firing of 50,000 missiles into Israel, the report said, citing what it said were “assessments in Jerusalem.” The death toll would be estimated 500 Israelis, it said, citing a figure mentioned in the past by Barak.

The Maariv daily reported on Monday morning that, were Israel to attack Iran, Washington would provide Israel with an air defense “umbrella” against the anticipated retaliation by Tehran and its proxies.

Messages passed from Republican and Democrat policy makers in Washington to Israeli counterparts suggest that should Israel decide to bomb Iran in advance of the US presidential elections in November, Obama would order the American armed forces to join in the military effort, the paper said.

Such an intervention, the sources explained, would all but guarantee Obama a second term in office. If he chose not to act, the president would likely be handing the office over to the Republicans, they said.

Advisers close to Republican candidate Mitt Romney and Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren were among those who passed the messages between Washington and Jerusalem, Maariv claimed. The Israeli embassy in Washington declined to respond to the report.
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