Tuesday, 16 September 2014

SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone


Business Insider 
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kevin spacey usual suspects keyser soze gone vanished
"and like that: he's gone."
This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT)

In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO, Qingyong Wu,  and COO, Minghong Wu,  who apparently left their homes and are untraceable. 
Chan also said most of the company's cash funds have been transferred and are no longer "in the company's range of influence."
So basically the money's gone. 
Shares of Ultrasonic trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange were down as much as 76% on Tuesday.
Tuesday's announcement from the company also follows news on Friday that its COO, Minghong Wu,  would take a six-month leave of absence for health reasons. That announcement said CEO  Qinyong Wu  would assume the COO's responsibilities. 
Now they're both gone.
And to add an even more bizarre twist to the story, in the same announcement that said Ultrasonic's COO would take a leave of absence, Chan, the company's CFO, said he would step down for family reasons on Sept. 30. 
So now we've got two missing executives, who appear to have taken all the company's money, and the top executive left remaining was on his way out the door.
Ultrasonic's market cap, according to Google Finance, is $91 million. Playing microcap Chinese companies listed in Frankfurt comes with, it appears, substantial risks. 
Here's the intraday chart of Ultrasonic shares trading in Frankfurt.
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Ultrasonic intraday
Google Finance

According to its investor relations site, Ultrasonic is "China's Urban Footwear Company."
Ultrasonic AG, which lists on the Frankfurt exchange, is a German corporation with a registered office in Cologne, Germany. This company holds 100% of the shares in China Ultrasonic Outdoorwear Holdings, which is based in Hong Kong.
Here's a schematic of the corporate structure from Ultrasonic's site, which seems less than totally clear.
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ultrasonic_corporatestructure_20131122
Ultrasonic

From Ultrasonic's site, here are the three C-level executives in question.
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Execs Ultrasonic
Ultrasonic

And here is a quick sampling of some of the company's shoes, as well as what appears to be a sales floor from an Ultrasonic retail location.
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ultrasonic sandals
Ultrasonic
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Ultrasonic boots
Ultrasonic
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ultrasonic floor
Ultrasonic

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