Chinese language e-cigarette billionaire Chu Lam Yiu is below investigation from Chinese language authorities, inflicting shares of her firm, Hong Kong-listed Huabao Worldwide, to fall by over 65% on Monday.
Chu, who serves as chair and CEO, is at present below investigation for “suspected disciplinary violations” of an unclear nature, the fragrances and tobacco flavoring provider introduced on Monday.
“Up to the date of this announcement, the company has not been provided with any details of the nature of the suspected violations of Ms. Chu that is currently being investigated,” the corporate mentioned in a submitting to the Hong Kong Inventory Alternate. “The business operation of the Group remains normal.” The corporate famous that the probe is being carried out by the Leiyang Metropolis Supervisory Committee, a authorities physique primarily based in Hunan province, southern China.
Chu, 52, owns roughly 70% of Huabao Worldwide’s shares. Typically dubbed “China’s vaping queen” for overseeing Huabao Worldwide’s entry into the e-cigarette market, Forbes estimates her web price at $2.6 billion as of Monday’s shut. In the newest rankings of China’s richest, printed in November, Forbes estimated Chu’s web price at $5.8 billion.
In 1996, Chu based the precursor to Huabao Worldwide on the age of 26. The corporate started buying and selling on the Hong Kong inventory change by way of a backdoor itemizing after buying a listed firm in 2004, and accomplished a reverse merger a decade after its founding, in 2006.
In 2012, Huabao Worldwide was focused by Nameless Analytics, an arm of the hacker group Nameless, which accused the Chinese language tobacco and perfume firm of overpaying a number of firms it purchased from Chu. Consequently, Huabao Worldwide requested to droop buying and selling of its shares on the Hong Kong inventory change.
Shares in Huabao Worldwide slid by 8% in early August 2021 after state media outlet Xinhua known as for the tightening of restrictions on e-cigarette gross sales, resulting from younger college students discovering methods across the nationwide ban on gross sales of e-cigarettes to these below 18.