China meat firm boss returns home after mysterious disappearance 3 years ago

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - China Yurun Food Group's share price jumped in Hong Kong as its founder and largest shareholder Zhu Yicai returned home after mysteriously disappearing three years ago.

Shares of the Nanjing-based supplier of raw pork and processed meats surged as much as 29 per cent on Wednesday (Jan 23), its biggest intraday gain in more than three years. Trading volume exceeded about 18 times the stock's three-month daily average.

Zhu, who also controls Shanghai-listed shopping centre operator Nanjing Central Emporium Co, had been placed under surveillance at an unspecified location in China since 2015. Nanjing shares gained 2.9 per cent in Shanghai trading. The companies said on Tuesday they received notice from family members of Mr Zhu's return.

While Zhu's disappearance and re-emergence isn't an uncommon occurrence for Chinese executives, investors and the market still react forcefully when news hits. At least three Chinese executives of Hong Kong-listed companies have vanished from public view last year, following four other missing chiefs between 2014 and 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Missing bosses in many cases "assist" graft probes or themselves become the subject of investigations into corruption or financial crimes in China. Their companies sometimes lose contact with them in a country where disciplinary and legal procedures remain opaque.

Real Nutriceutical Group last month removed Wang Fucai as executive director following an extraordinary general meeting. The company said in August that it was unable to contact Wang who was being probed in China for alleged "illegal absorption of public deposits".