China said to ask loss-making firms to delay posting bad results during party congress

Investors stand at trading terminals in front of electronic stock boards at a securities brokerage in Shanghai, China.
Investors stand at trading terminals in front of electronic stock boards at a securities brokerage in Shanghai, China.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China's securities watchdog has asked some loss-making companies to avoid publishing quarterly results this week as authorities seek to ensure stock-market stability during the Communist Party Congress, according to people familiar with the matter.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission made its requests via the country's stock exchanges, the people said, asking not to be named as they're not authorized to talk to the media. At least 17 Shenzhen-listed companies announced delays to their earnings reports from Oct 20 to Oct 24, up from three during the same period last year, exchange filings show. The CSRC and China's bourses didn't immediately respond to faxed requests for comment.

Chinese regulators have stepped up efforts to quell market volatility during the twice-a-decade congress, a highly-choreographed reshuffling of the country's top leadership that's expected to shape President Xi Jinping's influence into the next decade. While the smallest equity swings in 25 years suggest government interference has worked, critics argue that China's leaders have backpedaled on a pledge to give market forces a more central role in the world's second-largest economy.

Shandong Minhe Animal Husbandry Co, which farms chickens, and Shenzhen Hifuture Electric Co, an electrical equipment maker, were among the Shenzhen-listed companies asked to withhold their results this week, the people said.

Shandong Minhe, which estimated a loss for the January to September period in an Oct 13 filing, said on Sunday that it hasn't finished checking the content of its earnings report and will postpone its release, previously scheduled for Tuesday, to Oct 30. The company's shares have dropped 35 per cent this year and were trading 1 per cent lower at 1:14pm local time on Tuesday.

Shenzhen Hifuture, which also projected a Jan-Sept loss on Oct 13, gave this explanation for a similar delay in a Sunday filing: "We have a lot on our plate to deal with.

Shandong Minhe declined further comment when contacted by Bloomberg News on Tuesday. Shenzhen Hifuture, whose shares have been suspended since January, didn't immediately reply to an email.

Not all Chinese companies refrained from reporting losses this week. Wuhan Guide Infrared Co, a maker of thermal imaging products, announced a third-quarter loss of 1.5 million yuan (S$307,880) on Monday, versus a 3.48 million yuan profit a year earlier. Oriental Times Media Co said the same day it had a third-quarter loss of 2 million yuan.

Most of the Shenzhen-traded companies announcing delays to their results had previously predicted losses or steep earnings declines, filings reviewed by Bloomberg show.