The controlling shareholders of Chinese domestic container shipping operator Antong Holdings, Guo Dongsheng and Guo Dongze, are currently dealing with a serious financial crisis after Guo Dongze’s illegal guarantee scandal was disclosed.
The Guo brothers, the founders of Antong Holdings, together hold 54.32% shares in the company and the shares are currently frozen by courts at the requests of a number of creditors.
In June, Guo Dongze, chairman of Antong, was found to have provided RMB2.07bn ($293m) worth of guarantees with the company’s funds without legal procedures. The amount accounted for about 61% of the company’s total audited assets.
Since then, lawsuits against the company have been stacking up and the company has voluntarily issued a risk warning on its stock trading.
According to Antong, currently total liabilities of the Guo brothers amount to RMB8bn ($1.1bn).
In late July, Guo Dongze transferred his 29.99% voting right to Chengtong Lakeshore Investment Management, a distressed asset management company, through a proxy agreement. The Shanghai Stock Exchange questioned the justification of the move and asked the company to provide a detailed explanation.
Antong Holding is the largest domestic container shipping company in China as well as the 15th largest container shipping company in the world according to Alphaliner ranking, controlling a fleet of 123 ships with total capacity of 148,264 teu. The company went listing on Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2016 through a back-door listing after it acquired chemical trader Heihua Group.