China’s Fosun says online rumors about chairman false after shares fall

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FILE PHOTO: Company logo of Fosun International is seen at the Fosun Fair held alongside the annual general meeting in Hong Kong

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese conglomerate Fosun saw shares in its listed units fall on Thursday, prompting it to refute online rumors that it had lost contact with its billionaire chairman, Guo Guangchang.

The firm said in a statement Guo was in Shaanxi province giving a speech in the city of Xi’an and that online reports he had gone missing were “sheer rumor and malicious slander”.

“Fosun Group’s operations are all normal,” it said.

Shares in Fosun International Ltd, which has businesses ranging from insurance to French holiday firm Club Med, dropped 4 percent in morning trade, while Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd was down 7.5 percent.

A number of high-profile Chinese executives have gone missing for short periods of time, making investors nervous.

Guo was in the spotlight in 2015 when reports that he had gone missing sparked speculation that Fosun had been drawn into Beijing’s corruption crackdown. The company later said that he had been helping police with an investigation that mostly concerned his personal affairs.

Sources told Reuters last month that China’s banking regulator has ordered a group of lenders to assess their exposure to offshore deals by a handful of firms that have been on an overseas buying spree. Those firms include Fosun as well as HNA Group, Dalian Wanda, Anbang Insurance Group and Zhejiang Luosen.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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