China Renaissance Reports Revenue Drop of over 36% after Re-contacting Missing CEO

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Investment bank China Renaissance has reported that it has reestablished contact with CEO Bao Fan, who had previously been detained by Chinese authorities in February.

On 2 April, China Renaissance announced that Chinese audit authorities had informed the company that it would be able to contact chairman and CEO Bao Fan (包凡) to inquire about matters disclosed in its announcements made on 16 and 26 February of this year.

According to the statement, China Renaissance will delay the publication of its 2022 annual report because Chinese authorities have yet to complete required audit procedures.

China Renaissance disclosed that the group’s total revenue and net investment income for 2022 was 1.587 billion yuan, for a year-on-year (YoY) decrease of 36.6%.

In 2022, investment banking revenue and net investment income was 423 million yuan, for a YoY drop of 61.6%, while the investment banking division incurred an operating loss of 76.2 million yuan. Investment management revenue and net investment income were 848 million yuan, for a YoY decrease of 6.9%, while the investment management division suffered an operating loss of 10.99 million yuan.

The company’s net losses attributable to shareholders for the year were 564 million yuan, as compared to net profits attributable to shareholders of 1.624 billion yuan the year previously.

China Renaissance had announced on 26 February that Bao was under investigation by Chinese authorities, and in the process of cooperating with related proceedings. 

“The Board has been informed that Mr. Bao is currently cooperating with the investigation of the relevant Chinese authorities,” China Renaissance said in a statement. 

“The Board reiterate that the current business and operations of the Group remain normal. If any relevant Chinese authorities require the Company to cooperate in accordance with the law, the Company will cooperate with such investigations.”

China Renaissance, which is listed in Hong Kong, has positioned itself as a “comprehensive financial services institution,” with operations covering investment management, private equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, securities issuance and underwriting, securities research and trading, wealth management and other services.

The company has an international reach, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York, and over 700 employees.

Bao prides himself on being a pioneer in modern Chinese investment banking. “When I started my business, I said that I would create an investment bank operated by Chinese people themselves,” Bao once said in an interview. “Many people said I was crazy and that it was impossible for a private enterprise to engage in investment banking (in China). At that time, I had no money, but it didn’t matter.”

State-owned media has reported that the investigation into Bao could be in relation to the illegal activities of Cong Lin (丛林), the former president of China Renaissance, in the ship leasing business. 

Cong Lin assumed the role of president of China Renaissance in July 2020, after previously holding senior roles with ICBC Financial Leasing and ICBC International. 

In October 2017, China Renaissance reportedly took out a loan of US$200 million from ICBC Leasing, before repaying the loan in September 2018, after making its debut in the Hong Kong stock market that month. In September 2022, Cong Lin was detained by Chinese authorities and placed under investigation.