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China Green Tumbles After Delaying Earnings Approval

China Green Holdings Ltd. plunged a record 45 percent in Hong Kong trading after the producer of fruit and vegetables delayed reporting annual results because its auditor needed more time.

The stock ended 37 percent down at HK$5.54 after tumbling the most since listing in January 2004 to HK$4.84 in earlier trading. A board meeting scheduled for yesterday was postponed to Aug. 30 because the auditor needed “to gather further information,” the company said in a statement yesterday.

“The announcement that the auditors need more time has unnerved some investors and they’ve started dumping the stock,” said Lawrence Chor, an analyst at Taifook Securities Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. China Green’s management didn’t appear at an earnings briefing with analysts scheduled for yesterday, he said.

China Green’s headquarters are in Xiamen in eastern China and it employs 8,000 workers, about half of whom work on its farms, according to a statement on its website. The company said in a statement today it was unaware of any reason for the decline in price.

“The company emphasizes that its day-to-day operation is business as usual,” it said in a separate statement released to the press.

Gary Li, a public relations account director at Hill & Knowlton Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong employed by China Green, declined to comment on why the auditors need more time to complete the results for the year ended in April. Nobody at auditor CCIF CPA Ltd. in Hong Kong was immediately available for comment.

Companies reporting by the end of April have until the end of August to report earnings or face possible sanctions for breaching listing rules, said Scott Sapp, a spokesman for the Hong Kong stock exchange, without elaborating.

Of the 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, 11 rated China Green shares a “Buy.” One rates the stock a “Sell.” The food company posted a profit of 454.9 million yuan in the year ended April last year.

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