Business

Bosses and cash vanish at shoe firm Ultrasonic

Ultrasonic sandals Image copyright Ultrasonic

Chinese footwear firm Ultrasonic has announced the disappearance of its chief executive and chief operating officer, along with most of its cash.

The firm, which is listed in Germany, said that both the men, Qingyong Wu and Minghong Wu, had "apparently left their homes and are not traceable".

At the same time, its cash reserves in China and Hong Kong had been transferred and were "no longer in the company's range of influence".

Ultrasonic shares immediately fell 79%.

The Cologne-based firm said its German holding company still had a "relevant six-figure amount" of money under its control, so it was still able to meet its payment obligations as normal.

Ultrasonic's chief financial officer, Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, and the company's supervisory board were in talks with authorities and business partners in an effort to clarify matters, the firm said.

"As soon as new, reliable facts can be verified, they will be disclosed immediately," Ultrasonic's statement on its website concluded.

Rising profits

Ultrasonic specialises in the design, production and sale of shoe soles, sandals, slippers, urban footwear and high-end accessories.

With several facilities in the People's Republic of China, it targets the country's burgeoning middle class.

Ultrasonic had been enjoying steadily rising revenues and profits.

Revenues had grown nearly 10% to 163.8m euros (£130.7m) over the last five years, while net income had risen nearly 14% to 35m euros.

In 2013, the company had over 100m euros of cash reserves.

Tuesday's share price collapse will have wiped about 57m euros off the company's stock market value.

Earlier this year, another Germany-listed Chinese manufacturer, Youbisheng Green Paper, said its chief executive had gone missing without explanation.

It later initiated insolvency proceedings.

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