Business

Ultrasonic shoe firm boss denies taking money

Ultrasonic sandals Image copyright Ultrasonic

The chief executive of Chinese footwear firm Ultrasonic, who was reported missing last week along with most of the firm's cash, has spoken to Chinese media and denied wrongdoing.

Qingyong Wu said in an interview with Chinese news service Sina that he had been on holiday with his grandson and had lost his mobile phone.

Last week, Ultrasonic said it had dismissed him from his post.

The firm said he and his son, who is chief operating officer, had vanished.

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".

In response to Mr Wu's interview, Ultrasonic said the chief executive had contacted the firm's chief financial officer, Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, over the weekend to say he would return to the company and bring back the money.

The firm added that its supervisory board had been unable to speak to Mr Wu in person.

Rising revenues

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

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 more than 100m euros of cash reserves.

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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