After less than three years spent bailing out the balance sheet of China’s third-largest property developer by sales, Country Garden chief financial officer Wu Jianbin has left the company citing personal reasons.
“Mr Wu Jianbin has tendered resignation from his positions… due to his plan to devote more time to his personal interests (photography and writing), with effect from 1 April 2017,” Country Garden said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange dated Wednesday. Also departing the company are executive directors Su Rubo and Ou Xueming, who are said to be retiring. Non-executive director Huang Xiao also tendered her resignation from the board and the audit committee.
“(Mr Si, Mr Ou, Ms Huang and) Mr Wu have all confirmed that they have no disagreement with the board and there are no other matters in relation to their resignations that need to be brought to the attention of the holders of securities of the company,” the statement added. The resignations of three of the company’s 13 executive directors came within days of the end of Country Garden’s fiscal year on December 31st.
Wu on the Way After Balance Sheet Victories
Wu, who had joined Country Garden from state-owned rival China Overseas Land in 2014 had made it his mission to cut the developer’s cost of borrowing in half, after a spate of overseas bond issues had left the Guangzhou-based company facing balance sheet issues.
The 30 year finance veteran had restructured significant amounts of Country Garden’s debt, including arranging a HK$4.5 billion club loan in 2014 and a $340 million Islamic bond issued in Malaysia in 2015. According to a statement by Moody’s Investors Service in November, the developer had reduced its short-term borrowings to RMB 17.8 billion by the end of June last year, down from RMB 22.8 billion at the end of 2015.
Wu Jianbin will be succeeded at Country Garden by Wu Bijun (no relation), who joined the company in 2005 and previously had served as a vice president. Wu Bijun, 43, had previously worked for China Construction Bank in Jingzhou of Hubei, Guangdong Foshan Zhixin Certified Public Accountants, and the Finance Bureau of Shunde in Guangdong province.
Country Garden Among China’s Biggest Cross-Border Players
Previously, Country Garden was perhaps best known for founder and chairman Yeung Kwok Keung, having made his daughter, Yang Huiyan, the company’s largest shareholder and China’s richest woman by transferring his entire stake in the company to her in 2005, when she was just 25 years old.
More recently, the developer has gained fame for its ambitious plans to build a $121 billion, 2000 hectare development on a set of reclaimed islands in Malaysia’s Iskandar, close to Singapore. The company also has cr0ss-border investments in Australia and Indonesia.
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