[SHANGHAI] The Shanghai stock exchange is cracking down on shareholders with controlling stakes in companies who pledge a high percentage of their holdings as collateral for financing, the China Securities Journal said on Friday, without citing sources.
The practice has prompted regulatory concern that a sharp fall in share prices could lead to a sudden change in the controlling shareholders of firms, which could consequently destabilise the market.
The newspaper said the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) has asked controlling shareholders to disclose the share-backed loans they've taken out and to take measures to avoid a credit crisis.
In some cases, they have assisted investors in share disposals in "a safe way".
The controlling shareholders of around 150 firms have pledged over 80 per cent of their shares, the paper said.
For these companies, the SSE has delivered regulatory work letters to the relevant controlling shareholder and asked such investors to set aside funds to mitigate associated risks.
The SSE also looked into whether controlling shareholders had misdirected funds or breached guarantees, and initiated disciplinary procedures for a group of offenders.
The exchange is also finalising new disclosure requirements on share pledges that will require the publication of associated credit arrangements, the paper said.