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China Vanke and top shareholder face questioning from securities watchdog

[HONG KONG] China Vanke Co and its biggest shareholder received notices on Thursday from China's securities regulator that they had violated disclosure regulations on shareholding changes at the property development company.

China's Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) also requires executives from both parties to meet regulatory officials to discuss the matter, Vanke said in a filing on the Shenzhen stock exchange.

A CSRC spokesman confirmed the investigation at a press conference on Friday afternoon. "Vanke and related shareholders have so far failed to put forward effective measures to iron out their differences," the spokesman was quoted by the regulator's official weibo as saying. "Instead, they have sharpened their contradictions in disregard of the interests of small investors. CSRC expresses its condemnation towards Vanke's management." Vanke has been embroiled in a high-profile corporate battle with financial conglomerate Baoneng, which is its biggest shareholder and has built up a stake of 25 per cent.

Fearing a hostile takeover, Vanke unveiled a US$6.9 billion deal with Shenzhen Metro Group that would dilute Baoneng's stake. Baoneng, for its part, has tried unsuccessfully to oust the Vanke board.