China Huiyuan Juice Group – once a $2.4bn takeover target for The Coca-Cola Company – suspended trading in its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today due to ‘possible inside information’.
At the end of 2012, Nielsen data showed that the firm’s fruit juice and nectars held 54.2% and 44.1% market shares respectively, and are mostly sold under China’s wildly recognized Huiyuan brand.
CNY 3.98bn ($653m) turnover company Huiyuan revealed the suspension of trades – in its shares and debt securities – in a stock exchange announcement this morning.
Insider information typically involves someone working inside or close to the listed company using special knowledge to place trades. Since the information has not been made public, it is illegal.
Reuters broke the news this morning, and made cryptic mention of speculation from bankers that the halt “could be related to an acquisition”.
China’s ministry of commerce (MOC) announced it had rejected Coke’s bid for Huiyuan in March 2009, stating its fear that the deal would disadvantage competition.
“After the merger, Coca-Cola might use its controlling position in carbonated soft drinks in a way that would force consumers to accept higher prices,” the MOC said at the time.