Shanxi Coal takes Decheng to court over payment issues
Shanxi Coal Imp&Exp Group Co Ltd, the trading arm of the Shanghai-listed Shanxi Coal International Energy Group Co Ltd, said on Friday that it would file a 1 billion yuan ($160.51 million) lawsuit against Qingdao Decheng Resources Co Ltd, the company at the center of a high-profile commodity financing fraud at the Port of Qingdao, for missed payments.
Shanxi Coal said it was suing Decheng along with five other related parties, claiming that they owe the company $120.4 million and 352.5 million yuan in contract payments. In a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Shanxi Coal said that it had entered into a series of agreements with Decheng from July 2012 to December 2013 to act as the latter’s proxy for the import, re-export and domestic sales of commodities including alumina and electrolytic copper, which have a wide range of industrial uses.
Shanxi Coal claimed that it had been directed by Decheng to sell its imports specifically to Kwang Nam (Hong Kong) Co Ltd and the HongKong-basedNewTeam International Holdings Ltd, which are also accused in the lawsuit, but the two companies failed to make the payments.
The lawsuit drew investors’ attention because Decheng has been reported as the main culprit in the Port of Qingdao scandal, where traders allegedly and repeatedly pledged commodities, mainly copper and aluminum, warehoused at the port as collateral to obtain finance from banks.
The 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese business newspaper, reported on June 5 that Decheng conspired with four warehouse operators to pledge 100,000 metric tons of alumina and 2,000 to 3,000 metric tons of copper to multiple banks, and obtained financing of over 1 billion yuan. Authorities at the Port of Qingdao, the world’s seventh busiest, said earlier this month that investigation is ongoing, and it hasn’t given any specific names yet.
Standard Chartered Plc is believed to be one of the lenders involved in the scandal. Chief Executive Peter Sands told Reuters on Friday that Standard Chartered’s total commodity-related exposure around Qingdao Port was about $250 million. “That is across multiple clients, multiple locations, multiple types of facilities, not all of which will be affected,” Sands told Reuters during a conference call.
Citic Resources Holdings Ltd, the commodities trader controlled by Citic Group Inc, China’s largest Stateowned investment company, said in a statement to the Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing on June 18 that it was unable to locate 123,446 metric tons of the 223,270 metric tons of alumina for which it holds title documents at the port.
“The group will conduct its owninvestigation to ascertain why the court has been unable to enforce its sequestration order in respect of all of the group’s alumina,” Citic Resources said in the statement.