China's airlines may join the multi-trillion-dollar exit from US stock markets

China’s airlines may join the multi-trillion-dollar exit from US stock markets

BEIJING: The decision by five Chinese state-owned companies to leave US stock exchanges adds to skepticism that authorities in both countries can reach an agreement on disclosure rules, with analysts seeing state-controlled airlines as the next potential group to depart, possibly followed by Internet giants.

China and Hong Kong are the only jurisdictions worldwide that don’t allow inspections by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, with Beijing officials citing national security and confidentiality concerns.

With a deadline for delistings set for 2024 for those firms that aren’t compliant, United States lawmakers are considering passing a bill to bring it forward to next year.

The announcement on Aug 12 by firms including China Life Insurance Co and PetroChina Co could “soon” be followed by China Eastern Airlines Corp and China Southern Airlines Co, according to Redmond Wong, a Greater China market strategist at Saxo Bank.

Shares of those carriers dropped 1.6% and 1.4%, respectively, in mainland trading yesterday. Both airlines are controlled by the Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (Sasac), the same entity that rules over four of the companies that disclosed their US-exit plans last week, he said.

The carriers are among the Chinese companies identified by the US Securities and Exchange Commission as potentially facing delisting at the deadline, he added.

China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. China Eastern Airlines raised US$227mil (RM1bil) in its US initial public offering back in 1997, while China Southern Airlines garnered US$632mil (RM2.8bil) the same year. Shares of both also trade in Hong Kong. —Bloomberg


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