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China’s Hanergy vows to challenge HK regulator’s stock halt

HONG KONG (AP) — Troubled Chinese solar panel maker Hanergy said Hong Kong’s securities watchdog is demanding documents it’s unable to hand over and vowed to challenge a suspension order that prevents its shares from trading in the Asian financial center.

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group said in a statement late Thursday that it will appeal to the Securities and Futures Commission and may go to court if necessary to challenge the trading halt, which it said was not in the interest of shareholders.

Shares in Hanergy, a unit of Beijing-based Hanergy Holding Group, had already been suspended in Hong Kong since May 20 at the company’s request after they plunged by nearly half in a spectacular meltdown that wiped out $19 billion in market value in less than an hour.

The plunge also slashed Chairman Li Hejun’s fortune, which surged alongside the rapid rise in Hanergy’s stock in the preceding 12 months and had made him, on paper, one of China’s richest people.

Hanergy’s announcement came a day after the SFC took the rare step of issuing its trading halt, which prevents shares from resuming trading even if the company requests it.

In its statement, the company said the regulator ordered the trading halt because it had refused to hand over financial statements for Hanergy Holding and details of outstanding loans taken out by Li. Hanergy said the documents are the parent company’s private financial information and Li’s personal affairs.

Hanergy also shed some light on a possible reason for the stock’s dramatic drop, saying the “significant price fluctuation was caused by speculations of a possibility” that a customer would not complete a deal to purchase solar panel equipment.

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