Executive’s tongue-in-cheek pledge to commit hara-kiri if his lithium battery firm doesn’t hit market cap target draws warning from Shanghai Stock Exchange

·2 min read

Nuode Investment, a maker of foils for lithium ion batteries, has received a warning from the Shanghai Stock Exchange after an executive made a bet that he would commit hara-kiri if the company failed to meet a market-cap target.

The Shenzhen-based firm, whose stock has surged this year, drew the regulator’s attention after vice general manager Chen Yubi posted on his personal WeChat account on Friday that he would commit the dramatic Japanese-style suicide should Nuode’s market value not increase to 50 billion yuan (US$7.8 billion) next year. The posting quickly went viral in the following days, with some investors saying that Chen’s call was even more bullish than that of sell-side analysts.

Chen’s “inappropriate” comment reflected the company’s flaws when it came to information disclosure and corporate governance, the stock exchange said in a letter to Nuode. The company should provide more training on regulations for board members, supervisors and senior management staff to raise their awareness of compliance with the rules, it said.

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Chen claims to have posted the message publicly by mistake. It was meant to be seen only by a small group of WeChat contacts, Nuode said in an exchange filing on Wednesday. The posting was quickly deleted after Chen spotted the mistake, it said.

The wording that was used was “not serious” but had “an adverse impact on the company,” said Nuode in the filing. “[The post] did not constitute an investment recommendation or represent the company’s view.”

Hara-kiri, also called seppuku in Japanese, is a form of ritual suicide by disembowelment that was practised by ancient samurai warriors who were defeated in wars.

Nuode’s shares surged 6.5 per cent to a record 25.10 yuan in Shanghai on Wednesday. Its market cap has expanded by 171 per cent to 35 billion yuan this year, as strong sales of new-energy vehicles boosted demand for lithium ion batteries globally.

The stock would need to rise by a further 43 per cent to hit the target so confidently predicted by Chen. Its current size puts Nuode at No 470 among the mainland’s listed companies by market cap. A surge to 50 billion yuan would take it into the top 300.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who is, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.

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