HONG KONG Jan 24 Trading in shares of both
Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning Co Ltd and a sports
talent management company controlled by its founder was
suspended on Thursday, pending the release of an announcement.
Li Ning, which is backed by Singapore sovereign fund GIC
and U.S. private equity fund TPG Capital, and
Viva China Holdings Ltd gave no further details in
brief statements to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
On Wednesday, Li Ning's stock tumbled 5.3 percent after a
Hong Kong media report said the sportswear sector still faced an
inventory overhang, one of the thorniest problems facing
retailers in China.
A former Olympic gymnast, Li Ning said in October he was
selling a stake in China's best-known sportswear group to his
talent management firm Viva China for HK$1.36 billion ($175
million), as the sports sector grapples with an economic
slowdown and fierce competition.
In December, Li Ning warned it would post a substantial 2012
loss due to as much as $288 million in expenses under a plan to
buy back inventory from distributors.
Li Ning, which competes with the likes of Nike Inc
and ANTA Sports Products Ltd, said the plan was needed
to put its distributors back on a long-term growth path amid
fierce competition in a saturated industry.
Shares in Li Ning, which has a market value of $846 million,
are still up more than 23 percent so far this year, while Viva
China has risen 19 percent, outpacing a 4 percent gain in the
benchmark Hang Seng Index.
(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and