(Repeats to additional subscribers, fixes grammatical error in bullet points)
* Company shares have been suspended since mid-2015
* SFC says Hanergy needs to submit disclosure document
By Elzio Barreto
HONG KONG, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Hanergy Thin Film Power Group , the solar panel maker being investigated by Hong Kong’s securities regulator, said on Monday that it has fired four board members, putting the company closer to resuming trading after a two-year suspension.
Hanergy asked the Hong Kong stock exchange to suspend trading in its shares on May 20, 2015, after losing half its $40 billion market value in only 24 minutes. Eight days later the SFC said it was investigating Hanergy and subsequently directed the bourse to extend the suspension indefinitely. The trading suspension remains in place.
The company terminated the employment of its four independent non-executive directors (INED) after the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) won a ruling in the High Court of Hong Kong banning the four and Hanergy founder and former Chairman Li Hejun from being directors or being involved in the management of any companies in the city.
Li was banned for eight years, while two directors were disqualified for four years and another two directors for three years, Hanergy said in a securities filing.
“In this case, these directors flouted their responsibilities by putting the interests of connected parties before that of the listed company,” the SFC’s executive director of enforcement, Thomas Atkinson, said in a statement.
“The SFC will continue to take action to hold listed company directors accountable for corporate misconduct.”
The regulator has set two requirements to allow trading to resume: one that Li and the four directors “not contest liability” and court orders barring them from managing any corporations in the city, and another for Hanergy to release detailed information about its finances.
“The completion of this matter is an important step towards the resumption of trading of Hanergy’s stock,” Hanergy CEO Si Haijian said in an e-mailed statement, referring to the court ruling.
The company said it has been putting its “best endeavours” into fulfilling the second requirement.
The SFC statement said that Hanergy planned to seek a resumption in share trading, for which it would have to submit a disclosure document to the regulator’s board with detailed information on its business, assets and liabilities.
“There is no assurance that the SFC Board will agree that the trading of Hanergy’s shares on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited may resume,” the statement added. (Reporting by Elzio Barreto and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Christopher Cushing and David Goodman)