May 20, 2015 / 10:46 AM / 5 years ago

Hong Kong regulator probes Hanergy for market manipulation -source

HONG KONG, May 20 (Reuters) - Chinese green energy firm Hanergy, whose shares plunged nearly 50 percent on Wednesday, is under investigation by Hong Kong’s market watchdog for alleged market manipulation, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

The source said the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) had been investigating Hanergy Thin Film Power Group for several weeks.

“They’re being investigated over market manipulation,” the source said.

Hanergy officials were not available to comment on repeated calls to their Beijing offices.

A spokesman for the SFC declined to comment.

Hanergy’s shares were suspended after less than an hour of trading on Wednesday.

Before the plunge, Hanergy’s market value had soared six-fold in the past year to $37 billion - more than its nearest two dozen rivals combined - even as analysts and market watchers questioned some of its more bullish pronouncements.

More than 170 million Hanergy shares were traded in the first hour of Wednesday’s trading session, far more than its daily average over the past month, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At the request of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company put out a statement in March saying it did not know why its stock had been rising so strongly.

It has been one of the top traded stocks under the landmark Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect scheme, which since last November has allowed mainland traders to deal in Hong Kong stocks and vice versa. (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by James Pomfret and Will Waterman)

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