UPDATE 1-Trading of China Rongsheng shares suspended - HKEx
HONG KONG, July 4 (Reuters) - Trading in shares of China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd, one of China's largest shipbuilders, was suspended on Thursday pending a clarification of news articles, according to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
China Rongsheng, suffering from a downturn in the global shipping industry, has laid off about 8,000 people in recent months, according to media reports. The Wall Street Journal said the cuts represented some 40 percent of the firm's workforce.
The cuts reportedly sparked a series of protests by employees earlier this week.
No further details of the share suspension were immediately available and China Rongsheng declined to comment.
On Wednesday, its shares closed 10 percent down at HK$1.06.
China Rongsheng is the country's largest private shipbuilder by accumulated order books, and is the third largest shipbuilder in the world, according to its website.
China Rongsheng is largely based in eastern Jiangsu province and is one of the major heavy industrial conglomerates in the area. It posted a net loss of 572.6 million yuan ($92 million) in 2012, its worst-ever loss due to a vessel supply glut and the weak global economy.
The firm, which went public in Hong Kong in 2010, has been diversifying into offshore engineering to mitigate the impact of a shipping industry downturn, which cut new ship orders for Chinese builders by about half last year.
The Chinese government has been trying to support the domestic shipping industry since the 2008 financial crisis, and local media reports said this week Beijing was considering policies to revive the shipbuilding business.
For a copy of the statement to the Hong Kong exchange, click http://www.hkexnews.hk/listedco/listconews/sehk/2013/0704/LTN20130704055.PDF
(Reporting by Twinnie Siu and Lee Yimou; Writing by James Pomfret. Editing by Dean Yates)