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Ping An Insurance Denies Talk of Tax Audit Snags

Ping An Insurance on Thursday denied rumors that it was facing problems related to a tax audit, after its shares in both Hong Kong and Shanghai tumbled 10 percent the previous day.

"Recently there have been various rumors in the market about a routine tax audit of the company by the State Administration of Taxation," Ping An said in a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

"The company has no information that would require disclosure, and the market rumors do not conform with the facts," it said, blaming the speculation for influencing its share price.

Ping An's Shanghai-listed A shares ended down their 10 percent daily limit on Wednesday at 43.04 yuan, hurt also, analysts said, by worries about potential risks in its investment in Dutch-Belgian financial services group Fortis.

In Hong Kong, Ping An's shares fell 10 percent to a three-month intraday low of HK$52.20, before ending down 7.75 percent at HK$53.50.

Ping An said in Thursday's statement that it was currently the subject of a routine tax audit regarding payments from 2004 to 2006, but the audit had not yet been completed.

It added that it had no major news that would require disclosure under exchange rules, including regarding restructuring, acquisitions or capital raising.