Business / Companies

Quanjude shares surge on speculation

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-12 08:10
Quanjude shares surge on speculation

Xing Ying, General Manager of Quanjude Group, dusts off an inscribed board during a ceremony to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Quanjude at its Qianmen restaurant in Beijing, 2 July 2014.[Photo/IC]

China Quanjude Group, the iconic restaurant chain renowned for its Peking roast duck, saw its shares hitting the maximum 10 percent rise on Monday, due to market speculation over whether the resignation of four top executives is related to its bidding for McDonald's Corp's licensing rights in China.

The Shenzhen-listed company said on Sunday that its chairman, general manager, board secretary and a board member had offered to resign.

But the company added Chairman Wang Zhiqiang and general manager Xing Ying will remain as board members after they quit. Board secretary Shi Bingfeng will continue serving as the deputy vice-general manager.

The move prompted media speculation on whether a new management team with more acquisition and merger experience would give its bid for McDonald's franchise deal an advantage.

In June McDonald's received more than half a dozen bids for the planned sale of its Chinese mainland and Hong Kong stores, including offers from Beijing Tourism Group, the biggest shareholder of Quanjude, Sanpower Group and China National Chemical Corporation, in a deal worth about $3 billion, according to media reports.

McDonald's is offering a 20-year master franchise agreement to buyers as part of the deal, according to media reports.

In a telephone interview with China Daily on Monday, a woman surnamed Wang from the board office of Quanjude said the resignations and management changes had nothing to do with the McDonald's bidding.

"It is a normal change of management," said Wang. She added the company did not know where there was "exaggeration" in the market about it or speculation linking "two irrelevant matters".

Quanjude is controlled by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission in Beijing. Its largest shareholder is Beijing Tourism Group, with 42.67 percent of its shares, and Quanjude is the only listed catering enterprise owned by the parent.

Beijing Tourism Group also owns more than 80 catering and food brands including the well-known Beijing hotpot chain Beijing Donglaishun Group Co Ltd.

Quanjude's parent company has been seeking a restructuring of the State-owned food and beverage operations since 2014.

According to Eastern Securities, Quanjude wants to speed up mergers and acquisition plans.

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