Sino-Forest Corp May Go Private: report

Sino-Forest Corp. (TRE), the Chinese timber company that plunged 74% this year after fraud allegations, said going private is among the options under consideration as it attempts to restore its finances and reputation, according to a Bloomberg report.

The company may also raise additional funds, bring in a strategic investor or seek a merger, Chief Executive Officer Judson Martin reportedly said in an interview.

"It is going to be real tough to get back to where we were," he reportedly said in Hong Kong. "We are up for the challenge, but we are also up for looking for all options for our stakeholders."

Sino-Forest tumbled in June after Carson Block, a short seller, said the company exaggerated its timber holdings. The shares were suspended from the Toronto Stock Exchange in August as Canada's main securities regulator began an investigation. Canadian police also started a probe, Bloomberg noted.

A committee of independent directors set up to investigate the allegations said Nov. 15 in an interim report that they rejected the claim by Block's Muddy Waters LLC research firm that Sino-Forest is a 'Ponzi scheme.' The committee said it confirmed the company's timber assets, book value and cash balance. Still, the interim report also disclosed missing records, a lack of cooperation by some executives and an absence of an internal audit. The committee's final report is due by the year-end.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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