OIO investigates Agria's 'good character' status after NYSE delisting

Agria was formally delisted from the New York Stock Exchange last year.

The Overseas Investment Office is investigating the "good character" status of China's Agria Corp, PGG Wrightson's largest shareholder, after the company was formally delisted from the New York Stock Exchange early last year.

"We are aware of the situation in the US in relation to Agria around its delisting from the New York Stock Exchange and concerns raised by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The OIO can confirm that we are investigating Agria's good character. We are unable to make any further comment at this time," an OIO spokesman said in an emailed response to questions.

An Agria-led consortium was given a green light to take an initial stake in rural services firm PGG Wrightson in 2009 and a controlling holding in 2011. Under OIO regulation, "consent cannot be granted unless the people who will control the investment are of good character."

Agria, which owns 50.22 percent of PGG Wrightson through Agria (Singapore) Limited, was formally delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 2, 2017. Trading was halted when an NYSE investigation "uncovered evidence demonstrating that the company and its management engaged in operations contrary to the public interest and not in keeping with sound public policy," Agria said at the time, citing the NYSE.

It went on to say the NYSE claimed to have identified evidence indicating that the company, through a top executive and other intermediaries, engaged in trading intended to artificially inflate Agria's stock price and that it provided incomplete, misleading or false information.

Agria also said it was subpoenaed in December 2015 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission "in connection with a non-public investigation". At the time, it said "the SEC's subpoena is focused on, among other things, Agria's historic and ongoing business operations in China" and that it was cooperating with the investigation.

Wrightson shares fell 3.3 percent to 58 cents but are up 18 percent over the past 12 months.

(BusinessDesk)


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She is should have the shares taken off rhem and a formal sale process taken to find a new owner or sold via a broker to institutional investors.

Maybe even NZ Super takes a stake
The IP in this company around seeds is world leading and should never have been sold to foreign buyers

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The OIO much like the Auckland Council's "independent" hearings panel, has just been another official sounding rubber stamping machine in drag up to this point.
By the time the mess they have created comes to light the stampers are all long gone with their fat pay cheques.

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So 1 year after the NYSE halted trading the OIO thinks it needs to review ..........nothing to do with a change in government in NZ by chance.

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Standard commercial law needs to be applied rather than a nebulous "good character" test applied years after Agria has been operating in NZ.
I am sure that if China started applying these types of arbitrary kangaroo court rules to NZ companies in China there would be howls of anguish emanating from NZ elites.

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When was the last time you applied to set up a company in China or to invest into a Chinese company. A lot more red tape and vetting required at all levels, and I will guarantee you if you do anything wrong or upset the local government etc they will sort that out very quickly also.

Final comment I suspect the Chinese government don't give a toss about Agria.

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Ever heard of the Chinese expression "Heaven is high and the emperor is far away"? I heard it mentioned on NZ TV a few years ago by one of our expert China advisers to explain away shady dealings by NZ companies in China.
Well it seems that the Chinese were not as corrupt as we thought they were as evidenced by the the difficulties Zespri encountered with their double invoicing schemes in China.
NZ needs to be setting a good example and apply business case law rather than a retrospectively applied "good character" law which can mean anything that the OIO wants it to mean.

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If the NYSE, the US Sec has raised concerns about this company then surely the OIO shouldhave a look at them to see if they continue to meet the good character test. What is wrong with that?

In China companies need a business license, the government can and will revoke those as they see fit. This is really nothing more than maybe the OIO does if they believe that Agria is not longer a fit character.

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The Americans are using laws that have been in their law book for many decades and applies to everyone, American or Foreigner, which is great. We are using a 'good character' test which only applies to overseas companies and can easily be construed as being racist.
If we want to convict a foreign company it should be because they have broken an actual NZ law, not because we don't like their character.
If the Chinese were to fine Fonterra because they think Fonterra employees are arrogant and condescending we would complain because we understand the difference between bad character and unlawful behaviour. Unlawful means an actual law was broken. Good/Bad character means nothing its whether an actual law in our lawbook is broken.

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Not sure that Agria has broken any law in the US - they are just suspected of stuff etc. hence the suspension. One assumes OIO will take into account that nothing has been proven and that might influence thier decision.

The NZ law states you need to be of good character, if the OIO deem that to be the case then they have broken the law. a Lot of the law is a judgement call.

If you are saying the OIO should allow anyone in then I think that is nuts. What stops known criminals / terriorists etc from buying up in NZ.

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There are lots of dodgy companies that set up business in NZ.
I wish someone in NZ would crack down on them. See all the articles in interest.co begging the government to something about it. The govt turns a blind eye towards it, possibly because it is so profitable for some of our lawyers who help it happen. The panama papers exposed some of it.
Now that you have got me started, what about Fuji Xerox and government procurement contracts.
If only NZ would start to look at our own corrupt business practices first before picking fights with China we might actually get somewhere.

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Don't disagree.

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