Guo Guangchang, the so-called missing boss of China’s Fosun group, has reappeared four days after he went AWOL, vowing his corporation’s solid connections to China.
The world’s press instantly picked up on Guo’s return to corporate life, with US and UK papers saying he made no mention of the so-called corruption investigation that led to his detention at Shanghai airport last week.
But Portuguese newspapers are buzzing with stories, affirming that Guo’s business-plan appears to have changed in that notwithstanding all the major takeovers in Portugal this year, Fosun group’s focus will now return to China.
“In spite of investment around the world, Fosun’s growth is rooted in China,” Guo told the company’s annual internal conference. “The future structure of the group should be able to show the advantages of staying in China.”
On Friday, shares in Fosun International ceased trading after news that Guo had been detained saw them sink by as much as 13.5%.
Trading however is back on today, and Guo’s appearance at the meeting is understood to have elicited an “extended period” of applause from Fosun employees.
The company has been on “buying spree” since 2014, taking over Portugal’s largest insurer Fidelidade, Espírito Santo Saúde (now rechristened Luz Saúde), buying a stake in REN and even bidding for ownership of trouble-torn Novo Banco.
Elsewhere, it scooped up French tourism operator Club Med, and purchased stakes in Cirque Soleil and Thomas Cook.
While no one seems any the wiser as to the stage of the investigation involving Guo, Fosun executives “have sought to reassure investors about the company’s position”, writes the FT, quoting company president Wang Qunbin saying: “So far the investigation is focusing more on the individual”.
“Fosun is not run by one person, but managed by a group of executives”, Wang added. “The banks have a good understanding about the events, and they will continue to support us”.