US threatens Chinese energy giants after delisting telecom companies

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Chinese oil majors may be next in line for delisting in the US after the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) said last week it would remove three biggest telecom companies of the Asian nation. 

China’s largest offshore oil producer CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) could be most at risk as it’s on the US’s list of companies it says are owned or controlled by Chinese military. PetroChina and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., also known as Sinopec, may also be under threat as the energy sector is crucial to China’s military.

“More Chinese companies could get delisted in the US and the oil majors could come as the next wave,” said analysts. At the same time, the impact of removing the telecom firms is probably minimal as they were thinly-traded in the US and they haven’t raised much funds there, they said.

The NYSE said it would delist the telecom operators to comply with a US executive order imposing restrictions on companies identified as affiliated with the Chinese military. China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom and China Unicom Hong Kong would all be suspended from trading between January 7 and January 11, and proceedings to delist them have started, the exchange said.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said that given their small amount of US-traded shares the impact on the telecommunications companies would be limited and that they are well-positioned to handle any fallout from the delisting.

“The recent move by some political forces in the US to continuously and groundlessly suppress foreign companies listed on the US markets, even at the cost of undermining its own position in the global capital markets, has demonstrated that US rules and institutions can become arbitrary, reckless and unpredictable,” the CSRC said in a statement.

China’s Ministry of Commerce responded by saying that the country would take necessary action to protect the rights of Chinese companies and it hoped the two countries could work together to create a fair and predictable environment for businesses and investors.