June 5, 2017 / 2:26 AM / 6 months ago

Shenhua, Guodian units halt shares, fanning merger speculation

SHANGHAI, June 5 (Reuters) - Chinese energy giants China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd and GD Power Development Co Ltd suspended trading in their shares on Monday citing an unresolved “important” matter, sparking speculation about a potential merger.

The two firms - listed units of China’s largest coal miner, Shenhua Group, and energy producer China Guodian Corp respectively - said they had been informed by their parent firms about an import matter, but there were still major uncertainties and regulatory approvals that needed to be obtained.

Three other of Guodian’s listed units, Guodian Changyuan Electric Power Co Ltd, Yantai LongYuan Power Technology Co Ltd and Ningxia Younglight Chemicals Co Ltd, also suspended their shares on Monday.

The statements from the listed firms did not mention the potential of a merger or refer to asset restructuring.

Beijing is looking to reform its state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including in the energy sector, with aims to create larger, more internationally competitive firms through mega mergers creating huge state-owned giants.

There has been widespread speculation in the industry that Shenhua would merge with another major state power firm.

Shenhua’s Hong Kong-listed shares, which continued to trade, touched a two-year high on Monday after the mainland share suspension. (Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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