Five Chinese state-owned firms including oil giant Sinopec (600028.SS) and China Life Insurance (601628.SS) said on Friday they would delist from the New York Stock Exchange, amid escalating economic and diplomatic tensions with the United States.
The companies, which also include Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co (600688.SS), PetroChina (601857.SS) and Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco) (601600.SS), said in separate statements that they would seek delistings of their American Depository Shares from late August.
The five, which made the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (HFCAA) list in May after they were found to not adhere to U.S regulators’ auditing standards, will maintain their listings in Hong Kong and mainland Chinese markets.
There was no mention of the auditing dispute in independent statements by the Chinese firms indicating their moves, which occur amid escalating tensions after last week’s visit to Taiwan by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement:
“These companies have strictly complied with the rules and regulatory requirements of the U.S. capital market since their listing in the U.S. and made the delisting choice for their own business considerations,”
Several of China’s biggest companies including Alibaba Group Holdings, Baidu Inc, and J.D Com Inc are among almost 270 which made the list and at risk of being delisted.
Alibaba said last week it would switch its Hong Kong secondary listing into a dual primary listing which analysts implied could smooth the way for the Chinese ecommerce giant to convert primary listing venues in the future.
In premarket trade Friday, U.S.-listed shares of oil giant Sinopec and China Life Insurance slid about 4.3% and 5.7%, respectively. PetroChina lost 4.3%, while Aluminium Corporation of China shed 1.7%. Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co dropped 4.1%.
“China is sending a message that its patience is wearing thin in the audit talks,” said Kai Zhan, senior counsel at Chinese law firm Yuanda, who specializes in areas including U.S. sanction compliance and U.S. capital markets.
Washington has long demanded unlimited access to the books of U.S.-listed Chinese companies, but Beijing restricts foreign review of audit documents from local accounting firms, mentioning national security concerns.
The companies said their U.S. traded share volume was small in contrast to those on their other major listing venues. PetroChina said it had never acquired additional capital from its U.S listing and its Shangai and Hong Kong bases “can satisfy the company’s fundraising requirements” along with giving “better protection of the interests of the investors.”
Chalco and China Life said they would apply for delisting on August 22, with it coming into effect 10 days later. PetroChina and Sinopec said their applications would be filed on August 29.
China Mobile (0941.HK), China Telecom (0728.HK), and China Unicom (0762.HK) were delisted from the United States last year after a Trump-era decision to limit investment in Chines technology firms. That ruling has been left unaltered by the Biden administration amid growing tensions.