n a comeback story that could really only come out of China, a meat processing giant has seen its stock fortunes soar following the return of the company’s founder who has been incommunicado for nearly four years.
Back in March 2015, China Yurun Food Group Ltd announced that its founder and chairman Zhu Yicai had been placed under “residential surveillance” by authorities for reasons unknown. Since that time, no one has heard a peep from Zhu.
That all changed on Tuesday evening when the company announced in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange that it had received a notice from Zhu’s family that he had returned home. The following day, Yurun’s shares surged by 28.9 percent.
Zhu grew up in a poor family in Anhui province. He started his business back in 1989 with only 200 yuan and dreams of building Asia’s largest meat processing plant. By 2005, his company was listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange and he was ranked as the 24th richest person in China. A decade later, he was still holding firm at 26th on the Hurun Rich List with an estimated net worth of $5.3 billion, However, he quickly disappeared from the list after going into house arrest.
It’s assumed that Zhu’s “disappearance” had to do with China’s corruption crackdown. Caixin reports that before being released Zhu was tried by a Hangzhou court for bribery, but was only found guilty of destroying accounting documents.