NYSE in 180° reversal on Chinese telco share listings

China Telecom.jpg

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has halted its plan to delist the shares of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

The exchange gave no clear explanation, saying only that that decision was taken “in light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities”. It did not name the regulatory authorities.

Thedecision to delist had been directly attributed to President Donald Trump’s executive order in November 2020 that identified all three as having connections with the Chinese military.

The three companies all have American Depositary Shares (ADSs) listed on the exchange.

China Telecom said earlier that its ADSs amounted to just 0.57% of its shares. The shutdown had been due to take place at 04:00 Eastern time on 7 January.

The company said, before the NYSE lifted the ban, that it is “seeking professional advice with a view to safeguard the legitimate interests of the company”. Its shares continue to be listed in Hong Kong.

President-elect Joe Biden, who is due to take office at 12:00 ET on Wednesday 20 January, could in theory reverse Trump’s executive order which led the NYSE to threaten to block share trading. However, Trump’s wide range of China decisions are unlikely to be a priority.

The NYSE decision does not affect the threat of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to withdraw telecoms licences of China Telecom and China Unicom. It has already refused to grant a licence to China Mobile.