A lawyer with the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims said Monday that a major bear bile producer should be disqualified from issuing an IPO because it violated the franchising law in 2010.
The company, Guizhentang, harvests the bile of bears it keeps in captivity, which it uses to make traditional Chinese medicine. Earlier this year animal welfare groups were outraged after the company announced plans to go public.
The lawyer, Zang Yun, told the Global Times that the center had detected some problems in the franchise endowment registration of the company, but would not provide specific details which he has forwarded to the Ministry of Commerce. Zang said that any company found guilty of a crime is disqualified from going public for three years.
Zang said he was representing the Beijing-based environmental NGO Friends of Nature, when he asked the Ministry of Commerce a week ago to make the company's corporate record public.
"If the problems we found are proved to be true, the IPO plan of Guizhentang is very likely to be blocked," said Zang.
Zhang Zhiyun, a board member of Guizhentang, told the 21st Century Business Herald that "the company has been carrying forward its IPO plan, but has not made a timetable."
The protests against the reported extraction of bear bile became especially intense when Guizhentang's name was found on a list of IPO candidates in early February.
The company's IPO plan slowed after it was accused by many animal protection NGOs of maltreating the hundreds of bears it holds in captivity.
According to Zhang, the company's application is still being reviewed by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
Wu Xiaohong, the spokesperson of Animal Asia Foundation, told the Global Times that the foundation had been paying close attention to Guizhentang's IPO plan.
"We will persist in making the bear bile industries disappear. We also hope the authorities would make a responsible decision," said Wu.
A telephone survey of 43 fund managers conducted by the Shenzhen-based Security Times found that more than half said Guizhentang should not go public, and nearly 80 percent said they would not promote the stock if the company is successfully listed