Chairman of steelmaker Hoa Sen takes refuge in Buddhist ‘jewels’

By Thien Ngan   July 17, 2020 | 09:26 pm GMT+7
Chairman of steelmaker Hoa Sen takes refuge in Buddhist ‘jewels’
Le Phuoc Vu (kneeling in gray robe, folded hands), chairman of the Hoa Sen Group, participates in a Buddhist ceremony taking refuge in The Three Jewels, in July 2020. Photo courtesy of the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam.

Giant steelmaker Hoa Sen Group’s chairman Le Phuoc Vu, has deepened his Buddhist faith, undergoing a ceremony to take refuge in the Three Jewels.

The Three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha – the Enlightened One, the teachings of the Enlightened One and monastic order that practices the teachings.

The ceremony is an important step for one who accepts Buddhism, according to the news portal of the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam. It does not require a person to become a renunciate and stay full time in a pagoda.

However, it was not clear what the implication of this ceremony would be for Hoa Sen Group’s business.

A spokesperson of the company told VnExpress Friday that Vu still plays an important role in the company, and that he will participate in an extraordinary general meeting next month to answer shareholders’ questions on issuing shares to strategic investors.

Nguyen The Minh, head of retail research at brokerage Yuanta Vietnam, said that at the moment, it was not possible to estimate the impact Vu's ceremony will have on the operation and price of Hoa Sen’s HSG shares, as the group's management has not come out with any official announcement on the chairman's role.

It is likely that there is a short term effect based on sentiments of individual investors who might worry that Vu may cut back on his role, exerting some selling pressure on the stock.

Vu has been a key executive of Hoa Sen since he founded the company and a prominent figure in the steel industry, so any major effect on HSG shares will depend on his future role in the company, Minh said.

Over the last five days HSG prices have dropped by 2.5 percent to VND11,550 ($0.5) per share.

Vu had said earlier this year that he had not been frequently present at the company for the last three years, but still worked remotely.

During any crisis or important development, he called the CEO and deputy chairman every day to be updated; otherwise he called every two or three days, he said.

"I often stay up in the mountains and sometimes travel abroad to visit wife and children. The management board of the company is mature and not dependent on me. It would be a mistake for a public company with 20,000 shareholders to rely on me," he said.

Two companies that Vu owns have been divesting from Hoa Sen in recent months. One of them, Hoa Sen Holdings Group, last month sold 20 million shares to reduce its stake from 20.95 percent to 16.45 percent.

Hoa Sen reported a post-tax profit of VND690 billion ($30 million) in the first nine months of the 2019-2020 financial year, exceeding its target by 72 percent.

 
 
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