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Agria Announces Final Settlement with the SEC

Date:2018/12/11

HONG KONG, Dec. 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Agria Corporation (“Agria” or “the Company”), today announced that it reached a final settlement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) arising out of an SEC civil investigation, as was announced by the SEC on December 10, 2018.

 

On December 23, 2015, Agria initially received a subpoena from the SEC in connection with a non-public investigation. The SEC’s subpoena was focused on: (i) the accuracy of (a) disclosures related to the nine parcels of land totaling approximately 13,500 acres retained by Agria following the divestiture of Taiyuan Primalights III Agriculture Development Co., Ltd., one of Agria’s consolidated structured entities until it was disposed of in July 2010, and (b) the accounting for the approximately $57.0 million of impairment provision that Agria took for such land parcels in July 2013, and (ii) claims of share price manipulation by certain of Agria’s executive officers in connection with its efforts to maintain its New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) listing status. Subsequently, Agria’s ADSs were delisted on January 2, 2017, in part, due to the failure to satisfy the NYSE’s minimum continued listing criteria.

 

On December 10, 2018, the SEC announced a final settlement with the SEC in connection with the investigation. The settlement, which was agreed to by Agria on a neither admit nor deny basis, related to Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 13a-1 and 13a-16 thereunder. The SEC’s settlement with Agria provides for (i) a cease-and-desist order from committing or causing any violations and any future violations and (ii) a civil monetary penalty in the amount of US$3,000,000. Separately, the SEC also reached a final settlement with Mr. Guanglin Lai on a neither admit nor deny basis, which provides for (i) a cease-and-desist order from committing or causing any violations and any future violations, (ii) an order to cease from acting as an officer or director of any issuer that has a class of securities registered pursuant to the Exchange Act section 12 or that is required to file reports pursuant to Exchange Act section 15(d) for a period of five years, and (iii) a civil monetary penalty in the amount of US$400,000.

 

The New Zealand Overseas Investment Office (the “OIO”) has been informed of the settlements that Agria and Mr. Guanglin Lai have reached with the SEC. It was a condition of OIO’s previous consents for Agria’s acquisition of shares in PGW that Agria remains of “good character”. The OIO has previously indicated that the SEC investigation raises concerns as to Agria’s ongoing good character and any investigation into Agria’s “good character” status under the New Zealand Overseas Investment Act would be put on hold pending the outcome of the SEC process. Both Agria and Mr. Guanglin Lai have been cooperating with the OIO’s investigation into good character concerns arising from the SEC investigation and the SEC settlements that have now been entered into.

 

About Agria Corporation

Agria is a global agricultural company with three principal business segments: Seed and Grain; Crop Protection, Nutrients and Merchandise; and Rural Services. The Seed and Grain segment is engaged in research and development, production and sale of a broad range of seed products and trading of seed and grain products globally. The Crop Protection, Nutrients and Merchandise segment operates an extensive chain of retail stores that supply farm input materials. The Rural Services segment provides livestock trading, wool trading, irrigation and pumping, real estate agency and other agriservices. For more information about Agria Corporation, please visit www.agriacorp.com.

 

Contact:

The Blueshirt Group
Asia
Gary Dvorchak, CFA
Phone (China): +86 (138) 1079-1480
Email: gary@blueshirtgroup.com

United States
Ralph Fong
Phone: +1 (415) 489-2195
Email: ralph@blueshirtgroup.com


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