Sutor Technology Group Limited, a leading China-based non-state-owned manufacturer and distributor of high-end fine finished steel products and welded steel pipes used by a variety of downstream applications, announced that on 25 June 2012 it received a letter from the staff of the Listing Qualification of the NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, indicating that the company is not in compliance with the $1.00 minimum closing bid price requirement under the NASDAQ Listing Rules.
The Listing Rules require listed securities to maintain a minimum bid price of $1.00 per share. If a NASDAQ-listed company trades below the minimum bid price requirement for 30 consecutive business days, it will be notified of the deficiency. Based upon the Staff's review, the Company no longer meets this requirement. However, the Listing Rules provide the Company with a compliance period of 180 calendar days, or until 24 December 2012 in which to regain compliance with this requirement.
To regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement, the company must have a closing bid price of $1.00 per share or more for a minimum of ten consecutive business days during this compliance period.
In the event that the company does not regain compliance within this period, it may be eligible for additional time to regain compliance by satisfying certain requirements. However, if it appears to NASDAQ that the company will not be able to cure the deficiency, or if Sutor is otherwise not eligible, the staff will notify the company that its securities will be delisted from the NASDAQ Capital Market. However, the Company may still appeal the staff's determination to delist its securities to a Hearing Panel. During any appeal process, the company's common stock would continue to trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market.
The NASDAQ notification letter has no immediate effect on the listing or trading of the company's common stock on the NASDAQ Capital Market. Sutor is currently looking at all of the options available with respect to regaining such compliance.
Since the start of the share buyback program, the Company has repurchased a total of 553,900 shares of its common stock at the average purchase price of $1.12 per share. Since March 31, 2012, the Company has repurchased 94,128 shares at the average purchase price of $0.92 per share. The repurchase program is on-going.
Sutor also announced that it has retained The Equity Group Inc. to provide investor relations services. Founded in 1974, The Equity Group is a full service, New York-based investor relations and financial communications firm specializing in micro- through mid-cap public companies.
Lifang Chen, Sutor's Chairwoman and CEO, commented, "We have known the senior staff of The Equity Group for several years, and believe that now is the right time to intensify our investor communication efforts by engaging the firm. The Equity Group has a solid, long-term track record as a respected, experienced, results-driven investor relations firm. We are pleased that a highly experienced team of IR professionals will assist us in better communicating our Company's accomplishments, strategy and outlook to a larger and more diverse group of investment professionals."
"We are committed to Nasdaq listing. We have been actively pursuing various opportunities to strengthen our market position and seek long-term sustainable growth," concluded Ms. Chen.
Sutor is a leading China-based non-state-owned manufacturer and distributor of high-end fine finished steel products and welded steel pipes used by a variety of downstream applications. The company utilizes a variety of in-house developed processes and technologies to convert steel manufactured by third parties into fine finished steel products, including hot-dip galvanized steel, pre-painted galvanized steel, acid-pickled steel, cold-rolled steel and welded steel pipe products. These products are used for household appliances, solar water heaters, automobiles, information technology, construction, and other applications. Currently Sutor has three operating subsidiaries located in two provinces with 12 major production lines capable of processing approximately 2 million tonnes of steel products annually.