Amer International Group, a little-known Chinese private company that makes cable and copper products, is in discussions with Fanya Metal Exchange about a $5 billion buyout that could rescue the beleaguered metals exchange—and potentially placate thousands of angry investors.
Chinese investors in Fanya who may have lost over $6 billion have been protesting for days to try to spur the Chinese government to bail them out, as Quartz has previously reported.
An Amer International spokeswoman told Quartz on July 22 that the company’s founder and CEO, Wang Wenying, had discussed a buyout with Fanya, but she added there is no guarantee it will happen. A Fanya subsidiary posted an unsourced article (link in Chinese) on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo on July 17 saying Amer International is to spend $4.8 billion to take over 51% of Fanya’s shares. The deal, the article said, is supported by the Yunnan provincial government, where Fanya is based.
Fanya has not responded to calls or emails for comment.
With 15,000 employees and overseas headquarters in Europe and Singapore, Amer International describes itself as a global player in the non-ferrous-metals and semiconductor industries. In 2014 it ranked No. 247 on Fortune’s Global 500 list, posting $957 million in profits, up 14% from the previous year.
According to a Fortune China report (link in Chinese) in 2013, Wang founded the company in 1994 and made power plugs for export. He later moved into cable and wire production before entering the copper industry in 2005 because of how easily investments there could be turned into cash. “I’ve done research on all the industries in the world, and copper is the most liquid,” Wang told Fortune China.
“Amer” is derived from “America,” Wang told Fortune, and he intends “to create an empire as rich as the United States.” Wang can recite the names of all of China’s provincial governors and party secretaries, Fortune China noted. The company’s offices in Shenzhen are decorated with photos of Wang alongside foreign politicians like former UK prime minister Tony Blair and former US treasury secretary Hank Paulson, as another Fortune report noted.
Amer International’s website shows Wang frequently leads delegations to meet high-profile party secretaries of different Chinese provinces—the kind of meetings that often result in a deal with the local government.
Talking about dealmaking with Fortune China in 2013, Wang said: “If we want to merge with an enterprise, we might have already been watching it for five or even 10 years. When the chance comes, when it can not run anymore, we’ll eat it.”
Judging from his latest talks, Fanya Metals Exchange might be Amer International’s next meal.