F&J, the story of a Chinese business ghost

Belt and road Forum
Belt and Road Forum in 2017 (source: brookings.edu)

The Chinese group F&J has been present in Romania for over 20 years. AT least according to their own website: “F&J Europe, part of F&J Group, began operation on Romania market in the mid 90′s, forming one of the group’s strongest profit centres.

Focused on the same businesses – timber, electronic products and household appliances, energy investments, construction and cigarettes producing, but also exploring new opportunities, F&J Europe soon becomes a solid production base and distribution centre.”

The official presentation of the Chinese group F&J in Romania

The previously quoted website mentions three Romanian companies owned by F&J: Lemnking Manufactory SRL (see the dedicated article), China Tobacco International Europe Company SRL (see the dedicated article) and F&J Europe Industry Park.

Furthermore, the F&J official website, the .ro version, presents the activity of F&J Europe Industry Park: “F&J Europe China Enterprise Pack (ECEP) was set up since 2007 which is the year Romania join in EU.

As a Comprehensive Chinese background service company, ECEP take the goal of help more and more Chinese company enter the EU market as our own duty, provide all-around services which are included from set up company to distribute production and accounting law support.

ECEP is located in Parscov Buzau county Romania, near E60 road. ECEP has a surface of 320000 m2, 6500 m2 of professional warehouse, total investment 50 million EURO.

Welcome to Romania! Welcome to ECEP! We will prepare everything well for you, we will be the strong support for your business in the EU!”

F&J, just a cover name

However, in official documents, things are very different. First of all, there is no company called “F&J Europe Industry Park” in Romania. And there never has been.

The main commercial vehicle through which the Chinese operated in Romania was the Chinese company Shanghai F&J Investment and Management Co Ltd. This was responsible for establishing several companies in Buzău. Among them, Vortex International Group SRL in Pârscov, Buzău (initially named Vorton Lighting Industry SRL), F&J International SRL (Pârscov, Buzău), F&J European Investment Development SRL (Pârscov, Buzău), F&J Greenenergy Environment Development SRL (Pârscov, Buzău).

None of them still exists. Vortex International Group SRL was deregistered in 2011, F&J European Investment Development SRL and F&J Greenenergy Environment Development SRL – in 2018, and F&J International SRL in 2019. The last three were deregistered after being legally dissolved: “requirements regarding the headquarters are no longer complied with, as a result of the expiration of the document attesting the right to use the location appointed as headquarters or the transfer of the right of use or property on the location appointed as headquarters, inclusively”.

Therefore, the four companies established by Shanghai F&J Investment and Management Co Ltd – despite the fact that the Chinese are bragging about having an industrial park in Pârscov, Buzău – were left without headquarters and thus were legally dissolved.

The ghost headquarters

It is no coincidence that Lemnking Manufactory SRL and China Tobacco International Europe Company SRL are no longer connected to any of the deregistered SRLs, the shares belonging to the two companies being transferred to certain active companies.

In these circumstances, it is completely unclear who now owns the buildings that, on its website, the F&J group claims as belonging to F&J Europe Industry Park (company which, as earlier established, does not exist in Romania). Judging by one of the pictures, which shows an office building with the name VORTEX on it, we can assume that it belonged, at some point, to the company Vortex International Group SRL (now deregistered).

At any rate, in Romania, the Chinese group F&J is a mere empty shell, far from the objectives proposed by its mother-company almost 30 years ago, according to the international website.

“F&J Group was founded in Europe in 1992. After more than 20 years of development, it has formed an integrated financial service as the engine, industrial investment and integration as the cornerstone, investment and consulting services as the value enhancement, and international asset management and operation as the steady development. (…)

Strategic goals

F&J Group, with strategic foresight always adheres to the management theory of stable development and rational investment. In overseas markets, F&J Group becomes the partner of Chinese enterprises who want to invest and merge at aboard with mansion of international exploration and practice of Chinese enterprises, by its practical experience in overseas investment and making full use of business and government resources in overseas. (…)

F&J International’s strategic layout is based on Shanghai, China and London, as an international investment and consulting operation management centre and technology innovation value-added service platform, radiating the EU market; with Xi’an as an integrated financial service and Slugu production and melting demonstration base, radiation Western China; Romania is the integrated financial service centre and overseas production and processing base and procurement centre, radiating the Central and Eastern European markets.

F&J International is committed to giving full play to the geographical advantages of Xi’an at the new starting point of the Silk Road, with an international offshore innovation centre as an overseas platform, establishing an international investment service system, seizing the market opportunities of the China International Import Expo and creating an international development.

The Slugu innovation model establishes the image of the innovation and development benchmark of the “Central and Eastern Europe 16+1” strategy under the national “Belt and Road” strategy.

To build a platform for overseas and eastern capital investment in the western industry’s industry and finance operation, and become a partner of Chinese companies’ EU investment and international mergers and acquisitions. F&J International’s strategic goal is to become an influential international asset management and operation company of the Silk Road economy.”.

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