Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Monday, Dec. 9:
Four firms said to seek HK$46 billion in Hong Kong listings in 1Q
Qingdao Port Group Co. and three other companies are said to be planning share sales in Hong Kong in the first quarter, seeking to raise a combined HK$46 billion (US$5.93 billion). The other three companies include The Hong Kong Electric Co. Ltd., which will be spun off from Power Assets Holdings Ltd. (00006.HK) in the form of share staple units to raise HK$39 billion. Qingdao Port and Poly Culture Group Co. Ltd. are reportedly seeking as much as HK$2.34 billion and HK$3.9 billion respectively. Meanwhile, men’s apparel retailer Fujian Nuoqi Co. Ltd. is said to be eyeing about HK$780 million.
StanChart can opt for dividend cut over rights issue, analysts say
Standard Chartered Plc. (02888.HK) may lower its dividend payout ratio, rather than resort to a rights issue, in the event that it has to replenish its capital, analysts said. The lender’s directors are said to have discussed in private whether to issue rights shares for extra capital, The Independent reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The bank, which has estimated that its core capital adequacy ratio will stand at 11.4 percent as of the end of this year, issued a profit alert last week.
ECONOMY AND BUSINESS
China exports growth at 7-month high in November
China’s exports expanded 12.7 percent year on year in November, marking the best growth in seven months, data released by the General Administration of Customs showed. Economists attributed the robust growth to a lower base last year and higher festive season-related demand. However, they believe the growth will come in weaker in the next few months, given the manipulated figures earlier this year that have jacked up the comparison base for the beginning of next year.
Low landing fees, zero corporate tax boost Emirates profit
Interview: The corporate tax exemption and low landing fees at the airport in Dubai has helped the Emirates Group to save on costs, enabling the company to post a lucrative profit despite some market headwinds, said Barry Brown, the carrier’s senior divisional vice president for commercial operations. Emirates has made about HK$4.64 billion profit for the six months through September, up 13 percent from a year ago. The group is expanding services across Europe and Australia through a joint venture with the Qantas Group, but Brown said Emirates has no plans to invest in the Australian carrier.
Hong Kong accountants defend self-regulatory authority
Accounting professionals in the city have taken advantage of the general election of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants to renew their call for the government to refrain from supervision over the industry body. They called on peers to have a tougher stance in reforming the regulatory regime of the industry and not to lose the grip over the authority of the institute to the Financial Reporting Council.
Two pan-democratic parties float ‘three-track’ nomination system for CE poll
The Democratic Party and the Labor Party have endorsed a “three-track” nomination system for the universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election in Hong Kong. They said nominations made through the three channels could become formal candidates after an endorsement by the nominating committee. They include political parties, civil nomination and nominating committee. Democratic Party chairman Emily Lau said the multiple nominating system could allow representatives from different segments of the political spectrum to contest for the top post. She did not rule out the possibility of compromise on their proposal.
Security tightened at CE policy address forum after egg-throwing incident
Hong Kong police tightened security at a policy address consultation session attended by the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying after his top aide Financial Secretary John Tsang was hit by an egg thrown by a protestor at a session on Saturday. Organizers asked 13 protestors to leave the hall after they shouted at the beginning of the session. Leung said he would not scrap plans to meet the people because of the protests.
Leung’s public forum should be reviewed as clashes worsen
The Hong Kong government should review the necessity and practical arrangements of the district consultative sessions held by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in the wake of the worsening clashes among participants. That does not mean such sessions should no longer be held. Certainly, there is room for improvement in the format of the sessions and the way for people to participate. One option is to adopt the model of an RTHK program under which participants were randomly chosen by an independent pollster. Leung could also hold meet-the-people sessions through camera.
Communist Party set to tighten rules on entertainment to curb extravagance
The Chinese Communist Party is poised to adopt a new set of rules in official entertainment by government officials to curb extravagance and decadence, Beijing-based analyst Ren Huiwen wrote. Anti-graft experts in Beijing said excessive spending on official entertainment has taken its toll on the livelihood of staff in departments and enterprises. The loss of government revenue also means spending on livelihood improvement of people would have to be cut back.
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