Friday 14th January 2011

Dear Reader,

ICBC rights issue - just practising?
We look at the hidden cost of ICBC's mini-rights issue, which raised less than they paid out in last year's dividend. Non-government shareholders could have avoided billions in tax if the bank had just kept the profit instead - unless it plans to cut this year's dividend as well. More likely, the rights issue was just a practise run for something larger next time. (14-Jan-2011)

Minimum wage will reduce some incomes
The road to intervention is paved with unintended consequences. We look at the conflict between the Minimum Wage and the MPF, resulting in some workers receiving less take-home pay and others having very little work incentive beyond 178.5 paid hours per month. We propose adjustments to the MPF threshold and contribution basis for low-income workers to address this. (2-Jan-2011)

Truly pointless bonus issues and splits
Why do boards propose bonus issues and stock splits? We look at the drawbacks and the false and misleading reasons often advanced for such actions. If liquidity is really a concern, then a reduction in board lot size is the simplest and best way to go. Splits and bonuses are more a sign of desperation than of a sophisticated, value-focused board (27-Dec-2010)

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