Sunday 30th January 2011

Dear Reader,

We have to return to this important subject - because it is exemplary of the interventionist trend that is undermining HK's economic foundations:

SSD, the Basic Law, and a lesson from Singapore
The Government has responded to LegCo on our concerns that the proposed Special Stamp Duty is unconstitutional. We go further in this article, explaining why SSD would not be a legitimate tax protected by Basic Law Article 108. We'll also look at the lesson in political reality from Singapore's 1996-97 experiment, and we propose a fairer, focused alternative, in the form of a withholding system for profits tax. (30-Jan-2011)

CRE: more needed on the port flip
CRE (0291) has issued a bland denial that its parent owes it anything under the profit-share for the on-sale of its stake in Hutchison's ports. The calculation under that agreement in itself amounts to a connected transaction. We call for full disclosure of the apportionment of proceeds received by CRH, backed up by independent valuation of the other assets CRH bundled in. Without better information, we conservatively estimate a gain of $1,927m. The interests of CRE independent shareholders have not yet been protected. (28-Jan-2011)

Nagacorp controller's dealings
A recent court case highlights the dealings of Chen Lip Keong, controlling shareholder of Cambodian Casino firm Nagacorp (3918). Given his numerous outside interests, and the ongoing pledges of shares, investors should be concerned about how much debt he might be carrying and the risk that he may need to, or be forced to, sell part or all of his stake in Nagacorp. (28-Jan-2011)

Ex-chaos trading: Zhongtian proves point
Zhongtian (2379) yesterday demonstrated why we should not trade ex-entitlements before they are approved by shareholders: a 10:1 rights issue at a 97% discount was vetoed. HKEx launched a consultation in December, and we need your support. We also repeat two outstanding problems which HKEx has failed to address, on expropriation of passive shareholders' value, and on the discounts on open offers. (27-Jan-2011)

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