Friday 23rd March 2012

Dear Reader,

Our CE poll has closed. Thanks if you participated. The results: the crowd of 1423 says that the probability that the next CE will be Henry Tang is 32.1%, C Y Leung 45.7% and someone else 19.0%. When asked whom you would vote for (a question we added later), there were 727 votes, of which 40.2% of you would vote for C Y Leung, 14.3% for Henry Tang, 10.7% for Albert Ho and 34.8% would cast a blank vote. Sunday is going to be interesting.

Your editor was in LegCo this morning talking about the headcount rule in the Companies Ordinance - you can watch the debate here; choose Bills Committees, then Search. He appears at 01:00:55, 01:17:00, 01:36:10 and finally 01:57:00 - in the last part he urged the Administration to adopt class action rights, litigation finance reform, a statutory duty of care for auditors to shareholders, and requiring intermediaries to seek voting instructions from retail investors. Those are four reforms that would make far more difference to minority shareholder protection. After all, only 205 out of 1500 HK-listed companies, or 13.67% by number, are incorporated in HK.

Now for something completely different:

You can call me Dr Sir
We announce the winner of the inaugural Webb-site Award for Ridiculous Titles (WART), and follow a trail which leads to bogus honorary degrees for the dictators of Equatorial Guinea and Gambia. The latter has a special relationship with Hong Kong, one which may surprise you. (23-Mar-2012)

Two houses, one rating
So it was her house and her basement? We dig deeper into York Road and explain why it matters. (20-Mar-2012)

Stop Karrie's expensive wedding
We urge independent shareholders to vote against Karrie's proposed HK$43m acquisition of a wedding business and travel agency, loss-making startups with net liabilities of $6.6m. (20-Mar-2012)

Stop the BoCom placing: get a rights issue
We call on SEHK and SSE to stop the big 3 holders from voting to approve each other's subscriptions, which would create a dangerous precedent. Thankfully BoCom has no general mandate, so they also need a special resolution to approve the placing on which they must all abstain. We urge independent shareholders to block it and call for a rights issue instead, and we suggest a way around the primitive NAV rule. (16-Mar-2012)

HKEx preps for placing
Apart from seeking a steep pay hike, the HKEx board is seeking to double its mandate to issue shares for cash without a rights issue, at double the discount of last year's mandate. Couple that with the leaked bid for the London Metal Exchange, and you can see where this is going. We urge shareholders to protect their rights by voting down the general mandate. If HKEx proceeds with LME (and we query why), then a rights issue can fund it. (15-Mar-2012)

Ramesh Sadhwani v SFC
SFAT, 23-Mar-2012
A lifetime ban for a Ponzi scheme is reduced to 10 years.

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