Yet another Pacific Century - oceans away

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 December, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 December, 1994, 12:00am

ANYONE who likes the idea of being mistaken for Li Ka-shing's son now has a unique opportunity.

We received a fax yesterday from a company formation agent, listing companies it has on the shelf.

Most of the companies had pretty ordinary names, like Fortune Luck and Topwin Investments. Yawn, yawn.

Then we spied one named Pacific Century International Group Limited, a company name that bears a certain resemblance to Richard Li Tzar-kai's Pacific Century Group.

As we reported a few weeks ago, this in turn bears a certain resemblance to a dozen or more Pacific Century companies registered in Hong Kong, involved in a range of fields from publishing to toffee.

What was unusual about the one on offer is that it was registered in the British Virgin Islands, and we're sure that's where young Richard's outfit is registered, too.

So, for only $5,790 you too can run Pacific Century.

There's a surprising number of other sound-alikes in there too. For instance, those who admire Peregrine's Invesco business might be interested in running a company called Investco.

Fans of forgetful tycoon Deacon Chiu Te-ken may be interested in one of the many which sound like part of the Far East Group, what with imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.

Deacon himself is unlikely to notice it.

Sea you CHRIS Burrows of Chase Manhattan had an odd conversation with an office in Singapore.

'Is Mr X in?' 'Sorry, he's just stepped out of the office.' 'When will he be back?' 'Actually, he's gone overseas. He'll be back next Friday.' Fax and figures INVESTORS in Pacific Concord, whose boss Wong Sai-chung has just sold his company $1.1 billion of land in Quarry Bay, will no doubt await with interest the independent report into the transaction. Last year's was a classic.

Last year, Mr Wong persuaded his company to buy a major stake in a phone business called Concord Telecomm, which just happened to be owned by Mr Wong and his family. When brokers Sun Hung Kai International were sent up to Zhuhai to see the factory, things weren't quite as expected.

One production line that was supposed to have produced 17,000 pagers turned out not to have produced a single one.

The company was also supposed to be selling fax machine and mobile phones within three months, and there wasn't even a demonstration model available.

And instead of finding three paging stations operating, there was only one - on the factory's own roof, and there was no customers.

The brokers also noted that the valuers who set the price for the sale did 'not appear to have any experience and expertise in China's telecommunication and telecommunication equipment manufacturing market'.

And they noticed that Mr Wong and his family were making a profit of $1.1 billion on the transaction.

So, they warned shareholders to treat it like toxic waste, eh? Errr, no. They labelled it 'a high risk, high reward situation' and recommended them to approve it.

Talking shop THESE so-called 'connected transactions', whereby a tycoon sells his private property to a public company that he just happens to control, always have a surreal feel.

Tycoon: 'The price is too high.' Same tycoon (different voice): 'I can come down 10 per cent but no more.' Same tycoon (original voice): 'You drive a hard bargain. How about five per cent?' etc.

Card game AN important announcement about Christmas cards.

Are you particularly proud of the corporate cards you've sent this year? Real works of art? This is a chance to prove it. This year, for the first time, Lai See is running a corporate Christmas card competition. To enter, just send us a Christmas card - the address of the South China Morning Post, as always, is printed in teeny letters at the bottom of the main sports page.

We're going to be announcing the winners - to be chosen by an independent judge - a day or two before Christmas, so better get your card in the post soon. No prize, just a warm glow of satisfaction.

There's also going to be a special discussion of the most appalling corporate Christmas cards, which will be judged by Lai See. If you've received a particularly grim card, then post it off to us, anonymously if necessary, and we'll consider it for the 'worst card award'.