Jimmy Lai

Jimmy Lai

One way to find out is to ask Jimmy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 January, 1996, 12:00am

JIMMY LAI'S media listing plans are due to make headlines again as the magazine and newspaper publisher is set to appeal against his earlier listing application being turned down.

Speculation surrounding the Hong Kong stock exchange listing committee veto apparently focused on at least two issues.

There was concern at the impact the raging price war in the mass market Chinese language newspaper sector would have on such a listing.

There was also concern at the uncertainty represented by the outstanding litigation hanging over the new listing.

For investors interested in checking out such a listing, the issue in relation to these risks or uncertainties is surely one of disclosure.

Mainland state enterprises in the form of H shares managed to get listed. These were extremely high risk listings as shown by the decline in their share prices last year.

Iwai's International Holdings, a retail firm, got a listing in the biggest recession seen in the retail sector since the financial collapse of 1983 and 1984.

The exchange is taking seriously the prospect of listing new infrastructure vehicles which are unlikely to show any profit or cash flow record.

Some are most unlikely to show any profits until the completion of their projects, which might be some years off.

So, is it not time for the exchange listing committee to get real about its concerns? If Mr Lai can meet the exchange's listing criteria in all other respects, then the risks that appear to be the focus of the concerns of the listing committee ought to be met by full and frank disclosure.