Hutchison Whampoa is controlled by the Cheung Kong Group, and headed by Li Ka-shing, Asia’s wealthiest man, who has been nicknamed “Superman” because of his investment prowess. Its operations include ports, with property and hotels, retailing telecommunications (Hutchison Telecommunications International) and infrastructure (Cheung Kong Infrastructure).
Twenty-five years ago
HONGKONG (September 16): HUTCHISON International dumped an arithmetical time-bomb in the laps of the financial community with the announcement of their first consolidated figures.
The trading 'hong' produced net after tax group profits of $176,844,000 for the year ended March 31, compared with chairman Sir Douglas Clague's well-informed 'guesstimate' of $138,200,000 in his annual report covering the previous year when no audited consolidated profits were available.
I would justify the journalistic phrase 'time-bomb' for three reasons. Firstly we will have to wait around a month or so for the full report and accounts. Secondly the local community is likely to seize on the traditional H.I.L. net figures (which have dropped to $100,611,000 from the previous $136,362,000), and lastly because British institutions will want to study the position carefully before they make a move in the market place.
Many of us have been baying for blood, in the shape of consolidated figures from Hutchison's for years - and we got them.
Now the trick is to try to understand and analyse a veritable maze of figures.
A key phrase used by the company in the results announcement was: 'The difference between cost and market value of the company's quoted investments [that means a book loss] amounting to $218,635,000, has been fully written off by transferring $100,000,000 from Capital Reserve to the credit of Profit and Loss Appropriation Account and by charging the full amount to the latter account.'