Emperor again a mainland target
By AMY CHEW
EMPEROR International Holdings is again the target of a mainland-controlled company in what appears to be another attempt at back-door listing.
Emperor International last night announced that Continental Mariner Investment Company (CMIC) has approached the company to acquire the controlling interest in Lolliman which is held by Emperor.
CMIC is controlled by China Poly Group Corp and CITIC Development, which own 55 per cent and 35 per cent stakes in the company respectively.
The move come three days after a mainland investment company, China Tian Ping Economy and Culture Development Corp, controlled by China's Ministry of Justice, took a minor stake in the company.
''No formal discussions have commenced and the directors are therefore not in a position to discuss whether any transactions will be concluded,'' the announcement said.
''The proposal may or may not proceed and it may or may not result in any general offer for the shares in Lolliman.'' CMIC also issued an announcement last night on the possibility of acquiring a controlling stake in Lolliman Holdings.
The shipping company said it was considering a number of alternatives to finance the possible acquisition including a rights issue, placement and bank borrowings.
''No decision has yet been made at this stage,'' the announcement said.
The Hongkong stock exchange has said it would pay specific attention to back-door listings involving the acquisition of a stake in the target company below 35 per cent.
Should the buyer attempt to inject new assets into the listing, the exchange is threatening to invoke new listing rules when considering the any such transaction.
Exchange head of listing Herbert Hui said: ''What we are trying to do is to ensure that those involved in these types of transactions operate within the rules.'' A back-door listing occurs when an unlisted company purchases control of a listed company and then injects assets from the acquiring company into the listed vehicle.
In this way, say the regulators, the acquiring company can become listed without going through the same vetting process prescribed for new listing.