Pope hopes to be served euro bonanza

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 12:00am

Rainforests have been felled for the papers and documents produced to assess the economic impact of the euro currency. And still no business knows for sure what will happen when euro notes and coins go into circulation on January 1 - including those who can claim to have divine inspiration.

Pope John Paul could find revenues to the Vatican sharply reduced or reap a huge bonanza with the introduction of the euro, according to the Economist.

The passing of the collection plate at Sunday Mass is a big money spinner for the Catholic Church. In France, for example, many worshippers find the 10 franc coin (about HK$10.40) a suitable and convenient amount to donate.

But come January 1, there will be two convenient euro coins to choose from to replace the 10 franc coin. If they all choose the one euro coin, revenue from France would slump by about a third.

Alternatively, if French Catholics reach for a two euro coin revenue would jump by almost a third.

Of course, different people will choose differently and the two opposing effects could balance each other out to give no net change.

But we're sure the Pope and his cardinals will be busy praying that the Vatican has hit the euro jackpot.

Share slip-up: Earlier this month, new listing Eco-Tek Holdings was forced by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to issue a statement for slipping up in the announcement of its allotment results.

The environmental protection products developer - which was listing on the Growth Enterprise Market via a private placing - had not disclosed that four million shares had been placed to clients connected to a co-manager of its flotation. The shares were equivalent to less than 1 per cent of Eco-Tek's share capital.

Probably a minor slip-up which was corrected by the company, but Lai See could not help wondering why investors were buying the shares in the first place.

The prospectus, as with other promotional material, contained the usual fluff about the brilliant people employed by the company.

And if things did not work out as planned, any changes to the use of intended proceeds would only be undertaken 'so long as the directors consider [them] to be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders taken as a whole'.

Would-be investors may have noticed the bottom of page 107 in the prospectus, where we are told that the chairman, Lily Chiang, is facing legal action from a shareholder of another company which she also chairs.

The company concerned is Pacific Challenge Holdings. The Norwegian shareholder Kistefos Investment pursuing the court action holds more than 20 per cent of the firm.

Kistefos - which alleged Pacific Challenge was being run in a way that harmed investors' interests - first tried to get a Bermuda court to close down Pacific Challenge.

That was thrown out but further hearings are expected on whether Pacific Challenge should be forced to buy Kistefos' stake or not. Lai See thinks it can safely be assumed that Kistefos did not look for any shares to be placed with it.

Frayed feathers: After road rage and air rage, there finally had to be a rage for Christmas - turkey rage.

Two women clashed in a south Wales supermarket over the last frozen turkey on Sunday, the Guardian reported. Words were exchanged that were not quite in keeping with the season of peace and goodwill, but one emerged victorious with turkey in trolley.

However, the turkey battle did not end there as the two shoppers' paths crossed again in the car park.

The aggrieved turkey-less woman bade farewell to her opponent with: 'I hope you burn it on Christmas Day.'

The turkey-holder snapped and smacked the other woman over the head with the 8kg bird. A scuffle ensued that was caught on the supermarket's security cameras.

The turkey-holder then drove off, leaving the other woman to tend to her wounds.

'Whatever happened to peace and goodwill at Christmas?' lamented a police inspector.

Sounds like it was as well and truly stuffed as the turkey, inspector.