Business Digest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 2006, 12:00am

Beijing resorts to film footage in fuji case

The Beijing Department of Justice has opened an investigation into secret meetings between lawyers representing Fuji Xerox and arbitration officials involved in a dispute between Fuji and one of its clients.

State media reported unnamed Justice Department officials saying they were looking into allegations of illegal meetings that were captured on film in July last year and posted on the internet last month.

If lawyers or government officials are found to have breached regulations they could have their licenses revoked and if the law has been broken the case will be referred to the Public Security Bureau, an official was quoted as saying.

Secret meetings between officials and parties involved in arbitration proceedings are illegal but extremely common in China, according to international lawyers operating on the mainland. Jamil Anderlini

usi seeks retail return in bank of east asia building USI Holdings, the locally listed arm of regional developer WingTai Asia, plans to turn its attention to Hong Kong's retail property market this year in a bid to tap into the growing appetite for retail space.

The company, which to date has focused on the luxury residential and serviced apartments markets, will conduct a commercial makeover to turn the Bank of East Asia Wan Chai Building - a 28-year-old office block it bought last summer - into a retail-dominated tower to boost revenue.

Management was optimistic that monthly rentals post-makeover of the building - which has a gross floor area of 114,000 square feet - could amount to $4 million or at least $30 per square foot. This would be almost triple the building's current rentals of around $11 per square foot, according to Midland Realty's data.Foster Wong

high-yield paper on the rise in Asia, poll shows

About eight in 10 debt market players expect the issue of high-yield paper in Asia to continue expanding this year, according to newsletter Basis Point.

Polled by Basis Point last month for views on the high-yield market in the region, an overwhelming 82 per cent of respondents said they believed issuance would increase this year.

The debt market newsletter said conditions in the market were expected to remain favourable.

More than 36 per cent of respondents to the poll believed the spread over Treasuries for high-yield credits would tighten from last year's level while 27 per cent thought spreads would remain at the same level. Charis Yau