Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2008, 12:00am

Fire goes out of Nine Dragons after 40pc drop in share price

Lai See doubts if anyone would have had the foresight to warn the mainland's second-richest woman, Cheung Yan, that she would have a rough time with her listed company.

Exactly six months ago, the share price of her company, Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings), shot to a historic high of HK$26.25. Yesterday, the stock fell 40.28 per cent in a single day to HK$6.39 on heavy selling in the afternoon, after it announced an 11.4 per cent rise in interim earnings.

In six months, Ms Cheung has seen some HK$62 billion evaporate from her wealth as her 72 per cent-owned flagship fell 75.66 per cent from its peak.

Nine Dragons is not the only mainland-based company facing heavy selling pressure after reporting decent or even good results. Blue chip China Shenhua Energy is another, falling 8.85 per cent yesterday after announcing 17 per cent growth in net profit.

China Shenhua company secretary Huang Qing made an interesting opening remark at the post-results conference yesterday.

'The stock market is not so robust, [so it is understandable that] we are not in high spirits. But chairman [Chen Biting] will share his passion for the coal and electricity sector. I'm sure you'll be cheered up.'

Fok tunes hot on 3

Remember our sneak preview of an album containing songs composed and performed by Hutchison Whampoa's group managing director? Well, Lai See guessed right that the numbers will make it to the ring tone list of its telecommunications subsidiary. Yesterday, we noticed that 3 HK offered all eight of Canning Fok Kin-ning's compositions on its music portal. The numbers were highlighted 'hot' on the main menu.

Customers are charged HK$3 for each ring tone download and HK$6 for the connecting tone. If the shrewd businessman has a revenue sharing arrangement with 3 HK, he may stand a good chance of continuing his reign as the city's highest-paid man.

Blue-chip crowd at Dion gig

Still with chief executives and music, we spotted at least three blue-chip chairmen and many top executives at Celine Dion's concert at the Venetian Macao at the weekend.

Among the full-house audience of 15,000, we saw Wharf (Holdings) chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching, Bank of East Asia chairman David Li Kwok-po and Li & Fung chairman Victor Fung Kwok-king.

Others in the house included Stanley Ho Hung-sun's fourth wife Angela, Galaxy Entertainment owner Lui Chee-woo and Wynn Resorts non-executive director Allan Zeman, better known as the 'father of Lan Kwai Fong'.

Lai See was in the back row, which cost HK$800 per seat, and he forgot to bring a pair of binoculars. So please excuse us for missing anyone important.

CLP nibbles at carrot

The new scheme of control agreement signed in January by CLP and Hongkong Electric caps future returns at 9.99 per cent, but the utilities can earn 11 per cent on assets related to renewable energy.

It is a nice gesture, but CLP chief executive Andrew Brandler says the carrot is not likely to get the donkeys moving much faster than they already are.

'It's a helpful incentive but it's more like a symbolic symbol than a true driver,' Mr Brandler said.

The Bride's Pool Stream near Tai Po is pretty but unlikely to attract much dam construction. Solar panels work well but half of Hong Kong would have to be covered in silicon panels to keep up the nightly laser show. Wind, however, is a real option, and CLP and Hongkong Electric have already been exploring that option without the extra incentive.

Mr Brandler made a lot of sense but then he took things a bit too far.

'The best thing for Hong Kong's carbon emissions and from an environmental point of view would be to approve our proposed LNG terminal on the Sokos,' he said.

Well, that depends on who you ask, Mr Brandler. The mainland buyers of your power may think that way, but you may get a different answer from our endangered pink dolphins who would have to move.

Either way, it was refreshing to hear his honest opinion on the carrot the government threw his way.