Li Ka-shing spices up results release with stir-fried Next
A Cheung Kong (Holdings)/Hutchison Whampoa media briefing is never complete without Li Ka-shing bashing a few Hong Kong publications for a few laughs.
Of course, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's magazine and newspaper are always top of the list.
Just hours before the results announcements of Mr Li's two companies, Next magazine ran a cover story headlined 'Li Ka-shing triggers stocks fall and sets off Joseph Yam Chi-kwong warning', suggesting that in offering a so-called deferred principal repayment mortgage scheme, Cheung Kong was behind the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's decision to halt the financing practice last week.
Deputy chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi read out a prepared script for the expected question, stressing Cheung Kong was not dumping flats at the peak of the market. However, it was the father who took an Apple Daily reporter question and offered his response to the weekly magazine story.
'My people showed me the story,' said Mr Li. 'I just laughed it off. It wasn't worth comment.
'Had they known of the 1,300-point market rebound, they would have scrapped the story.'
The media were more curious to know his view on his youngest son Richard Li Tzar-kai's supposed new flame - teenage singer-actress Isabella Leong Lok-si, with one actually daring to ask if the father would expect to hear wedding bells any time soon.
'You'd better ask Richard,' he said.
Eldest son Victor chimed in: 'I thought the Hong Kong Economic Times didn't ask such questions.'
Facing Facebook issue
For the first time, Mr Li confirmed he has a personal stake in the social networking website Facebook worth more than US$150 million.
'They are doing very well. In the future, our 3G network will enable a Facebook service,' he said.
A search in Facebook finds one Li Ka-shing, and a dozen Victor and Richard Lis, although none of them looks anything like members of Hong Kong's richest family.
Money man's money
How much does the chief financial officer of a blue chip make?
It has to be figures ranging from seven to nine digits, right?
Except for China Shenhua Energy's chief financial officer Zhang Kehui, who received a measly pay cheque of 62,000 yuan (HK$68,869) last year.
Shenhua has been humble with directors' pay. Chairman Chen Biting received no compensation, as in 2006. President Ling Wen received 293,000 yuan, up 4 per cent.
Working out the figures
How does one determine the salary of a state-owned enterprise director?
Take a look at Li Rensheng, who started in 1987 as a deputy officer in the No4 blast furnace workshop of the Chongqing Iron Melting Plant and made it all the way to assistant factory head, then deputy head, then manager and most recently, its managing director.
Chongqing Iron's announcement says Mr Li will be paid a minimum of four times the average salary of other employees, which amounted to 32,052 yuan last year, and a maximum of 10 times that average.
Not every executive who produced a record profit will get a record package.
For Cathay Pacific Airways, which reported a 72 per cent rise in net profit to HK$7.02 billion, total director remunerations rose only HK$44,000 to HK$38.149 million last year.
Chief executive Tony Tyler received an 8.8 per cent rise in his pay cheque to HK$11.01 million, slightly more than the average 4 per cent increment for his cabin crew.
Feasting for charity
Something good came out of the biggest corporate party in town this month.
Yesterday, we learned that Hang Seng Bank, whose 75th anniversary party drew 3,300 guests including senior government officials and top business leaders, donated HK$1 million to the Hong Kong Community Chest.
The bank asked its guests to make donations in lieu of flowers and received HK$760,000.