Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 February, 2010, 12:00am

It's deja vu for Deripaska as Rusal stock continues slide

Our favourite aluminium company - Rusal - slipped a further 4.5 per cent yesterday, a decline which took it below HK$9 for the first time to HK$8.66.

Turnover also reached a new low with only HK$78.13 million traded. The stock was listed at HK$10.80 on January 27 and has now lost 19.8 per cent of its value since then.

Its performance has been one of the more disappointing initial share offerings within recent months. The worst performer lately has been Glorious Property Holdings, which fell 22.5 per cent after one month of trading, according to Dealogic.

Metallurgical Corp of China dropped 20 per cent after a month.

Rusal has been trading for almost three weeks, and it may not take long for it to surpass the two stocks in terms of underperformance at the rate it is going.

For chief executive and controlling shareholder Oleg Deripaska (above), who owns about 47 per cent of the company, the consequences are potentially eye-watering.

When the company listed, his stake in theory was worth about HK$81 billion. It has now declined in value by HK$16 billion to HK$65 billion.

It's deja vu for the man who in 2008 was estimated as having US$28 billion only for his fortune to fall to US$3.5 billion last year.

Fund comes out in the open

We have been asked to play this one straight.

Galileo Capital Management, which was recently established in London and Hong Kong, has announced an unusual new business line. LGBT Capital will provide corporate advisory and business development services for companies that focus on the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) consumer markets.

Galileo said it was hoping to raise ?0 million (HK$241.93 million), although it did not say when it was launching the fund. LGBT Capital's principals Anders Jacobsen and Paul Thompson have more than 40 years of combined experience in the investment management sector, having worked with Goldman Sachs, Prudential Financial, BankersTrust and Chase Manhattan Bank.

The power of the 'pink dollar' is fairly well understood by mainstream global marketers. It was estimated to be worth US$660 billion in the United States and ? billion in Britain.

LGBT Capital believes that as LGBT freedoms continue to develop, growing companies will increasingly look to raise capital, merge and acquire, which will require specialist advice and capital-raising options.

LGBT Capital says the fund is the first of its kind and one might wonder why the banking and advisory needs of the LGBT community are any different from anyone else's.

But LGBT Capital says that many plans in the sector do not come to fruition because of the lack of professional business advice and knowledge as to how to access external investors.

This is because many LGBT-oriented companies, it says, were originally established with a degree of secrecy and without the financial support otherwise available to start-up companies.

Best and worst places to live

Those of you who are beginning to feel a little jaded with life in Hong Kong and are casting around for somewhere else to live, could start with checking out International Living's quality of life index. Their top five countries are France, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and New Zealand. The country at the bottom of the list is Somalia with the next worst being Yemen, Sudan, Chad and Afghanistan.

The index ranks 197 economies and considers factors such as cost of living, culture and leisure, economy, environment, freedom, health, infrastructure, safety and risk, and climate. With the US ranked 7th, and Britain 25th, the first Asian ranking is Japan at 36, followed by South Korea (42), Taiwan (57), Singapore (70), China (97), the Philippines (105) and Thailand (110). Hong Kong is not mentioned, but Macau is placed 126th just under Indonesia and above Vanuatu.

Strangely, North Korea is ranked 135 just under Azerbaijan, but ahead of the United Arab Emirates and also ahead of Bangladesh, Algeria, Nigeria and 57 others. Maybe it just has a public relations problem and it is not the hell on earth that most of us assume it is.

Fast and furious

Lawyers in the US are showing their usual entrepreneurial flair for money-making opportunities. The Toyota recalls have been a heaven-sent opportunity for some.

San Diego law firm Steiner & Associates, for one, has a website up and running that asks: 'Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in an accident due to a defective gas pedal or floor mat? You may be entitled to substantial compensation!'

The website gleefully relates the tragic tale of one driver and three of his family members who died, and tells of 2,100 other incidents that have occurred.

But it is good to see lawyers working hard for justice to be done - although they are not so forthright with their fee structure.