Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 July, 2010, 12:00am

Digging deep to unearth metals and mining assets

We had a swift response to Thursday's item about the size of Hong Kong's listed metals and mining sector.

Readers will recall that we cast some doubt on the 109 companies that the stock exchange's chief marketing officer, Lawrence Fok, said comprised the sector whereas we could only find about 50 and that included companies that, for example, did a bit of property investment, securities trading, fur trading and also held the rights to a mine in Siberia.

Anyway, Fok rang to suggest we had a chat about this and he produced his list and we produced ours. His list falls into two parts: stocks that are supposed to be 'pure mining and metals plays' and then those companies that have some exposure to metals and mining assets.

It is true that among the pure plays we see some companies that are not on our list, but it also included companies such as Sustainable Forest Holdings, which makes no mention of mining interests on its website, although maybe the thinking is that these assets could become coal eventually, say in a couple of million years.

Wynn's way

It's a bit rich for the boss of a company that just reported a 109 per cent increase in quarterly profit to talk about taking things slow and steady.

But that's what Wynn Macau chairman Steve Wynn did yesterday when comparing his development plans to those of better established rivals Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International (formerly MGM Mirage).

Wynn himself may have been in the casino business for more than four decades, but his Las Vegas flagship Wynn Resorts was only set up after he was bought out of his previous company, Mirage Resorts, by MGM's controlling shareholder, Kirk Kerkorian, in 2000.

'Now, I'm a big fan of the development in Cotai and the things that my competitors have done. And they're making the future bright for Macau,' Wynn said on a conference call. 'But when you're analysing what's going on, don't get confused. So we're a younger company than the Sands and MGM. And we are a little bit more, oh, steady, or a little slower. And it's the old hare and the turtle story.

'We're a little bit more like a turtle than a hare. But at the end of the day, we're going to build Macau and it's going to be - the Cotai project - it's going to be a big increment to the wealth of our company ... we'll catch all those guys. But we'll do it in a very steady, processional way,' he said.

So what is he trying to say - Wynn Macau is a turtle on steroids?

How not to do a commercial

In another sign of its burgeoning self-confidence, the mainland is making a television commercial to convey a 'prosperous' image of the nation to overseas audiences and will feature celebs such as Yao Ming and our very own Li Ka-shing.

The 30-second commercial will be aired on foreign networks including Time Warner's CNN and the BBC in September, Wang Lijun, a spokeswoman for producer Shanghai Lowe & Partners, told Bloomberg.

Apparently the commercial will help promote a 'prosperous, democratic, civilised and harmonious' image of the mainland, the State Council Information Office, the government agency overseeing the project, said in a statement on its website.

The commercial being shot by advertising company Shanghai Lowe also features Baidu chief executive Robin Li, Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma Yun and China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou.

If Shanghai Lowe needs an example of how not to do it, it should take a look at the whacky commercial made by the Singapore government a few years ago which has become a bit of hit on Youtube with more than 240,000 hits.

It shows various senior ministers attempting a rap, lumbering around like dancing bears, portraying Singapore as a funky, hip, can-do place. The reality as we all know is somewhat less than funky but to say more would probably attract legal attention from the government, which despite its fun video does not take kindly to criticism. The video can be seen at ksw2UqTyhhc&feature=geosearch.

Head above water

Good to see that Lee Lai-shan, Hong Kong's only Olympic gold medallist, is keeping her head above water so to speak after retiring from windsurfing. Property agents say that San San (as she is popularly known) together with her family have bought a 1,338 square foot flat at Sun Hung Kai Properties' Larvotto in Ap Lei Chau for about HK$16.9 million or HK$12,607 per square foot as an investment. It's a pity property trading isn't an Olympic sport as Hong Kong would clean up.