Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 September, 2010, 12:00am

Macau Playboy club begins bunny hunt

For those that take an interest in this kind of thing, we see that Playboy Club Macao, due to open later this year, is looking for girls from around the world 'to host Playboy Club members and high rollers', as the press release puts it.

Playboy is staging a 'Bunny Hunt' next month at Sands Macao, 'where Bunny hopefuls will have the chance to strut their stuff on the catwalk, pose for paparazzi and chat with media, invited guests and the judging panel ...'

Those that impress the judges will be invited back for further consideration. Applicants should go to www.plaboymacao.com.

'Playboy Bunnies are recognised as truly polished professionals and representatives of one of the world's most well-known brands,' according to guest judge Reggie Martin. That is not all they are recognised for.

Patten's higher calling

Rumour has it that Chris Patten, who was recruited by Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, to rescue the papal visit to the UK, is to be rewarded for his efforts by being appointed Britain's next ambassador to the Holy See. Dealing with a clique of inward-looking and remote officials who believe they are the centre of the earth should be a piece of cake after performing much the same role in Hong Kong in the run-up to the 1997 handover.

CPP short of answers

The shares of China Public Procurement (CPP) have been suspended since July 5, in response to media reports questioning the authenticity of the Hong Kong-listed firm's announced deals, including a massive procurement contract involving 300 billion yuan (HK$347 billion) of railway spare parts and materials for a Chinese state-owned railway firm for three years. In July CPP said it was preparing a reply to the negative media allegations, and in a story in early July this newspaper quoted a CPP spokesman saying the company would shortly post a statement addressing these concerns on the Hong Kong stock exchange website. Two months later - we are still waiting.

Meanwhile Company Watch Health Profiles has issued a rating for CPP's financial health of 9 out of 100. Any company with a score below 25 is in the danger zone and vulnerable to financial stress, it says.

On this basis CPP seems to be in deep distress.

Setback for Rusal chief

Oleg Deripaska has received a setback in his struggle with rival shareholder Interros for control of Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer.

Rusal along with Interros has a 25 per cent stake in Norilsk but slipped up during the AGM in July securing only three of the four board seats it was entitled to while Interros secured five. Rusal could only watch helplessly as its favoured board chairman was deposed for one preferred by Interros.

After loudly proclaiming 'We wuz robbed', Rusal went to the Russian legal authorities claiming that Interros had used illegal methods to secure its ascendancy at Norilsk.

We understand that Rusal recently received a letter from the Russian General Prosecutor stating that its campaign to charge Norilsk with vote violations has failed.

This presumably blows a hole through its request for a ruling on the dispute in the London Court of Arbitration. Deripaska will be attempting to overturn the result of the June AGM at a specially convened EGM next month.

Playing it by the book

It will be interesting to see which book wins the coveted best business book of the year competition which for some years has been jointly promoted by the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs. Six books have made it to the short list, with Michael Lewis' The Big Short a clear favourite. There is one slight difficulty with this: Lewis has been one of Goldman's more vociferous critics. The question is would Goldman stomach handing the award to Lewis?

Selective bailouts

The winner of the sensitive plutocrat award for 2010 goes to ...

Charlie Munger has no time for critics of the bank bailouts. 'You should thank God' for bank bailouts, Munger said in a discussion at the University of Michigan last week. He says the bailouts saved the country from a fate worse than death. He may be right. But the billionaire vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway may be missing the point when he says the country can't bail out individuals in hardship. He says they should just 'Suck it in and cope'.

Easy to say when you're one of the richest people on the planet.