Lai See

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 May, 2011, 12:00am

Still waiting on judgement day at the coal face

Will Clive Palmer's Resourcehouse IPO ever get across the starting line? It's taken several attempts to get there, but just when we thought everything was in place, the programme has been delayed again. But only for a few days we are told. So, the offer will now open on Monday, not today, and the final prospectus won't be available until Monday.

The reason for the latest delay we are told is that the interest in the offer has been greater than anticipated and so the international road show has had to be extended.

Hmmm ... so despite the great interest, more time is needed. If we were of a cynical inclination, which of course we are not, we would assume that the delay was because interest was perhaps not as great as anticipated. But all will doubtless be revealed when the great day comes.

There are of course a number of 'ifs' and 'buts' surrounding this issue. Our eyes strayed to the 'Risks' section in the draft prospectus, where we see: 'We are an early stage development company, have no operations, and may not develop our business as planned, or at all.'

Not altogether encouraging. The company needs A$8 billion (HK$65.6 billion) to develop its coal project and A$2.7 billion for its iron ore project. It has a 'letter of intent' for funding the coal project from China Exim Bank. But as BOC International, the issue's sponsor, says in a research note: 'This letter is non-binding and does not provide guarantee of financing.' But don't let us put you off. Palmer's going to make a lot of money, the Chinese groups he's working with stand to make money, and maybe there'll be something for the shareholders, too.

Simon Murray noted by his absence

Glencore International kicked off its long-anticipated listing in Hong Kong yesterday with the traditional listing. Various executives from Glencore were on hand, including chief executive Ivan Glasenberg, Li Ning, who's an independent non-executive executive director, and Anita Zeng, manager of the firm's China operations, together with various HKEx officials. But there was one conspicuous absentee - chairman Simon Murray.

It could be, of course, that given the publicity he attracted some weeks ago with his comments about not wanting to hire women because of their tendency to get married and pregnant, Glencore perhaps felt he had said enough. Glencore's spokesman said Murray had to be in Europe and couldn't make the trip. But surely this is the sort of thing that chairmen are supposed to do?

Sex in the City

An interesting survey carried out by the website Here Is the City on almost 2,000 male and female bankers in London shows that 72 per cent admit to having at least one 'extramarital affair', of which 87 per cent involved a work colleague. Further, 26 per cent of males had had an affair with their personal assistant or secretary, and, not so surprisingly, the survey showed that a male banker is four times more likely to have an affair than a woman. More surprisingly, 37 per cent of the men said they had the affair because it was 'cheaper than getting a divorce'. The average affair for a male banker lasts 21 days, which involves just four meetings. The 'physical side of the relationship', as the survey delicately puts it, usually petered out by meeting three. Female banker affairs on average last 131 days and involve 31 meetings, with the physical aspect ending by around meeting 25. Some 70 per cent of males said that so long as they weren't caught, an extra marital affair was good for their marriage as they tried harder after the affair ended.

Now we know why banking is in such a mess.

Unsavoury ban

Has Denmark gone completely mad? How can a country that claims to be rational, sane and progressive ban Marmite? But, as the Daily Telegraph reports, it has gone the way of other foods such as Rice Crispies, Shreddies, Horlicks and Ovaltine that have been banned under legislation forbidding the sale of food products with added vitamins. The Danes consider these foods a threat to public health.

One Danish importer has started a 'Bring Back Marmite' campaign in an effort to overturn the ban. 'We are not allowed to do anything anymore,' she lamented. 'It is the way Denmark is going.'

Reverse thinking

Lai See notes with interest that a report on Toyota's recall woes has concluded that the company 'erred too much on the side of global centralisation and needs to shift the balance somewhat toward greater local authority and control'. Bloomberg said the report found that the flaws 'hindered information sharing and contributed to miscommunication' and 'delayed response time to quality and safety issues'.

Which brings us handily to our palindrome of the day: 'A Toyota. Race fast, safe car. A Toyota.'