Cathay Pacific

Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 October, 2011, 12:00am

Reorient cautiously takes wing based on the Peregrine model

It's hard to forget Peregrine, the Hong Kong investment house founded by Philip Tose and Francis Leung in 1988. Aided by its prime business connections, the company soared before it took one risk too many and fatally fell to earth during the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

Despite the manner of its ending, some thought the model was sound.

The recently formed Reorient Financial Markets is looking to adopt the Peregrine model, though with a tighter observance of risk.

The firm is a subsidiary of Asia Telemedia, which is shortly to change its name to Reorient Group Ltd. The stock code is 376 HK, which in times gone by was used by the Mansion House Group under the chairmanship of Evans Carrera Lowe. The listing has been restructured by Johnson Ko Chun-shun, who is currently the chairman of Varitronix International, DVN (Holdings), and a vice chairman and executive director of China Windpower Group, all of which are listed companies.

'The basic idea is to create a Hong Kong based merchant/investment bank, which makes money the old fashioned way by developing, structuring, distributing deals, whether China deals for global investors or China investments abroad,' says Uwe Parpart who is head of strategy and research.

One thing Reorient has going for it is a Beijing-based joint venture with China Cheng Tong (CCT), one of two large mainland SOEs charged by China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission with restructuring other state-owned enterprises and reducing the total number of SOEs from some 130 at present to 70 or 80.

Reorient aims to deploy its research and corporate finance capabilities to help structure saleable assets and its global distribution network to sell them or IPO them. At the same it aims to assist Chinese SOEs looking for asset acquisitions abroad.

Cash equities trading will go hand-in-hand with these activities and will be expanded to fixed income and forex operations.

'It's shooting high, but what we want to become is the merchant/investment bank that is for Chinese deals what Allen & Co is for media and entertainment,' says Parpart.

The main figures in Reorient Financial Markets are Jason Boyer, Brett McGonegal, Brad Ainslie, and Uwe Parpart from Cantor Fitzgerald. Also Charles Yuan, from ING, and Cecil Ho from Varitronix.

Some of the former Cantor employees are facing legal action from their former employer along with restrictions on their activities, expected to be settled by December.

The 2003 nightmare returns

Cast your minds back to the year of discontent - 2003. It was the year of Sars, economic recession, the huge July 1 protest march and ended with HarbourFest.

The festival, which aimed to raise morale locally and to show the world Hong Kong was open for business and tourism again after Sars, initially seemed a good idea.

But it then descended into chaos, finger-pointing, politicisation and scapegoat-hunting. Many enjoyed the music shows but for Amchan, which took on the organisation, it became a nightmare it won't repeat in a hurry. But, before the memory of that event fades entirely, we hear that there is to be a film of the events leading up to, during and after the festival. The film is the brainchild of Tim Noonan, who writes a sports column for the Sunday Morning Post but who also has a background in writing for film and theatre.

Noonan says that when you combine 'all the local elements of the story together with some of the top names in the history of rock, I think it becomes a really intoxicating story.' He hopes it will be completed by the middle of next year.

Noonan plans on interviewing key players involved in the festival. Mike Rowse the Director General of Invest HK at the time and Jim Thompson, the then-Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce have agreed to be interviewed on film. Other key political figures will be invited to participate but Noonan is not holding his breath on that score.

Cathay prepares for upgrade

Cathay is preparing for an influx of new aircraft by offloading some of its older aircraft.

After 10 years Cathay is returning four A340-300s to lease owner ILFC after the expiry of their operating leases. Two of these, and possibly a third, have already been snapped up by Argentine national airline, Aerolineas Argentinas.

The fourth Airbus A340-300 has already left Cathay Pacific and is now flying with Sri Lankan Airlines. Cathay Pacific also plans to transfer six of its Airbus A330s to Dragonair between next year and 2015.

This aeronautical musical chairs comes as Cathay Pacific has firm orders and options for 108 aircraft between now and 2017.