Lai See

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2011, 12:00am


Related topics

No Coaching allowed at listing ceremony

Coach, the US luxury handbag maker, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange to get closer to the promising mainland market. But it certainly didn't want to get too close to the press yesterday.

For unspecified 'legal reasons' the international press were not invited to a press briefing on Wednesday and when they showed up to the listing ceremony at the stock exchange yesterday morning they were handed a piece of paper headed 'Media Agreement'.

This spurious 'agreement' said that proceedings at the listing ceremony could only be reported by media outside the United States. 'Accordingly, only media outlets reporting outside the United States and their journalists may attend the press conference and/or the listing ceremony.' These arrangements were challenged by one news organisation and most others reported the events.

But you wonder if Coach has heard of the internet. Although the South China Morning Post is a local news organisation, its account of the Wednesday press conference appeared on its website and was therefore available to the world via the internet, which, the last time we checked, is available in the US.

The listing ceremony turned out to be a less than friendly media event, with chief executive Lew Frankfort speaking to the press for all of one minute and 15 seconds before Coach's senior vice-president for corporate communications Andrea Resnic cut him off: 'We're done.' That was after a reporter asked him about the share performance. Despite the 'warning' from Resnic, another reporter asked him about the move by global central banks to ease liquidity in global markets and whether that made it a good time to list in Hong Kong. But even that was too much for Resnic, who snapped, 'No questions', and took her man away.

If this sort of things happens on the mainland it becomes a press censorship issue. But it's OK for Coach to throw its weight around in Hong Kong.

Air surcharges flat out unfair

Airlines charge a different rate for flying first, business and economy classes. Yet when it comes to paying air fare surcharges there is a flat rate for all passengers.

If we consider a return trip to New York, the cheapest economy fare on Cathay Pacific for December is HK$7,500 plus taxes and surcharges, the cheapest business fare is HK$82,220, and the cheapest first class ticket is HK$138,000. The surcharge is the same for all passengers at HK$2,585.

So for the cheap seats, this works out at an additional 34.5 per cent, while it's 3.2 per cent for business seats and 1.9 per cent for first class. Would it not be fairer to set the surcharges at a percentage of the ticket price?

No relief for model firm

China has so far stopped Vale, the Brazilian iron ore miner, from berthing any of its massive 400,000 deadweight tonne giant ore carriers at mainland ports. But we are assured there will be a warmer reception for a replica of these modern leviathans of the seas when it berths at the new Hong Kong Maritime Museum, which is under construction at Pier 8 in Central. At around 1 metre long, it is a lot smaller than the real 362-metre ore carriers, but it will be perfectly formed, replete with the raft of features including a monkey island and detailed cargo holds found on the actual ships. The model is being donated by China Rongsheng Heavy Industries, the mainland's largest privately owned shipbuilder, which is building 12 very large ore carriers for Vale. China Rongsheng has also pledged HK$2 million to the museum's endowment fund.

The shipbuilder also will make a diorama showing a floating, production, storage and off-take vessel and how this sophisticated supertanker-like ship produces, stores and unloads oil from remote offshore oil fields, and a diorama of an offshore pipe-laying vessel.

China Rongsheng agreed to the make the donation during a visit to the shipyard by museum directors Anthony Hardy, Andrew Chen Yee and Liang Ming-hang earlier this month. Chen Qiang, president of China Rongsheng, said the visit helped the group build closer relationships with Hong Kong's maritime industry. Vale must be wondering what it takes to achieve close relations with mainland authorities.

RAVs to the rescue

According to an anonymous Goldman Sachs banker, the British economy will triumph over economic adversity due to its trade links, the Daily Telegraph reports.

He Tweets: 'I'm long GBP against the euro. RAVs will always flock to the UK, now more than ever.'

RAVs, he explains, are 'Russians, Arabs, and villains'.