Lehman Brothers

Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2012, 12:00am


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Proof, if ever it was needed, that sport and politics don't mix

There appeared to be some confusion in the minds of those who manned the office at the Hong Kong Sevens that handled the messages going out on the big screen. Most of the messages were congratulatory or romantic, offering love or proposing marriage, or both. However, we hear of one gentleman, who, on learning of C. Y. Leung's victory in the chief executive election at around 12.30pm on Sunday, attempted to post a simple congratulatory message, only to have it declined because it was 'political'. Being of a determined nature and a trifle irked as well as feeling somewhat fired up, which can happen at the Sevens, he posted another more oblique message, which, this time was allowed through. 'That's the end of the Horse. I think you SEE WHY (Peter to Fanny).' Fanny, referring to Leung's campaign director Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun. Later there seems to have been a rethink on 'politics' or people were too fuddled to care, and at about 4pm a message was posted: 'Congratulations to C Y Leung on his election success,' which was received with complete disinterest by the multitude.

Rich seam of mining achievement

Organisers of the Mines and Money Conference, Mining Journal and Beacon Events, have taken the next inevitable step in the success of this conference by introducing awards. The first Asia Mining Awards were announced at a dinner last week during the conference. Discovery of the Year went to Indochine Mining, an Australian mining company, for its gold-copper discoveries in Cambodia and the reactivation of the Mt Kare gold-silver project in Papua New Guinea. Deal of the Year went to Hunnu Coal, an Australian incorporated company with a Mongolian coal project, for the significant achievement of listing on the ASX at A$0.20 and selling just 18 months later at A$1.80 to Thailand's Banpu plc. Project Development of the Year - the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia. It was discovered by Ivanhoe Mines, which is now 51 per cent owned by Rio Tinto, after mining giant BHP Billiton lost interest in the site. Mongolia was named Mining Country of the Year. The Mining Personality of the Year, inevitably, went to Robert Friedland, founder and CEO of Ivanhoe Mines, the man behind Oyu Tolgoi, and as Teck Resources CEO David Lindsay observed last week, someone who seems to turn all he touches into either copper or gold.

So why did Hext ship out?

We were intrigued to see China Navigation, the John Swire & Sons-owned shipping company, moving into the Handysize dry bulk shipping sector. Intrigued, because up until two weeks ago Richard Hext was a non-executive director of both China Navigation and Pacific Basin Shipping, which has a fleet of around 90 Handysize ships carrying a variety of cargoes from fertiliser to logs. Hext resigned from his non-exec role at Pacific Basin on March 9 'due to his other personal and business objectives'. On Tuesday, China Navigation, which moved from Hong Kong to Singapore in 2009 after 137 years in the territory, announced a firm order for four 39,500 deadweight tonne Handysize bulk carriers with options for six extra ships. Hext was managing director of China Navigation between 1996 and 2000. But he isn't saying whether his resignation from Pacific Basin, which he joined as deputy chairman in April 2005 and resigned as chief executive in December 2009, was intended to prevent a clash of interest with China Navigation's shift into Handysizes.

The Lehman legal bonanza

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 sent shockwaves around the world, tipping it into the global financial crisis. But for lawyers, it has turned out to be a bonanza almost without parallel. Lehman filed for bankruptcy with US$639 billion in assets and with debts of more than US$600 billion, making it the world's biggest bankruptcy. The firm currently has about US$35 billion in cash and is expected to recover another US$30 billion by selling off its remaining assets. Law firms and consultants have received US$1.6 billion, according to The Lawyer. Linklaters pocketed US$96 million from advising the UK administrators. Its fees were initially estimated at a potential US$32 million, so the firm will not be unhappy at the way things have turned out. However Linklaters' take was significantly eclipsed by the US$383 secured by Weil Gotshal & Manges and US$133 by Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, for acting on behalf of Lehman and the creditors respectively. 'Lawyers will be telling their grandchildren of the bonanza, it seems, with Lehman mandates being dubbed the 'instructions of the century', The Lawyer commented.