Meiya Power, one of the largest foreign investors in the mainland power sector, has lost eight of its 12 top managers, including its chief executive, to US-based Ashmore Energy International (AEI) in a rare case of mass poaching in the industry.
Hong Kong-based Meiya, which remained private after first mulling a local listing in 2003 and later withdrew a Singapore listing plan late in 2005 citing unfavourable market conditions, has yet to decide on a succession plan, said a source close to Meiya.
'The board has yet to convene a meeting to discuss this,' the source said.
A Meiya spokeswoman declined to comment.
Meiya has invested in 16 power projects on the mainland, South Korea and Taiwan, with an equity-calculated generating capacity of 3,364 megawatts, about 75 per cent of which is installed on the mainland.
Ashmore said last Thursday it was opening an office in Hong Kong under the name of AEI Asia.
AEI has hired Meiya's founder, chairman and chief executive Colin Tam to serve as its Asia Pacific head. Meiya's chief financial officer Eric d'Esparbes and chief operating officer Alan Chan will take up the equivalent positions at AEI Asia, while Meiya senior vice-president of corporate development Samson Ng Shung-lai will become AEI Asia's senior vice-president of business development.
Four other Meiya senior executives will also move to AEI, Ashmore said, without giving their names.
Ashmore, formerly British-based private equity firm Ashmore Investment Management, last year bought Prisma Energy International, which was formed to hold the non-US assets of bankrupt US energy giant Enron not already divested.
Houston-based AEI has 19 energy assets with operations in 14 nations and annual revenues of more than US$2.5 billion.
A source familiar with AEI Asia's plan said the company's expansion would not be focused on China but rather be pan-region.
In 2005, New Jersey-based PSEG sold its 50 per cent stake in Meiya Power for US$220 million to BTU Ventures, an energy investment group with offices in the US and Dubai.