IN its Hongkong office, C.P. Pokphand has more than 10 vice-presidents, excluding three executive vice-presidents. But given that more than 65 subsidiaries and associates are listed in the group's annual report, that hardly appears excessive. C.P. Pokphand executive vice-president Bhanusak Asvaintra said most were holding companies established for individual programmes in China and Asia. ''The setting up of holding companies will minimise our risks and allow jobs of our joint ventures to get done quicker,'' he said. For investors, the C.P. Pokphand group offers a fairly complicated picture. Besides its own diverse structure, C.P. Pokphand has close relations with sister companies Chia Tai International and Hongkong Fortune. C.P. Pokphand is the Hongkong flagship of the Charoen Pokphand Group of Thailand, a diversified international group controlled by members of the Chearavanont family. C.P. Pokphand is its administrative office, where China weighting is consistently being added through various channels. The Chearavanont family holds 61 per cent of C.P. Pokphand, 65 per cent of Chia Tai and 22 per cent of Hongkong Fortune. There are no cross-holding among the three Hongkong-listed firms. Many C.P. Pokphand-owned agri-industrial joint ventures in China are named after Chia Tai, not C.P. Pokphand. Mr Asvaintra, who is also a director of Chia Tai International, said this was because the Chia Tai name was better known in China. ''Chia Tai has become a household name on the mainland. So the family sticks to it until now,'' he said. However, this ambiguity will disappear as the family's massive restructuring of its corporate empire gets under way. A rationalisation would see the family's various operations coming under separate subsidiaries for more effective management, Mr Asvaintra said. The programme began in October last year when a 25 per cent stake in Thai-based TelecomAsia, valued at HK$4.3 billion, was injected to Chia Tai from the family and its associates. The injection was seen as a major profile switch to telecommunications by the property investment and development company. To reflect its operational change, directors of Chia Tai International have proposed to change its name to Orient Telecom & Technology (OTT). As such, OTT would be identified as a telecom company, and would no longer be confused with the family's private company, Chia Tai Group. C.P. Pokphand would stay as the family's agri-industrial business. As part of the move, a new holding company will be formed to oversee China property projects currently owned by the private Chia Tai Group and listed Chia Tai International. This new China property firm would be in addition to Hongkong Fortune, which is 22 per cent owned by another Thai family. Peregrine Investments Holdings has a 10 per cent stake in the property developer. On the telecoms front, Mr Asvaintra said the Thai family was applying the same philosophy to telecommunications that had led to success in chicken farming. ''Telephone lines are the same as agricultural products in that they are basic necessities of a country. There's no worry about demand,'' he said. Optimistic on the outlook for China's telecommunications industry, the company was in talks with mainland concerns for the operation of a telephone network, Mr Asvaintra said. ''China's telephone network has to be privatised, either sooner or later. It is such an emerging market, but infrastructure is far lagging behind other areas,'' he said. If successful, this could be another push by Chia Tai after buying into TelecomAsia, which has been selected to install two million telephone lines in Bangkok. With the help of US firm NYNEX Network Systems, which has a 15 per cent stake in TelecomAsia, 100,000 lines are expected to be in place by May. Mr Asvaintra said TelecomAsia was keen to list in Thailand this year. But there were no plans to inject into OTT the 25 per cent stake that the family owned in APT Satellite Co, he said. The company chairman expressed confidence in future prospects, given the TelecomAsia interest. Through private company Chia Tai Group, the Chearavanont family is committed to several property projects in China. These include the development of a large-scale shopping centre, and offices in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Other projects include shopping and housing developments in Guangzhou and Beijing. ''The new property firm will serve as the family's property development arm on the mainland,'' Mr Asvaintra said. With the change of focus to telecoms, Chia Tai International - or the future OTT - will eventually shift the two China property projects it currently owns to the new property firm. As shown in its half-year result, Chia Tai gained an exceptional profit of $35 million from the sale of several properties in Hongkong, substantially reducing its property portfolio. In July last year, the company teamed up with several mainland parties to develop a 17.6 square kilometre site in Dongguan, Guangdong. The three-phase development is expected to include the construction of replicas of historical landmarks, a five-star hotel with a golf course and other recreational facilities, and luxury residential apartments and villas. Total investment required for the first phase is expected to be 700 million yuan (about $937.3 million). Also last year, Chia Tai agreed to take up a 44 per cent interest in the Honey Lake Resort development, a HK$500 million golf course facility in Shenzhen. The Chearavanont family and associates have just bought a 46 per cent interest in the project from Hongkong Fortune, which it said would concentrate on property developments in Shanghai and its investment in the Shenzhen Golf Club. While the family's restructuring is quietly moving on, its local flagship C.P. Pokphand has gained increased investor following. The stock was one of the best performing last year, and hit a high of $3.63 in December, compared with a low of 84 cents the previous year. It announced a 44 per cent jump in half-year profit to US$21.8 million in the six months to June, attributed to the healthy performance of its core business in China, Thailand, Indonesia and Turkey. Schroders Securities Hongkong forecasts full-year profit of HK$360 million for 1992, putting the shares on a prospective price-earning multiple of 17.8 based on Friday's close of $3.15, and on a moderate PE of 13.9 on 1993 projected earnings of $461 million. C.P. Pokphand is engaged in animal feed production, animal husbandry, meat and prawn processing, agricultural commodities trading and motorcycle production. To date, the company has taken up 42 joint-venture projects in China, and has related operations spread through Thailand, Indonesia and Turkey. Mr Asvaintra said 41 of the China joint ventures were agri-industrial. ''We're interested in the basic agri-industrial operations which are closely linked with a country's affluence and economic growth,'' he said. ''Development of the mainland agricultural industry resembles that of 20 years ago in Thailand - huge potential, high demand,'' he added. C.P. Pokphand's only industrial joint venture in China is Shanghai Ek Chor Motorcycle Co, which accounted for about 26.2 per cent of C.P. Pokphand's half-year net last year. Shanghai Da Jiang produces and sells animal feeds, chickens and processed meat while Conti Chia Tai operates four feedmills in Guangdong. Schroders analyst Simon Barzilay, noting that per capita gross domestic product was projected to grow rapidly in China and Southeast Asia, said the stock was underpinned by strong and improving fundamentals. He said C.P. Pokphand's current expansion plans for both the agri-industrial division and the motorcycle factory should ensure that strong earnings growth momentum continued in the years to come. He rated the stock a ''buy for long-term growth''. Devaluation of the renminbi should not dent margins but under C.P. Pokphand's current accounting practice, any devaluation in the official rate would affect earnings on translation, he said. Although the debt-equity ratio remained high at 40 per cent, it was not expected to repeat the cash-raising exercises it carried out to fund expansion in the past three years.