50 years ago HONGKONG (August 3 - 10): THE hotel rates war, which began on July 31, ceased early this week when the Government agreed to conduct an urgent review. The Government's earlier decision to peg rates had become the principal topic of conversation in hotel bars clubs and cafes. Hotels initially appeared to be stunned by the maximum permissible rates, copies of which had to be conspicuously displayed at the main booking office and on all floors used for accommodation. The notices said the displayed prices were inclusive, and that no additional charges were permitted without the prior approval of the Competent Authority. An official at the Quartering Authority said any attempt to extract 'tea money' from hotel customers would be dealt with promptly and severely. However, hotels were not slow in reacting to the situation. A meeting was called at the Luk Kwok Hotel and an 'action ' committee appointed, with the result that all hotels were advised to send a letter to the Colonial Secretary. They also collected details of cases for representations to the Government. A second letter was sent to the Government, saying: 'We feel the action of the quartering authority in assessing hotel rates without precise knowledge as to operating revenues and expenditure is arbitrary, wrong in principle and without precedent in price control matters.' As a result of the representations the Colonial Secretary (the Hon D. M. MacDougall) received a deputation of hotel operators protesting the price conrtol measures. The Government statement added that after considering the case submitted by the hotels, the Government had decided to refer the whole matter to a specially appointed committee for urgent consideration. In the meantime, it had been agreed between the Government and the hotels that all hotel charges would be frozen at the rates in force on July 13, 1948, until the committee report is received. Vinyl action WASHINGTON (August 3): THE Attorney General, Mr Tom Clark, announced to-day the filing of a civil anti-trust action against both American and British makers of Decca gramophone records. The Department of Justice said that the Government's complaint alleged that American Decca - one of the largest maker of records in the United States - had conspired to divide world markets with British Decca and Electrical and Musical Industries Ltd. The latter are two of the largest foreign producers of such records. 25 Years ago New issues provide lift HONGKONG (August 3-10): TWO local companies going public shortly should provide the wavering stock market with much needed stimulus. The first offering since the 'new issues ban' is understood to be a shipping concern, Continental Marine. A Shanghainese family firm with minor equity holdings already taken out by local financial institutions, including the Hang Seng Bank, Continental Marine is believed to be putting up shares worth HK$40 million by private placement. However, the placement is seen as being a curtain-raiser for the star-studded debut of Wing On Life (Holdings) Ltd. Financial sources described the Wing On package on the 3rd as an exciting one that may well signal the return of investors queuing for application forms and a renewed boom market. Also on the local front, A.S. Watson & Co announced on the 5th that it has acquired the local ice-cream manufacturer Finland & Co. Mr J. D. Mackie, deputy chairman and managing director of Watson's, said that the company planned to redevelop the 10,000 sq ft site situated at No 13, Cheong Yip St, Kwun Tong. The company also intends to expand its ice-cream division by making full use of Finland's plant as well as buying additional equipment from overseas. 'The latest ice-cream production equipment has been ordered from the U.S. 'We are going to make it one of the most modern plants in Southeast Asia,' said Mr Mackie. Concorde in US PARIS (August 9): THE Concorde supersonic airliner will make its first visit to the United States next month with the twin objectives of blunting US opposition and launching a super sales drive. The Concorde will go to Texas for the dedication ceremonies at the New Dallas-Fort Worth airport on September 22. France's Aerospatiale, which builds Concorde in partnership with Britain's British Aircraft Corporation, said the airliner would make the visit at the invitation of the airport board. Concorde, on which the British and French have placed many of their aviation hopes, has so far failed to capture the American market it desperately needs. 10 Years ago Wharf sees $1b profit HONGKONG (August 3 - 10, 1988): DESPITE a $941 million drop in turnover, Wharf Holdings this week announced a rise in profit of 17.2 per cent to $1 billion for the year ended March 31. Analysts said the figures released on August 2nd showed Wharf had outperformed most market expectations, which had put an upper limit of $950 million for Sir Y.K. Pao's company. It was believed the drop in turnover was attributable to the loss of business from the disposal of its entire stake in Wheelock Marden. The disposal also contributed an additional $260 million in extraordinary gains, bringing total profit for the year to $1.26 billion. Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, President Raul Alfonsin unleashed an 11.4 per cent currency devaluation on the 4th as part of a package to help in 'the decisive battle against inflation', which is running at an annual rate of more than 300 per cent. The reforms were announced only hours after visiting United States Secretary of State George Shultz had given his view that Third World nations should take steps to boost their own economies. 'If you want to see economic development in a given country, then what needs to be done is to lighten up the regulatory load that has been so heavy in every country, to privatise economic matters, to get tax rates down, to get fiscal policies into reasonable shape, and to provide in an economy the openness, and the respect for private activity,' Mr Shultz said.