OWING to delays in government construction projects, smaller construction companies are now facing a slowdown in business. Hansom Holdings is to expand its China business and involve itself in diversification plans by entering previously uncharted waters.Hansom chairman Keith Lam Hon-keung says the construction business is a lot worse than when the company listed in March last year. At the time, the company was expecting much business because of the new airport project. The slowdown in the property industry has intensified competition, with profit margins becoming tighter. Mr Lam says Hansom is considering exchanging shareholdings with small site owners in China to jointly develop properties. The company is also looking for opportunities to provide technical assistance for foundation projects in underground railway projects in China. - WAH KIU YAT PO CHUANG'S China Investment and a Zhenjiang department store have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture. The two parties also plan to redevelop the Zhenjiang department store into a shopping centre. Investment in the second project will be 200 million yuan (about HK$269.4 million at official rates). - WAH KIU YAT PO FOLLOWING the takeover of Santai Manufacturing by Cheung Kong and Shougang, rumours abound in the market of mainland organisations buying into Hongkong companies. One of these says the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is lining up a major move in Hongkong and that it is targeting Xiamen International Finance, a subsidiary of Min Xin Holdings. According to sources, the two parties have agreed on the terms of co-operation, and details will be announced soon. - TIN TIN DAILY NEWS THE share price of Pacpo Holdings, a unit of Pacific Concord, surged to $3.25 yesterday. The rise can be attributed to news of a possible takeover. Pacific Concord has wanted to sell Pacpo for a long time. The last potential buyer was China Strategic. However, Pacpo has a holding in Hongkong Building and Loan Agency, whose creditors would not agree to the takeover. Now that Hongkong Building and Loan has been taken over by Hongkong Chinese Bank, it is possible that the sale of Pacpo will go ahead. - TIN TINDAILY NEWS WING Lung Bank's share price bucked the trend in the market yesterday. Wing Lung will announce its results on April 14. Investors are expecting this stock to mirror Hang Seng Bank, whose share price has risen sharply after the announcement of its results. - TIN TIN DAILY NEWS THE Australian Options Market, which is under the Australian Stock Exchange, will introduce Dairy Farm options on April 14. Dairy Farm shares issued in Hongkong, London, Australia, Singapore, the United States and Luxembourg could be traded as options in Australia. - HK ECONOMIC JOURNAL THE expansion plan for Hang Seng Bank's Mongkok branch has now been confirmed. The reconstruction will be of a new 21-storey commercial building. The property is expected to be complete in September next year. Bank chairman Sir Quo-wei Lee says the office space in the new building will be rented out rather than sold. - ORIENTAL DAILY NEWS CHUANG'S Consortium says it bought back 10 million ordinary shares and 5.25 million warrants at 28.2 cents and 13.6 cents, respectively, on April 2. - MING PAO DESPITE the political row, overseas fund managers are still increasing the weighting of Hongkong stocks in their portfolios. A subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland has steadily increased the proportion of Hongkong stocks this year, from 2.9 per cent inlate December to 7.5 per cent at the end of last month. - SING PAO WANON International, which will soon be listed, has reduced its holding in Chevalier (OA) International by 63.2 million shares, equivalent to 10 per cent of the total issued. Wanon is expected to raise $24.3 million through the placing of the Chevalier shares. - SING TAO CHINA'S State Council has approved a second group of companies seeking to list in Hongkong. One of them is Panda Electronics, the largest manufacturer in its sector in China. The company must first set up a Hongkong branch and undergo internal shareholdingreform. Panda has a factory in Nanjing producing communications systems, satellite facilities, television sets, audio and video equipment among a range of more than 100 products. - EXPRESS NEWS NGAI Lik Industries has estimated that for the current fiscal year to March, orders will increase to $700 million. The company plans to wait for the yuan to stabilise before entering the China market. Company chairman Lam Man-chan says that due to the yuan's large drop in value, the company's expansion into China had been affected. Price rises of 30 per cent have to be made to offset the currency's decline, but the increases are not accepted by Chinese partners. - ORIENTAL DAILY NEWS Chinese Press Digest is produced by Corporate Information Services. For pre-publication service and other services, telephone 865 5006 or fax 865 5835.