Cheung Kong (Holdings) is testing a fertiliser it hopes will become a major revenue earner, according to Morgan Stanley. The tests are being carried out in China and Indonesia by wholly owned subsidiary Cheung Kong Technologies (CKT), said analysts from the United States-based investment bank after meeting Cheung Kong management yesterday. Morgan Stanley told clients CKT equates 'the fertiliser product to the secret formula for Coke'. However, the investment bank warned 'no one is yet 100 per cent sure the technology will deliver'. A Cheung Kong official declined to comment on the contents of the Morgan Stanley report. It said CKT, which has invested about HK$100 million so far with additional capital expenditure of up to HK$300 million expected, planned to manufacture and market the fertiliser in China and then roll it out on a global basis. CKT is also in the process of applying for patents. Industrial sources said Cheung Kong recently acquired a fertiliser manufacturing company in China to help roll out its biotechnology business plan. However, the source said it would take at least a year before the plan was commercialised. Sources said Cheung Kong's biotechnology centre in Tai Po was a research and development focused operation, with a large number of biotechnology experts. About 100 people are involved in this venture, half of them holders of doctorate degrees, according to Morgan Stanley. MAB, a term which is used to describe the technology CKT is developing, is designed to activate the inactive cells in plant or animals. In this way it improves crop health and yields, and also enhances animals' immune systems and their health. Apart from fertilisers, CKT-developed technology can be used in water treatment and animal feed, but it does not envisage human applications for some five to 10 years. There is no gene modification involved in CKT's operations. However, the source said Cheung Kong had yet to commercialise the fertiliser business. Its production capability at the present time was rather limited. An industry source said that, since Cheung Kong was still testing the various applications of its generic research and developments into fertilisers, it might take three to four years before the fertiliser products could be brought to market and fully commercialised. Because of this the new business unit was unlikely to generate meaningful contributions to the group during the near term. Sources close to the project said the investment in the biotechnology business was relatively insignificant in Cheung Kong's portfolio and had yet to catch vice-chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi's attention.