Top corporates show concern over climate change Thanks to former United States vice-president Al Gore and his inconvenient truth, Hong Kong corporates have never been more aware of climate change and the need for environment protection - or so it would appear. On the website for an International Conference on Climate Change to be held in Hong Kong next month, we spotted that four of the top six Hong Kong blue-chip companies - ranked by listing code - were among the sponsors. They were CLP Holdings (stock code 2, platinum sponsor), Hong Kong and China Gas (3, gold sponsor), HSBC Holdings (5, platinum sponsor) and Hongkong Electric Holdings (6, gold sponsor). Other local corporates involved were Cathay Pacific Airways, Melco Group, Hip Hing Construction, which is part of NWS Holdings, and Jebsen & Co, along with multinationals such as Exxon Mobil Corp, Philips and Siemens. The conference, to be held over the last three days of next month at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, is themed 'Act on climate change - now or never'. The keynote speakers from as far as Europe, Australia and the US include Professor Liu Yanhua (above), a vice-minister of science and technology in Beijing. We appreciate any effort by companies to act on the global warming issue, and we hope the local involvement by our blue chips is not just a desperate scramble for green credentials. The taxman taketh away H-share company executives can pick up big pay as readily as anyone, but hanging on to it is another matter. Ping An Insurance (Group) chairman and chief executive Peter Ma Mingzhe (below) paid 10.13 million yuan in tax last year, as disclosed in the company's annual report. Mr Ma, the highest paid H-share company executive in 2005, made 23.51 million yuan last year, up 66 per cent from the previous year. The taxman, his cut disclosed for the first time, shaved this back to 13.38 million yuan. The company's chief financial officer, Louis Cheung Chi-yan, earned 19.87 million yuan, but then paid 8.31 million yuan in tax. Altogether, Ping An contributed 23.34 million yuan in tax, or about 42 per cent of what all 10 directors made. Investors pay more for less How much did you have to pay to guarantee receiving one minimum lot of Country Garden Holdings, worth HK$5,380, at the initial public offering price? Answer: HK$807,000. With 682,448 people applying to get a share of Country Garden, the mainland property company had no way of satisfying demand. It had to let down 70 per cent of applicants for the stock - who may feel some relief, after the H-share market fell 3.2 per cent yesterday. A detailed look at the allotment announcement showed that only those who subscribed for 150,000 shares, worth HK$807,000, could be guaranteed of getting their hands on the minimum 1,000 shares of Country Garden. There were 3,697 such subscribers. A total of 4,735 punters subscribed for one million shares worth HK$5.38 million. They each received only 5,000 shares worth HK$26,900. Similarly, 19 subscribers paid a maximum of HK$645.6 million and went for 120 million shares. Each received only 594,000 shares worth HK$3.19 million. The selling shareholder was Yang Huiyan, a daughter of chairman and founder Yeung Kwok-keung, She may be more relaxed today, when the shares are listed, than the lucky subscribers as they watch to see if yesterday's sharp drop in the market continues or delivers up a prompt profit in their holdings. Near-perfect attendance Congratulations to the directors of Cheung Kong (Holdings) for their near-perfect attendance record. All 21 directors - with the exception of one retired independent non-executive director - attended four directors meetings last year. Ditto for associate Hutchison Whampoa, whose seven executive directors also had a perfect record - possibly because five of them are also Cheung Kong directors. Only two independent non-executive directors - CLP chairman Michael Kadoorie and Hang Seng Bank vice-chairman and chief executive Raymond Or Ching-fai - missed two meetings. Clarification In a Lai See item on April 18, 2007, headlined 'Race for FCC post turns into spitting campaign', we printed the opening comments of the election platform of Anthony Nedderman to become second vice-president of the board of governors of the Foreign Correspondents' Club. We would like to make it clear that SCMP does not associate any of Mr Nedderman's comments with barrister Kevin Egan. We apologise for any misunderstanding.