Results multiple-choice quiz lets ICBC think outside the box It is hard not to appreciate the performance of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. While Citigroup, UBS and the like have suffered quarterly losses, China's No1 bank actually has some good news for investors - its interim profit is up by more than 50 per cent. We also like the modest way ICBC made the announcement through a multiple choice 'Estimated results' notice issued by the Hong Kong stock exchange, in which the bank ticked the box marked 'Significant increase over the same period last year'. The other choices were 'Loss', 'Significant decrease over the same period last year' or 'Stop loss'. Would that all the other exchange announcements were so simple. Big brief for a tall order Talking of which, as the price of oil surged to a new high yesterday, China Oil Resources created a record of sorts with the announcement of a new vice-chairman and chief operating officer. The stock exchange notice heralding the appointment of Professor Albert Ser-yuen Kwong ran to almost three pages and 1,000 words. And even then, it managed to miss out some details. We were told that the 58-year-old oil scholar and seasoned petroleum engineer has experience in oil and gas exploration worldwide, and 'is well-acquainted personally with various high-level international oil executives and tycoons', although it did not name names. Neither did it say what the good professor has been up to for the last few years as his biography came to an end after telling us he 'assisted and advised' PetroChina in 2003 before taking two years leave 'to focus on advanced research of biofuels and coal water slurry combustion technology'. It did tell us, though, that the Hong Kong-born professor is famous for coming up with the name 'PetroChina' as a student in 1973 and then as a registered company 20 years later, before selling it to the oil giant for 10 cents before it listed in 2000. Now he is the man charged with helping to turn around China Oil Resources, a former paint company, whose shares have fallen 69 per cent so far this year. The way funds work It is easy to explain why global equity markets have been experiencing big sell-offs, but it is more difficult to fathom why China plays such as Ping An Insurance (Group) and China Merchants Bank have been falling so dramatically this week. But there is an interesting story circulating in the mainland media. Rumour has it that a certain Beijing-based fund had sold 3.3 billion yuan (HK$3.76 billion) worth of A-share steel stocks in the past couple of months and bought nearly 4 billion yuan worth of financial stocks. There was nothing wrong in portfolio switching, but it is said the fund did not observe an unwritten rule of giving a 'heads up' to its peers about unloading such a large position, which triggered a collapse in steel stocks. As a result, several funds decided to teach the maverick a lesson by driving down a few financial stocks. Surely funds wouldn't stoop to such playground behaviour? Bigger pond for Li firm Li Ka-shing has another fish that is too big for the pond. Biotechnology unit CK Life Sciences International yesterday submitted an application to shift to the main board from the Growth Enterprise Market. It will be the third of Mr Li's firms to desert the second board after Tom.com (now Tom Group) and then Tom Online, which has since been privatised. CK Life's shares rose 6.5 per cent to 40.5 HK cents yesterday, although the stock is down nearly 80 per cent from its initial public offering price of HK$2 six years ago. It is the third-largest GEM firm, accounting for about 4 per cent of the second board. VTech puts it politely Cordless-phone manufacturer VTech Holdings has decided to kiss goodbye to the London Stock Exchange after 17 years. Like other companies with overseas listings, it has come to the conclusion that it just isn't worth it. However, chairman Allan Wong Chi-yun managed to phrase it in a diplomatic - and long-winded - way. 'After careful consideration, the board has come to the view that the relatively significant compliance costs and administrative burdens of maintaining a London listing are not justified by the very limited trading volume of the company's shares in that market, and hence it is no longer in the company's best interest to maintain its listing status on the London Stock Exchange,' he wrote in the company's annual results announcement.