Hard to keep Swire chairman down Could Hong Kong property boss Keith G Kerr be contemplating new mountains to climb when he steps down from the lofty post of chairman and chief executive of Swire Properties? It is difficult, as the saying goes, to keep a good man down. Even less so a fit one. Trouble is, though, he seems already to have scaled the highest mountain on earth, namely Everest. So he may have to look for other heights to scale once he retires. Having heard talk that Mr Kerr was a serious mountain climber, Ah Pak consulted the records and sure enough among the select few who have summited Everest is one Keith Kerr, who reached the top of the world almost 17 years ago. Sadly Mr Kerr is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to press inquiries and Ah Pak's attempts to establish whether he is the Keith Kerr in question have gone unanswered. But there under a headline 'Mount Everest British Story', according to the website www.everest1953.co.uk , is an account of Keith Kerr being one of two British climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest from the South East Ridge on May 15, 1992. Still, money should be no problem if he were to take a guided trip to the summit, which cost about US$65,000, as Ah Pak understands. Being a bit of a dreamer himself but without that kind of loose change, Ah Pak has wondered whether to tackle the 1,533 metre high Taishan peak in Shandong province. BlackRock team moves out The BlackRock Real Estate team in Asia has been repatriated to the United States. After the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers the four members of the real estate fund, which managed a portfolio worth more than US$24 billion, left Hong Kong in November last year. The move was made in order to achieve 'cost effectiveness' and the team would continue to hunt for more opportunities elsewhere at a time of market challenge. Ah Pak wishes them more luck than they seemed to have in Hong Kong where for the past two years BlackRock made no acquisitions in a mainland market which has undergone a severe downturn since the third quarter of 2007. They are not alone. Last month, US-based Aetos Capital withdrew its investments from two mainland joint ventures. KWG Property Holding, a Guangzhou-based property company, said the co-operative relationship with Aetos had been terminated. About 18 months ago, Aetos teamed up with KWG and held a 35 per cent share of the developer's three pieces of land in Chengdu in Sichuan province in the country's southwest. The relationship came to an end just a few months after Aetos decided to terminate its planned equity purchase of a stake in a Huizhou development called Huizhou Bailulu in Guangdong, which is being built by Agile Property Holdings. Ah Pak says it comes as no surprise that joint ventures established with such enthusiasm only a few years ago are now falling apart. Cash-flow boost for developers An order issued in Hanting District, in Weifang, Shandong province, should come as a relief to developers facing cash-flow problems, says Ah Pak. The district government issued the order in January stipulating that cadres must each sell - or buy - one apartment by June 30, according to a report in the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper run by Xinhua. The flats must be at least 75 square metres or bigger, and any officials who fail to meet the order will have their salaries docked, the newspaper quoted the order as saying. So while developers may be getting a bit of a windfall, some party officials may find out just how tough things are in the property market.