ICBC toasts success of cocktails amid storm Tropical Storm Koppu may have slowed a few economic activities in Hong Kong, but it could not stop the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China from crowing about how many people braved the weather to turn up at its booth at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. ICBC, which is making its debut at this week's Swift International Banking Operations Seminar, put out a press release yesterday to describe its cocktail reception on Monday night. 'Outside, it was storming under a typhoon No8. Inside, we had a full house of guests - what a contrast!' It then went on to quote guests from the Royal Bank of Canada and Hang Seng Bank who said it took them more than two hours to get to the reception, adding: 'The typhoon could not stop us from coming because we were invited by ICBC.' This was all evidence of the pull of the biggest bank in the world, it said. Perhaps, but being one of the few places in town providing food and drinks that night could have had something to do with it as well, especially as it was free. SHKP grilled on fatal plunge The death of six workers in an accident at the International Commerce Centre on Sunday dominated yesterday's post-results briefing of Sun Hung Kai Properties. It accounted for the fact that the company had 10 people on the stage to field questions instead of the usual three or four. Vice-chairman Raymond Kwok Ping-luen (above) was the first to leave his seat when the press relations people called it a day after 30 minutes of grilling. However, the question-and-answer session did not end there. Reporters kept firing questions at fellow vice-chairman Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong for three more minutes, leaving his brother Raymond walking back and forth in the background not knowing whether to stay or go. In the end, he left with the others. Biggest payout The Kwok family of Sun Hung Kai Properties is top of the table when it comes to dividends. The company maintained a HK$2.50 dividend despite reporting a 62 per cent profit drop last year, which means the family will receive HK$2.75 billion, topping the Li family of Cheung Kong (Holdings), which received HK$2.28 billion, and the Lee family of Henderson Land Development, which received HK$690 million, down 45 per cent from the previous year. However, the Kwoks arguably have spent much of their dividend already. The controlling family of Hong Kong's largest property company bought back 10 million shares from September last year to January at prices between HK$49.80 and HK$94.80, making it one of the most aggressive buyers among its blue-chip peers during the financial crisis. Shares of SHK Properties closed HK$1 down at HK$112 yesterday. Lucrative bet on death You don't need to be a follower of Confucius to understand what life and death are all about before making some big money in the stock market. Consider his famous saying: 'If you don't understand what life is, how will you understand death?' Well, some investors will hope they had either jumped in, or stayed longer, with one of the most successful initial public offerings of the year, the misnomered funeral provider Sino-Life Group, which surged as much as five times in five trading days. The counter, which has outshone giant mainland insurer China Life Insurance in terms of stock turnover, shot up 75.9 per cent yesterday to HK$4.24 before closing at HK$3.10, still up 28.6 per cent on the day. Sino-Life made its debut a week ago at 72 HK cents through a placement with institutional investors on the Growth Enterprise Market. Its half-day turnover yesterday topped HK$962 million, compared with HK$150 million on its debut. It has some people thinking that Sino-Life not only deals with dead bodies, but may even have the power to raise the dead. Resigned to the inevitable Staff at Cathay Pacific Airways seem resigned to their fate. A vox pop of employees by the in-house newsletter CX World to find out how they feel about Air China buying a larger stake in the airline produced some fairly phlegmatic results. Three of the six respondents said they expected Air China to take over Cathay in the long run, one said the latest deal was logical, while the other two said they were not worried, as it would have little impact on the staff.