Dongfang's day dogged by delay

WITH all the excitement of the second batch of H-share issues, it is easy to forget the last two remaining offerings from the first round which have yet to make it to market.

Tianjin Bohai is expected to be up on the board by next month. But whatever happened to Dongfang Electric? It had been expected Dongfang would be the eighth of the nine issues but now it seems to be a case of ''the loneliness of the long distance runner'', as it trails in last.

Despite fund managers, analysts and the media having the guided tour out at its home in Sichuan province, the issue is expected to be well over time in making its flotation deadline.

It is now an open secret with merchant bankers and exchange officials that the issue will not make the assigned month of May for its debut.

The reason, we are told, is the underwriter, Nomura, is behind in getting the required paperwork through to the listing department of the stock exchange.

According to other bankers in town, this raises the question of Nomura's organisational ability to handle these kinds of issues in the future.WHEN Beijing announced it would institute a policy of limiting telephone equipment supply companies to three or four, it was obvious something or someone would have to give since it currently has about 10 major foreign equipment suppliers. Following AT & T's spectacular $150 million (about HK$1.16 billion) deal to invest in China's telephone system, which will also triple its staff of 800, it seems the Americans are on a good run in China.

Aside from the easy jibe it just might have something to do with getting China's Most Favoured Nation trade status renewed, the interesting question is who will be dropped to make the order stand up? We certainly do not want to venture a guess but, on the other hand, maybe nobody is. Perhaps it is all just a clever ruse to persuade nervous telephone companies to make their tenders at rather more competitive prices.

That was certainly the suggestion of a few old hand telecommunications men who have been monitoring the situation carefully.