Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2009

Delving Further Into HK Equity Market

Hong Kong has been trying to court new listings as it deepens its equity market, which has been increasingly dominated by mainland China listings in recent years. Hong Kong exchanges have been putting a particular emphasis on companies from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as Mongolia.

Ernst & Young notes that the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will be the top fundraising exchange in 2009, with US$17.7 billion raised, or 18.7% of the global total. In 2010, Hong Kong could raise as much as US$47 billion in IPOs.

The aluminum company Rusal was set to be the first Russian company to list in Hong Kong in December 2009, but its listing was deferred due to concerns about its outstanding debts and corporate governance issues. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission granted approval in December, but the stock will trade in lots of 200,000 shares to prevent retail investors from potential losses. The FT's Lex says "regulating…

A Blessed Christ-mass

Me doggie and I wish all readers of this blog ... a blessed Christ-mass ...

yup, she's 8.5 months old now.

Best Cigars Smoked In 2009

Now onto cigars. Whether is coincidence or not, my two picks happened to be not Cuban. That is quite surprising given that Cubans have always ranked higher in my view and is a class above the rest, and makes up the majority of my smokes (favoured labels include Bolivar and San Luis Reyes). So here goes, my two best cigars for 2009: La Gloria Cubana's Series R and ... Padron's 1964 Anniversary Series.

The first one is Padron's 1964 Anniversary Series, especially the Exclusivo Maduro. This firm box-pressed cigar has a silky black wrapper. It has a perfect draw and burn, delivering rich, peppery smoke that has a heavy nutty flavor. A medium to full-bodied cigar.

Size: 5 1/2 x 50
Cigar Shape: Robusto
Cigar Filler: Nicaragua
Cigar Binder: Nicaragua
Cigar Wrapper: Nicaragua
Country of Manufacture: Nicaragua

Hell, actually the entire range of the Anniversary series are very good.

The next cigar is La Gloria Cubana's Series R. Packed in dark mahogany, cabinet-style boxes, La Gloria Cub…

Best Wine Tasted In 2009 - Luis Felipe Dona Bernarda

Well, its not just one wine but rather a series. Luis Felipe Edwards wines are wonderful. They started in 1976 and are from Chile. Don't just go and grab any Luis Felipe wines. They have been producing various collection, to name a few Bebibilidad, Hilltop, Gran Reserva ... but the best has to be the Dona Bernarda. The wine was aged in French oak for 18 months. The 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 from Colchagua Valley are unbeatable in value and drink-ability. Frankly, the year of production is pretty consistent year in year out. Never been disappointed with my 3 different bottles this year.

= Remember the bottle has the face of a woman on it.

Doña Bernarda was made since 1997. They skipped the vintage 1998 because they didn't reach the required quality. It had more than 85 % of Cab. Sauvignon until 1999. From 2000 they don't state the variety on the label, since it is a blend from different ones. It has been always mainly Cab. Sauvignon, but we they have used Malbec, Cab. Franc, …

Best Album In 2009 - Rebecca Pan's My Indie Music

For the last few days of 2009, I shall be featuring things I really enjoyed for the year of 2009. I will be featuring the best wine I tasted for the year, the best cigars I smoked, the best film, etc... First off the block, the best music album for the year, in any language, is Rebecca Pan's (Poon Tik Wah) project (its a project as she was instrumental in conceptualising, but only sang a few of the songs) My Dream, My Way, My Indie Music.

What was so enticing was the concept. Rebecca, a hugely popular singer in her younger days, and still lives and breathes music in her blood. I think she is 79 by now. Its hard to see someone in her 70s still getting enough support to put out an album, but it must be due to her passion that made it happened.

The album is full of exciting indie music performers, which she must have invited (and they must have accepted gleefully). All except one guest artiste, Eason Chan is there as well and he certainly is not an indie artiste, delivering a heart sto…

The Impending USC Rusal's Time Bomb, SFC Should Wash Its Hands Clean

Readers of this blog will know how much I frown on the proposal to list Rusal on HKSE. Well, they rejected the first proposal, then Rusal went to appoint two prominent HK figures onto its board. After repeated attempts, the world's largest aluminum maker Rusal was allowed to put forward its Hong Kong flotation plan under the prerequisite that the deal should not have a public offering tranche. To ensure that retail investors would not put themselves at risk to heavily indebted Rusal in the secondary market, the SFC also boosted the board lot size which may result in an entry price of as much as HK$1 million per lot.-----------Bloomberg: Rusal has said it plans to sell a 10 percent stake to help repay $17 billion of borrowings. The share offering will be led by Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG and BNP Paribas SA of Paris, with banks from BOC International Holdings Ltd. to VTB Group also helping to manage the sale. The exchange’s listing committee withheld approval for Rusal’…

China Banks' Risk Profile

The bulk of market capitalisation in Asian equity is in bank stocks. China has been leading the way, and the banks' health should be monitored closely. We know of the rampant bank lending that has been on going for the past 12 months. Now we need to know the extent of the potential bad debts and how that would play out in 2010. We already know that bad debts for credit cards have already doubled year on year and that is an ominous sign.

China's banks posted strong profit growth in Q3 2009 as new lending continued to surge. The jump in new lending meant that non-performing loans decreased as a percentage of assets. Regulators started to tighten lending standards in Q3, which along with the need to meet new capital adequacy requirements, could eat into profits. However, a shift toward longer-term loans and of savers into demand deposits may increase the net-interest margin for banks, which fell through Q3 2009 due to lower interest rates. Capital Adequacy Ratios Fitch warned tha…

CGI With A Soul, Avatar Stuns the Eye, Seduces the Heart

It takes a lot for me to really like CGI ladened movies. I have to qualify that I am one of the few who hated the Star Wars numer-olgy series. I like animation cause it does not pretend to be anything but cartoons even with better CGI. I tolerate the Transformers cause its action, but it has no soul. I am not a keen sci-fi fan as well, except when it has a good heart, like Close Encounters of The Third Kind and Contact. I loved The Matrix series, it is SF, CGI and a very deep story to tell. Hence after all the hullabaloo over the $230m James Cameron spent on the movie Avatar, and taking more than a decade to make, I seriously wanted him to succeed since it obviously is a work of passion as he is filthy rich already from Titanic.

Cameron made sure the story is there first and foremost, and its a great story. Any great movie story teller, like Spielberg will know that you want the audience to identofy and empathise with the main characters, and Cameron does that very well. Both the real…

Genting Singapore In Cairo - Some Perspective Please

Genting Singapore said on Tuesday that one of its subsidiaries has been selected as the new operator of a casino in Egypt. The firm said Genting Casinos, an indirect wholly-owned unit of Genting UK, has entered into a casino concession agreement with Misr Hotels. Genting UK has been awarded the casino concession for The Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cairo for an initial period of 10 years. It plans to open the new operation under the brand "Crockfords on the Nile".

The move is part of Genting's strategy to expand its casino resort network. It will also strengthen and develop GentingUK's position in the premium market through its key high-end London casino clubs, Crockfords, Colony and Maxims.

The Nile Hotel, located on the banks of the Nile and in the heart of the Egyptian capital of Cairo, will undergo a major refurbishment. The hotel is considered one of the iconic developments in Cairo which has contributed to the Egyptian travel industry since it first opened in 1958…

Asian Equities In 2010 - A Survey Of Views & My Take

Will the Rally Continue or Will a Correction Follow? Citi expects 9-14% increase in Asian equities in 2010, with North Asia (especially Korea and Taiwan) outperforming South Asia. Asset market returns slow as a recovery takes hold, as returns underperform expected earnings increases. Technology and bank earnings are outperforming other sectors. The U.S. dollar and U.S. interest rate normalization pose the greatest risks to Asian market liquidity. DBS expects index returns of at least 16%, based on expected 27% earnings growth for 2010 and 16% for 2011, keeping valuations neutral. The low global interest rate environment, expectations of Asian currency appreciation could push markets further. Sectors benefiting from stronger Chinese consumption should outperform and the energy sector is supported by government investment. DBS is overweight China, Taiwan and Singapore, Neutral on India, Hong Kong and Korea while underweight Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. U.S. r…

Can Tiger Surpass Nicklaus' Record?

Finally, a good sports topic for all to discuss over lunch and drinks. Many business people love golf. I just love to play bad golf (if you know what I mean). Paul Kedrosky's site has an interesting piece on Tiger's ability to surpass Nicklaus' majors record. That has been a fantastic hypothetical topic, particularly in light of Tiger's shenanigans:
So, Tiger Woods is going to take an “indefinite” amount of time off from golf. Assuming that sooner rather than later Woods comes back to the sport he has dominated for more than a decade – I’m guessing he is back by this year’s Master’s or U.S. Open -- let’s ask the question he likely cares about most: Will Tiger win more major tournaments in what’s left of his career than his idol Jack Nicklaus did in his? To refresh your memory, Tiger, who is about to turn 34 years old, has won 14 major tournaments; Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors in his career. Woods has to win five more, for a total of 19, to beat Nicklaus. Given the pace …

This Week At NBT!

Live Vicariously

Does Malaysia have a music scene? If you have to ask, then we''ll have to make front-row reservations for you at No Black Tie this week. For at No Black Tie, we pride ourselves in bringing a diverse range of musicians to our stage and giving them tip-top acoustics, in ensuring that the resulting musical experience is a priceless, unforgettable one.

Just this week we have both aspiring and veteran musicians take the stage. Come and be awed by the sheer talent and preservation of our up-and-coming musicians like Amanda Imani and DieHard. Between Amanda's soulful repertoire and DieHard's eagerness to entertain, we promise two nights of pleasure.

Then there are The Solianos, Rozz and Jamie Wilson — all musicians deeply rooted in the legacy of many of the world's music royalty. Come and live vicariously through these music powerhouses. Catch a glimpse of life on the road with musicians like The Eagles and Steely Dan with Jamie Wilson. Feel the invigorating…

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Swedish Meatball

I was in New York when the Tiger story broke, at first most people thought that it was a genuine accident and the media was making too much fuss over it. It was unbelievable how many channels were covering the news ~ hypothesis ~ pure gossip ~ speculation ~ridiculous claims ... and what was stunning was all of that generally turned out to be very close to the truth. OMG, even WSJ has it as a front page story.

Tiger Woods is a phenom as a golfer. It seems no one can touch him. When I was playing poker in Sydney Star City, we all got to talking about Tiger Woods making an appearance in Melbourne for a big golf competition. Funnily two of them paid A$650 for a 4 day package to go to the course, mainly to see Tiger play... and one of them was the croupier! The prize money for the winner of that tournament was around A$1m I think ... Tiger was reportedly paid A$3m as an appearance fee. Many may choke with that kind of fee just for appearing, but organisers do make that sum back easily with …

MOL Buys Friendster

Wow! What a deal ... but maybe 5 years too late??!! At a time where everybody is Facebooking or migrating to Facebook, it is hard to see real long term values in having Friendster.

WSJ: Vincent Tan reached a deal to acquire Friendster Inc., a social-networking site that retains a big following in South Asia but has been eclipsed globally by rivals such as Facebook Inc. and MySpace. Tan is buying 100% of Friendster, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., through his online-payments business, MOL Global Pte. Ltd., which is based in Malaysia. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. MOL is buying Friendster from a group of investors including venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and IDG Ventures. Friendster, whose site launched in 2003, blazed a trail for social networking—the idea of connecting with other Internet users via Web profiles. But as the company struggled with performance issues, many users ditched it in favor …

SGX Cracks The Whip

One may think that there are plenty of shenanigans in Malaysia, but they are just as rampant even in Singapore stock market. There are many small penny stocks that are being played like there is no tomorrow. Controlling share blocks change hands frequently causing many to speculate on "new order of business" or causes investors to bet on personalities, or mavericks as we like to all them. There are also problems with some foreign listings. The new rules by SGX are necessary.

One of the more important development would be the need to disclose on shares being collateralised by the controlling shareholder - we all know what that will mean. It may also hit some Malaysian company owners who have pledged their shares in Singapore in exchange for lines of credit - they certainly will not want that information to be in the public. Can you guess which Malaysian companies will be affected? I know a few but to put them up would be unethical, so do your own research and be careful. In fa…