Breakingviews

Hong Kong’s cornerstone problem goes postal

August 25, 2016

Postal Savings Bank of China may sell as much as 80 pct of its $8 bln share offering to cornerstone investors. One unlikely ally, a big state shipbuilder, is already down for $2 bln. This is fresh evidence, on an epic scale, of how Hong Kong's IPO crown is thoroughly undeserved.

Review: The limits of predicting China’s demise

August 19, 2016

The country's prospects are bleak, David Shambaugh argues in "China's Future". His critique of the Communist Party's political flaws goes far deeper than most forecasts of economic collapse. Yet foretelling doom at some indeterminate point in the future still has limited value.

Shenzhen-HK stock link tees up “Bubble Connect”

August 17, 2016

Investors in the two cities will soon get access to each other's bourses. The addition to the Shanghai Stock Connect further opens mainland markets. The prospect of China's get-rich-quick punters exporting their investing tactics into Hong Kong small-caps is less heartening.

Hong Kong’s special status is in need of renewal

August 4, 2016

The former colony has mostly thrived in the 19 years since China took charge with a promise to leave it alone until 2047. But society is divided and the rule of law under strain. Without reassurances about its long-term future, Hong Kong faces an exodus of citizens and companies.

HK has to pore over cement deal that came unstuck

July 4, 2016

West China Cement shares crashed just before a takeover by rival Anhui Conch fell over. That suggests the news leaked somehow. Hong Kong regulators have already clamped down on insider trading, long seen as a big problem in the territory. A fast, thorough investigation is needed.

Jack Ma’s healthcare buyout is hard to stomach

June 9, 2016

The Alibaba boss’s buyout firm is bidding $1.4 bln-plus for U.S.-listed iKang. His minimum bid is 20 pct cheaper than an unfriendly approach from a rival, now dropped, which iKang’s CEO countered with a poison pill. Unless Ma pays more, outside investors will feel pretty icky.

UK deal veto would be big setback for Li Ka-shing

May 4, 2016

A $15 bln takeover of Telefonica’s O2 unit was key to making the Hong Kong tycoon’s costly bet on European telecoms pay off. If CK Hutchison cannot overturn a likely EU veto, his UK telco will either have to carry on as a disruptive fourth player, or find a fallback deal.

Li Ka-shing brings funding finesse to telco M&A

March 18, 2016

The tycoon may sell 20 pct of his UK mobile unit to outsiders. That could raise 1 bln pounds to help buy Telefonica’s O2, on top of the 3.1 bln pounds sovereign funds are already chipping in. That would let Li complete the 9 bln pound deal with no fresh investment.

UK Faustian pact with banks has a grim logic

February 15, 2016

HSBC’s unsurprising decision to stay domiciled in London rounds off nine months of the UK softening its approach to banks. There are reasons to find this new tone uncomfortable. But that is a moot point so long as the banking sector supplies 7 pct of UK income tax revenue.

HSBC’s choice for status quo risks pleasing nobody

February 15, 2016

After a 10-month flirtation, the lender is staying put in London. Britain has become more bank-friendly, and HSBC’s former Hong Kong home less certain. Moving its HQ would have been costly and complex. Yet the public rumination could leave both cities feeling short-changed.