China ties can help Hong Kong catch up in fintech

September 30, 2016

The city is playing catch-up with Singapore in financial technology. But as a gateway to mainland China, Hong Kong has two big advantages: easy access to a huge market, and proximity to tech giants Alibaba and Tencent. Those benefits should help it close the gap.

Singapore eyes last trick in the book to win IPOs

August 24, 2016

The city-state is moving closer to introducing dual-class shares. A growing sense of desperation about a moribund market for new listings has reduced opposition to such a move. The risks of giving up the high ground on shareholder democracy are likely to outweigh any rewards.

Temasek’s goals are bold for a low-yield world

July 8, 2016

The $180 bln Singaporean investor just suffered its first down year since the financial crisis. Still, it beat benchmarks, and some key holdings have since rebounded. However, Temasek is still targeting a feisty 8 pct annual return. That could skew future investment decisions.

Singapore, Saudi put corporate do-gooders on spot

June 9, 2016

Banks covet business in Saudi Arabia despite its poor human rights. They can say it’s the direction of travel that counts. Singapore, which just told groups like Goldman Sachs to stop backing a gay and lesbian event, is going backwards. It puts corporate sincerity to the test.

Noble CEO exit signals reduced ambitions

May 30, 2016

Yusuf Alireza is leaving the embattled commodity trader after four years in charge. Though Noble has avoided an immediate liquidity crisis, investors still question its long-term viability. Flogging its U.S. energy arm will raise cash at the expense of further shrinkage.

Singapore joins global battle against deflation

April 14, 2016

The city-state has problems others would love to have, including a budget surplus and low unemployment. But falling prices and exposure to weak global trade are a concern. That’s why the monetary authority has unexpectedly eased policy by pledging to keep the currency stable.

Container shipping deal stacks up in multiple ways

December 8, 2015

French giant CMA CGM is buying Singapore’s ailing Neptune Orient Lines for $2.4 billion plus debt. Offering majority owner Temasek and public shareholders close to book value – a 49 percent premium – looks generous. But the unlisted buyer can chart a course to value creation.

With strong new backer, Olam gets what Noble needs

August 28, 2015

Mitsubishi is backing a Singapore-listed trader bashed by short-sellers, paying $1.1 bln at a big premium. Noble needs such a vote of confidence. But the Japanese group is actually endorsing Olam – a firm supported by Temasek that has been spared the worst of the commodity rout.

Singapore’s anti-ageing cure will take time

August 10, 2015

A shrinking labour force and voters’ desire to limit foreign workers could mean slow growth and not enough tax revenue for welfare. The city-state is trying to beat its demographic destiny by boosting productivity. The payoffs will only come when global demand perks up.

Singapore at 50 ought to loosen up

August 7, 2015

Pragmatic policy and hard work helped the city-state attain a level of prosperity unimaginable five decades ago. Future success depends on dialling back state capitalism and paternalism, and spawning more entrepreneurs. Few will bet against Singapore continuing to defy the odds.