Google Nears Smartwatch Launch; Company In Talks With Asian Suppliers for Mass Production

Google Nears Smartwatch Launch

Company In Talks With Asian Suppliers for Mass Production


Oct. 29, 2013 6:03 a.m. ET


Google’s smartwatch is in late-stage development and the device, which will run on Android, will be integrated with Google Now, the company’s digital assistant. The WSJ’s Yun-Hee Kim speaks with Eva Dou about what to expect from Google’s smartwatch. TAIPEI— Google Inc. GOOG +2.09% ‘s smartwatch is in late-stage development and the company is in talks with Asian suppliers to begin mass production of the device, people familiar with the matter said. Read more of this post

Zoomlion, Press Crackdowns and China’s Economy; Criminalizing business journalism damages investor confidence

Zoomlion, Press Crackdowns and China’s Economy

Criminalizing business journalism damages investor confidence.

Updated Oct. 29, 2013 5:04 p.m. ET

Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on media freedom is bad enough in political terms. But the case of Chen Yongzhou, the latest reporter to run afoul of the police, highlights the extent to which it’s also an economic problem. Mr. Chen was arrested October 18 in connection with his reporting on alleged financial shenanigans at construction-equipment manufacturer Zoomlion. Mr. Chen’s articles in the Guangzhou-based New Express newspaper claimed that Zoomlion forged various financial documents to conceal accounting improprieties and may also have been involved in the “loss”—to use state television’s word—of government property. Zoomlion has consistently denied these allegations. Read more of this post

Political Gridlock, Beijing Style; With Plenum Weeks Away, Few Signs of Reform

Political Gridlock, Beijing Style

With Plenum Weeks Away, Few Signs of Reform


Updated Oct. 29, 2013 11:11 a.m. ET

A high-level meeting in Beijing, which will set China’s economic course for the next decade, is expected to deliver only narrow reforms. The WSJ’s Michael Arnold speaks to Andrew Browne about China’s economic roadmap.

BEIJING—To admirers outside the country, China’s political system stands far above the dysfunctional democracies of the West in one regard: its ability to act decisively and deliver results that boost economic growth. Think of the flood of investment that enabled China to sail through the recent “Great Recession,” the dizzying roll out of high-speed rail, or even the spectacular 2008 Olympics. Read more of this post

NQ Mobile Halts Muddy Waters-Led Rout, Rises First Time in Seven Days on Deposit Verification

NQ Mobile Halts Muddy Waters-Led Rout: China Overnight

NQ Mobile Inc. (NQ) jumped 25 percent, leading gains in Chinese equities traded in New York, after taking further steps to refute allegations by Muddy Waters LLC that sank the stock by 62 percent in the previous three days. American depositary receipts of NQ Mobile, a mobile-services provider, surged to $11.01 yesterday, advancing for the first time since Oct. 18. Muddy Waters, the research firm founded by short seller Carson Block, said in an Oct. 24 report that the company inflated revenue and misrepresented cash balances. NQ Mobile denied the allegations. The Bloomberg China-US Index of the most traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. climbed 1.7 percent to 102.6, set for a fourth monthly gain. Read more of this post

China’s anti-pollution drive risks running out of gas

China’s anti-pollution drive risks running out of gas

8:40pm EDT

By Adam Rose and David Stanway

BEIJING (Reuters) – A chronic shortage of natural gas is hurting China’s plan to move away from burning coal to heat homes and offices, raising the prospect of more choking air pollution this winter and beyond. The problem is worst in northern China, where air pollution mainly caused by decades of reliance on coal has lowered life expectancy by an estimated 5.5 years compared to the south, Chinese and international researchers said in July. Read more of this post

Apple Expands China Business, Moving Beyond Big Cities

Apple Expands China Business, Moving Beyond Big Cities

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is working to broaden the company’s distribution in China as a way to reignite growth after the iPhone maker reported its first decline in annual profit in at least a decade. Cook said Apple is expanding how it sells the iPhone and iPad tablet in China, focusing on areas outside the country’s largest cities. The Cupertino, California-based company is adding more outlets besides Apple stores to sell its devices, and the iPhone is now available in 50 percent more stores in the country than last year, he said on a conference call this week. Read more of this post

Infosys’ Record Fine Targets Outsourcing Abuses

Infosys’ Record Fine Targets Outsourcing Abuses

A record fine against Infosys Ltd. (INFY) targets outsourcing companies and their alleged abuse of existing immigration laws to feed the insatiable desire for highly skilled engineers in the U.S. Infosys has been sending employees to the U.S. with B-1 visitor visas, letting it sidestep caps on H1-Bs — the permits designed for high-tech workers. To settle the case, the company agreed to $35 million penalty with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas that will be announced today, said two people familiar with the matter. The fine would be the largest ever for the outsourcing industry, which manages tasks for customers using a mix of on- and offshore labor. Read more of this post

Agriculture, Food Companies in Demand Down Under

Agriculture, Food Companies in Demand Down Under

Deal Volumes, Share Prices on the Rise


Oct. 29, 2013 7:57 a.m. ET


SYDNEY—Australian and New Zealand agricultural and food companies, well-positioned to feed an increasingly affluent Asia, are finding themselves on the shopping lists of investors both big and small. Consider the battle for Australia’s oldest dairy companyWarrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co. WCB.AU -5.11% Last week, Saputo Inc., SAP.T -0.14% Canada’s largest dairy processor, sweetened its bid for the company to 448 million Australian dollars (US$426 million), topping offers from two Australian bidders— Bega Cheese Ltd.BGA.AU +4.80% and Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Read more of this post

Truckers Tap Into Gas Boom; Operators of U.S. Truck Fleets Are Accelerating a Shift to Natural Gas Fueled Vehicles

Truckers Tap Into Gas Boom

Operators of U.S. Truck Fleets Are Accelerating a Shift to Natural Gas Fueled Vehicles


Oct. 29, 2013 6:37 p.m. ET


Operators of some of the largest U.S. truck fleets, including Lowe’s LOW +1.00% Cos.,Procter & Gamble Co. PG +1.43% and United Parcel Service Inc., UPS +0.55% are accelerating a shift to natural gas fueled trucks, betting on new engine technology that promises to drop the cost of shifting from diesel fuel. Home-improvement retailer Lowe’s wants its delivery company to shift all of its several hundred trucks to natural gas by 2017. P&G already has 7% of its trucks on gas and could reach as much as 20% within two years. UPS says it plans to buy 1,000 natural gas trucks by the end of next year.FedEx Corp. FDX +0.46% plans to shift 30% of its long-distance trucks to natural gas over the next decade. Read more of this post

Billionaire Bets on Rare-Earth Metals After Uralkal Exit

Billionaire Bets on Rare-Earth Metals After Uralkal Exit

Billionaire Alexander Nesis made a fortune from gold, silver and banking. His next target: producing rare-earth metals from material discarded as Russia developed an atomic bomb in the 1940s. Nesis’s ICT holding company is in a venture with state-owned Rostec to fast-track production of rare-earths, using thorium-bearing concentrate kept stockpiled for more than 60 years. The partners also plan to bid for Tomtor in the Siberian republic of Yakutia, a deposit that has more than 150 million metric tons of ore containing rare-earths and is among the largest in the world, Nesis said in an interview in Moscow. Read more of this post

The plunge in Indonesian property stocks since June may have reflected the increase in borrowing costs, amid concern that higher rates and tighter regulation are curbing demand from consumers

Tumble in Property Stocks Reflecting Higher Borrowing Costs, Regulations

By Jakarta Globe on 9:38 am October 28, 2013.
The plunge in property stocks since June may have reflected the increase in borrowing costs, amid concern that higher rates and tighter regulation are curbing demand from consumers. The central bank first raised its key interest rate by a quarter percentage from a record low of 5.75 percent on June 13, for a total increase of 1.50 percentage points to September, in an attempt to anchor inflation expectations and to narrow the gap in the country’s current account balance. Read more of this post

Indonesian footwear exports to fall by $1 billion; Weakening global demand and rising labor costs in Indonesia could be a major blow to the country’s exports of footwear

Indonesian Shoemakers Ready to Leg It

By Eva Fitriani on 10:43 am October 29, 2013.
Weakening global demand coupled with a potential production shutdown by some factories amid concerns of rising labor costs in Indonesia could be a major blow to the country’s exports of footwear. Industry insiders expect footwear exports to fall by $1 billion next year. Eddy Widjanarko, chairman of the Indonesian Footwear Association (Aprisindo), said on Sunday that the association had projected exports of footwear this year to reach $4 billion. However, for 2014, the figure is expected to drop to $3 billion. Read more of this post

High Land Costs at Industrial Estates Putting Indonesia at a Disadvantage

High Land Costs at Industrial Estates Putting Indonesia at a Disadvantage

By Tito Summa Siahaan on 9:56 am October 29, 2013.
Soaring land price in industrial estates puts the country at risk of losing out to its regional competitors, an Industry Ministry official said. Dedi Mulyadi, director general for industrial zoning and development at the Industry Ministry, said that land price in industrial estates in Indonesia was among the highest in the region. “A square meter of land in industrial estate in Bekasi and Karawan was priced at $191, higher than Bangkok’s $119 and Manila’s $52 to $102,” Dedi said on Monday. Read more of this post

India Breast Cancer Surge Hinders Private Exams for Women

India Breast Cancer Surge Hinders Private Exams for Women

Oncologist Bhawna Sirohi hurries to the front of a packed seminar room at Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital on a Thursday afternoon in April. Cramming this meeting into her 12-hour workday, she greets more than three dozen breast cancer patients united by the bright scarves covering their bald heads. Sirohi says that when she began her job at Tata Memorial, Asia’s largest cancer treatment center, last year, she realized she could never give the 50 to 60 patients she sees each day enough individual attention. Doctors at India’s premier oncology hospital typically have less than 10 minutes apiece for 1,000 newcomers a week. They often examine three people at a time in a single room, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its December issue. Read more of this post

World Wine Production Seen at 7-Year High on Spain and Argentina

World Wine Production Seen at 7-Year High on Spain and Argentina

World wine production is forecast to climb 8.8 percent to the highest in seven years as grape harvests rebound in Spain, Argentina and France, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine. The 2013 vintage is seen rising to 281 million hectoliters (7.4 billion gallons) from 258.2 million hectoliters in 2012, the OIV, as the Paris-based industry group is known, wrote in e-mailed documents today. Last year’s output was raised from a March estimate of 250.9 million hectoliters. Read more of this post

Under a Cloud, Lenders In Europe Are Grappling With Huge Legal Costs

OCTOBER 29, 2013, 4:43 AM

Under a Cloud, Lenders In Europe Are Grappling With Huge Legal Costs


European banks still face years of effort and billions of dollars in legal charges before they can restore their reputations and reconcile accusations of past wrongdoing, judging from financial reports on Tuesday by several of Europe’s largest lenders. UBS in Switzerland and Deutsche Bank in Germany reported enormous expenses for current and future legal problems. In Deutsche Bank’s case, the additional reserves contributed to a sharp drop in profit. Read more of this post

Ralph Lauren’s Winter Olympics wear: ‘Made In The USA’

Updated: Wednesday October 30, 2013 MYT 6:56:38 AM

Ralph Lauren’s Winter Olympics wear: ‘Made In The USA’

NEW YORK Ralph Lauren Corp unveiled its Team USA designs for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Tuesday, emphasizing that – “from yarn to dye” – they were made in America. The U.S. fashion designer debuted the red, white and navy uniforms on NBC’s Today Show and in a five-minute company video featuring its 40 American production partners in a bid to redeem itself after drawing heavy criticism for manufacturing US gear in China for the last Olympics. Days before the start of the London Olympics in July 2012, six Democratic senators introduced the “Team USA Made In America Act of 2012” after news reports that Ralph Lauren had outsourced its work to overseas factories. In response to the outcry, the company issued a statement vowing to design, source and manufacture all future Olympic outfits in the U.S. The film on the company’s website shows the production of the athletes’ American flag sweaters, starting with the 142-year-old Oregon family-run sheep farm to the California husband and wife team’s high-end knitwear company where the sweaters are made. Ralph Lauren, licensed by the United States Olympic Committee, has been making Team USA’s apparel for the opening and closing ceremonies for each of the Olympic games since 2008. This year the designer has made 65,000 items for the 650 American athletes, including navy pea coats and boots with American flag emblems, according to the website.- Reuters

Rabobank Rate Riggers See Bigger Crooks Than Themselves

Rabobank Rate Riggers See Bigger Crooks Than Themselves

Internal Rabobank Groep e-mails cited in the U.S. Justice Department’s case against the bank show a culture where fixing benchmark interest rates had become an easygoing routine, one in which employees joked about rate rigging while telling each other they weren’t really that bad. Exchanges among traders, rate submitters and a money manager in London were laced with jokes and requests to raise or lower rates depending upon the traders’ positions, according to a statement of facts filed yesterday in federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, as part of a deferred prosecution deal reached with Rabobank. Read more of this post

Pension Pinch Busts City Budgets; Municipalities Grapple With Burgeoning Retiree-Benefit Costs; A Costly Perk in Springfield

Pension Pinch Busts City Budgets

Municipalities Grapple With Burgeoning Retiree-Benefit Costs; A Costly Perk in Springfield, Ill.


Oct. 29, 2013 7:27 p.m. ET


SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—It pays for veteran firefighters and police officers here to retire around the anniversary of their hiring date—but it’s costly for this city of 117,000. Under current labor agreements, employees get a 5% bump in the pay periods around that date every year. Workers who retire during the short window get a perk: Their pensions are based on the temporarily boosted paycheck. The provision, which starts after two decades on the job, adds an average of $65,000 in lifetime payouts for each retiree who takes advantage. Read more of this post

Finally, a Good Time to Sell the Business; More small businesses are being sold this year

Finally, a Good Time to Sell the Business


Updated Oct. 23, 2013 9:08 p.m. ET


Three years ago, Peter Schoon of Orono, Minn., wanted to sell the technology-services firm he founded with his wife and retire. But the economic downturn put those plans on hold as the company’s valuation took a hit. In March, however, the 64-year-old Mr. Schoon finally handed over the keys to System Support Solutions Inc. to buyer Jon Von Rentzell, a laid-off operations executive who financed more than half of the deal with a loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Read more of this post

BlackRock’s Fink Says There Are ‘Bubble-Like Markets Again’

BlackRock’s Fink Says There Are ‘Bubble-Like Markets Again’

BlackRock Inc. (BLK) Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink, whose company is the world’s largest money manager with $4.1 trillion in assets, said Federal Reserve policy is contributing to “bubble-like markets.” “It’s imperative that the Fed begins to taper,” Fink said today at a panel discussion in Chicago, referring to the central bank’s $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. “We’ve seen real bubble-like markets again. We’ve had a huge increase in the equity market. We’ve seen corporate-debt spreads narrow dramatically.” The Fed in September decided against reducing the bond purchases as economic growth remained muted. Following a partial U.S. government shutdown this month, policy makers will probably delay slowing the stimulus until March, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists conducted Oct. 17-18. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has gained 24 percent this year, after advancing 13 percent in 2012. The extra yield investors demand to hold high-risk, high-yield bonds has dropped to 444 basis points from this year’s high of 534 in June, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Index. That spread reached 440 basis points on Oct. 24, the narrowest since May 28. “We have issues of an overzealous market again,” Fink said at the event, which was sponsored by the Paulson Institute and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Chicago at

Mexico Tackles Obesity Epidemic With Tax on Junk Food

Mexico Tackles Obesity Epidemic With Tax on Junk Food

Mexico is turning to its tax system to tackle the highest obesity levels in North America or Europe, with plans to raise levies on the fatty foods and sugary sodas that contribute to more deaths than drug violence. The lower house of Congress passed President Enrique Pena Nieto’s fiscal plan on Oct. 17 after adding a 5 percent tax on junk food. The duty is on top of a 1 peso per-liter tax on soft drinks included in the administration’s original proposal. The bill heads to the full Senate for a vote as early as today after upper house committees approved it this morning. Read more of this post

Drug Cartel Flexes Muscle in Troubled Mexican State

Cartel Flexes Muscle in Troubled Mexican State

By Leticia Pineda on 11:03 am October 29, 2013.
Mexico City. Brazen attacks on power stations in Mexico’s troubled state of Michoacan were a show of force by a drug cartel defying government authority and vigilante groups, local leaders and observers said. The federal government said Monday that police detained three men suspected of taking part in the assault on state-owned electricity facilities that left 14 towns and 420,000 people without power for hours in the western state. Read more of this post

Al Gore: The Coming Carbon Asset Bubble; Fossil-fuel investments are destined to lose their economic value. Investors need to adjust now

The Coming Carbon Asset Bubble

Fossil-fuel investments are destined to lose their economic value. Investors need to adjust now.


Oct. 29, 2013 7:27 p.m. ET


After the credit crisis and Great Recession, it seemed ridiculous to have thought that investing in subprime mortgages was a good idea. As with most market “bubbles,” the risk of giving 7.5 million mortgages to people who couldn’t possibly pay them off was somehow invisible to many investors at the time. Read more of this post

Batista’s OGX Said to Plan Bankruptcy Protection Filing

Batista’s OGX Said to Plan Bankruptcy Protection Filing

OGX Petroleo (OGXP3) & Gas Participacoes SA, the oil company controlled by former billionaire Eike Batista, could file for bankruptcy protection as soon as tomorrow, said a person with direct knowledge of the plans. The filing for judicial recovery, as the proceedings are known in Brazil, will be done after the close of trading in Rio de Janeiro, where OGX is based, said the person, who asked not to be identified before documents are submitted. While Batista is yet to decide, his shipbuilder probably will also seek protection against creditors, the person said. Read more of this post

Tired Asian Businessmen, Assessing Management Quality and the $15 Billion Oshin Retail Stock in China (Bamboo Innovator Insight)

The following article is extracted from the Bamboo Innovator Insight weekly column blog related to the context and thought leadership behind the stock idea generation process of Asian wide-moat businesses that are featured in the monthly entitled The Moat Report Asia. Fellow value investors get to go behind the scene to learn thought-provoking timely insights on key macro and industry trends in Asia, as well as benefit from the occasional discussion of potential red flags, misgovernance or fraud-detection trails ahead of time to enhance the critical-thinking skill about the myriad pitfalls of investing in Asia at the microstructure- and firm-level.

  • Tired Asian Businessmen, Assessing Management Quality and the $15 Billion Oshin Retail Stock in China, Oct 28, 2013 (Moat Report AsiaBeyondProxy)


Dear Friends and All,

Tired Asian Businessmen, Assessing Management Quality and the $15 Billion Oshin Retail Stock in China

“A tired businessman is one whose business is usually not a successful one.” – Joseph R. Grundy (1863-1961), Quaker businessman and US senator

“For many CEOs the hours are relentless; you’re working around the clock seven days of the week. I need a break. I think three-and-a-half years in the department store is a long time and if you think about our restructuring post the global financial crisis [and] us not being ready for the digital world, it has taken its toll and I’m just simply tired. The past three-and-a-half years as a CEO … weren’t normal, let’s face it. It was tough going and I am signalling my intention to resign ….” – Paul Zahra, CEO of David Jones, on Oct 22, 2013

Tears were welling up in my eyes this week. Not over Paul Zahra’s shocking announcement on Oct 22, 2013 over his sudden resignation as CEO of Australian upmarket departmental store David Jones (ASX: DJS, MV A$1.48 billion) and the even more shockingly frank explanation: Because he is “simply tired” and “burnt out”. Zahra could have confined his decision to the usual “personal reasons” but he chose to elaborate.

I was fighting back tears over watching the Japanese movie Oshin (おしん) that was shown in the theatres. The movie is a remake of the iconic 1983 Japanese TV drama which was a global hit. The never-tired spirit of Oshin, about a poor girl who perseveres and triumph against the odds despite all the bullying and adversities, has stood in sharp contrast to the admission by Paul Zahra. David Jones was down 44% since Zahra took over in 2010 and has reported consistent falls in revenue and is only now looking at the prospect of earnings growth. Zahra was recently credited for the potential reversal in fortune and he was awarded 88% of his short-term incentive payment.

Oshin is inspired by the touching story of the late Katsu Wada, the indefatigable entrepreneur who founded the once-successful Japanese departmental chain Yaohan in 1930. The film-maker explained that the 30-year lag for the movie version of the series was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Oshin and that even after 30 years, “there are some things that never change, like the inspirational story of perseverance”. Even though I have watched the TV series like most older-generation Asians and am familiar with the story, I still cried in one particular scene. Before Oshin’s beloved grandmother died, she had a mouthful of the rice porridge – wages that were earned by Oshin when she was taken in by the kind and wise matriarch Mrs Yashiro in exchange for her labor at the Kagawa-family rice dealer shop. Oshin’s grandmother’s touching parting words: “The rice is very tasty.”

The death of her grandmother steels Oshin’s resolve to make something good out of her life. The story of Oshin is to remind people to cherish those around them and to keep going no matter what happens. Perhaps I was also a little emotional because building up The Moat Report Asia has its unique challenges and what kept me going was the sense of duty to value-add to our subscribers and readers with authentic and refreshing views about resilient compounders in Asia as accounting frauds of companies with attractive quant financials and net-net numbers break out systematically and syndicates manipulating share prices and volumes run rampant. Like Oshin who treasure the people around her, I cherish every one of our subscribers and they come from North America, the Nordic, Europe, the Oceania and Asia, including value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities.

Quaker entrepreneur Joseph Grundy (1863-1961) illuminated a useful way to assess management quality with his penetrating quote: “A tired businessman is one whose business is usually not a successful one.” The story of Paul Zahra and Oshin highlighted two interesting questions:

  • Avoiding stocks whose companies are run by managers who are tired appear to be a sound method to lower downside risks. If so, is it possible to know in advance why managers get tired and burn out?
  • Why then do others not get tired like Oshin? How to identify and invest in stocks whose management and culture that have such Oshin-like quality?

To answer these questions, let’s explore the case of the $94-billiion retail grocery market in China:

  • Why is there one Oshin-like company in China, with a market value of $15 billion, who is growing sustainably when everyone else, from Tesco, Wal-Mart to Asia’s richest businessman Li Ka-Shing’s Park N’Shop and Thai billionaire tycoon’s CP Lotus, are “tired” with faltering growth and losses?
  • Also, what are the 3Ms that resulted in entrepreneurs and managers to not become tired? The 3Ms is also a simple and practical way to help value investors assess management quality.
  • How can companies avoid the fate of a Yaohan and investors to detect the downfall ahead of time?

“In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable ‘moats’.”

– Warren Buffett

The Moat Report Asia is a research service focused exclusively on competitively advantaged, attractively priced public companies in Asia. Together with our European partners BeyondProxy and The Manual of Ideas, the idea-oriented acclaimed monthly research publication for institutional and private investors, we scour Asia to produce The Moat Report Asia, a monthly in-depth presentation report highlighting an undervalued wide-moat business in Asia with an innovative and resilient business model to compound value in uncertain times.

Learn more about membership benefits here:

Our latest upcoming monthly issue for the month of October examines a Northeast Asia-listed company with global #1 market share leadership in 4 different products, including making the components for an innovative consumer product whose sales have climbed from $90 million to $526 million in the recent three years. The company is a hidden global consolidator with underappreciated growth. The stock is trading at PE 11.5x, EV/EBITDA 9x and generates a sustainable dividend yield 5.75%.

Our past monthly issues in August and September investigate a Taiwan and Southeast-Asian-listed entrepreneurial company, both with a dominant 80% domestic market share and have innovative business models to generate substantial cashflow to support both expansion and a 4-5% dividend yield. There is also a behind-the-scene conversation with the CEO of the two companies to understand their thinking process in building up the business.

The Moat Report Asia Members’ Forum has been getting penetrating quality dialogues from our existing institutional subscribers from North America, the Nordic, Europe, the Oceania and Asia, including professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities. Questions range from:

  • The nuances of internal dealings in Asia, including the case discussion of the recent deal in which HK billionaire’s Lee Shau-kee Henderson Land acquiring Towngas or Hong Kong & China Gas (3 HK) from his family holdings, seemingly déjà vu from the early Oct 2007 transaction when the market peak.
  • The case of F&N Singapore spinning out its property unit FCL Trust and getting “free” special dividend-in-specie and the potential risk in asset swap restructuring to deleverage the hidden debt in the entire Group balance sheet.
  • The dilemma of whether to invest in a Southeast Asian-listed company and hidden champion with a domestic market share of 60% due to family squabbles and a legal suit over the company’s ownership.
  • Discussion of the wise and thoughtful 107-year-old Irving Kahn’s investment into a US-listed but Hong Kong-based electronics company with development property project in Shenzhen’s Qianhai zone and the possible corporate governance risks that could be underestimated or overlooked, as well as their history of listing some assets in HK in 2004.. This is also a case study of “buy one get one free” in John’s highly-acclaimed book The Manual of Ideas in which the “free” property is lumped together with the (eroding) core business to make the combined entity look cheap and undervalued. What are the potential areas that value investors need to watch out for when adapting the SOTP (sum-of-the-parts) valuation method in Asia?
  • And many more intriguing questions.

Do find out more in how you can benefit from authentic and candid on-the-ground insights that sell-side analysts and brokers, with their inherent conflict-of-interests, inevitable focus on conventional stock coverage and different clientele priorities, are unwilling or unable to share. Think of this as pressing the Bloomberg “Help Help” button to navigate the Asian capital jungle. Institutional subscribers also get access to the Bamboo Innovator Index of 200+ companies and Watchlist of 500+ companies in Asia and the Database has eliminated companies with a higher probability of accounting frauds and  misgovernance as well as the alluring value traps.

The Omidyar way of giving: The founder of eBay aims to be a more entrepreneurial philanthropist than his predecessors

The Omidyar way of giving: The founder of eBay aims to be a more entrepreneurial philanthropist than his predecessors

Oct 26th 2013 |From the print edition


THE billionaire’s dilemma: spend $250m on buying the venerable Washington Post, or splash the cash on a start-up news network to be headed by a controversial investigative journalist with no experience of running anything? It is entirely in character that Pierre Omidyar chose the second option, bankrolling the new journalism venture of Glenn Greenwald, best known for his reporting on the National Security Agency. Mr Omidyar did not become a billionaire at the age of 31 by fixing an established institution, but by building eBay from scratch into a worldwide online marketplace. And fostering innovative start-ups with an ambition to improve the world has been the focus of his philanthropy since he gave up his executive role at eBay while still in his 30s. Mr Omidyar, who is now 46, has already deployed $1 billion of his fortune to this end, which puts his $250m media investment into perspective: a big bet, but not that big. Read more of this post

Turkey’s infrastructure: Next week marks the opening of a grand new tunnel under the Bosphorus

Turkey’s infrastructure: Next week marks the opening of a grand new tunnel under the Bosphorus

Oct 26th 2013 | ISTANBUL |From the print edition


ABDUL MEJID I, the Ottoman’s 31st sultan, had a dream. Reigning between 1839 and 1861, the determinedly Western-leaning sultan envisaged the construction of a submerged tunnel under the Bosphorus Straits connecting Asia to Europe. A French architect duly came up with a blueprint. But a dearth of technology and cash stood in the way. The sultan’s dream is now coming true, 150 years later. The world’s first sea tunnel linking two continents will be inaugurated on October 29th, marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of Ataturk’s Republic. Stretching over 76km (47 miles), and with 1.4km of it laid at the bottom of the sea, the $3 billion “Marmaray” rail system will “eventually link London to Beijing, creating unimagined global connections” boasts Mustafa Kara, mayor of Istanbul’s Uskudar district, where the tunnel comes out. Read more of this post

Bangladesh’s clothing industry: Bursting at the seams; As workers continue to die in unsafe factories, the industry keeps booming

Bangladesh’s clothing industry: Bursting at the seams; As workers continue to die in unsafe factories, the industry keeps booming

Oct 26th 2013 | DHAKA |From the print edition

AFTER the Rana Plaza clothing factory near Dhaka collapsed in April, killing at least 1,100 people, the big Western clothing companies that have their garments run up in Bangladesh came under pressure to intervene more forcefully to improve safety and working conditions in the workshops they buy from. Two groups of retailers and fashion brands, one mainly North American and one mainly European, have begun implementing new monitoring schemes. On October 24th Primark, a big British retailer, said it would extend for another three months the aid it is giving to families affected by the disaster, while it works on a long-term compensation scheme. Read more of this post

Mexico’s maquiladoras: Big maq attack; A 50-year-old export industry that provides millions of jobs has to reinvent itself quickly to stay competitive

Mexico’s maquiladoras: Big maq attack; A 50-year-old export industry that provides millions of jobs has to reinvent itself quickly to stay competitive

Oct 26th 2013 | TIJUANA |From the print edition

“ELECTRONICS are like drugs. You can buy them for $1 and sell them for $40,” says Jordi Muñoz, a 27-year-old Mexican entrepreneur. People in Tijuana, where he makes small, insectlike drones (pilotless aircraft) for civilian use, would probably prefer he used a different metaphor: the city is trying to put its narcotic reputation behind it. But Mr Muñoz feels free to say what he likes, because he has found the holy grail for exporters in northern Mexico. He has brought inventive flair, not just deft fingerwork, to the process of making things (see article). Read more of this post

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