Home' A Plus Magazine : Nov 2012 Contents 10 November 2012
ING Groep, one of Europe's
largest financial companies, has
confirmed that it will sell all of its
insurance and pension assets in
Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand
to the high-profile businessman
Richard Li for US$2.14 billion.
The acquisition by Pacific Cen-
tury Group, which is controlled
by Li, is valued at 1.9 times the
estimated book value of €865
million, according to a statement
from Amsterdam-based ING.
"This acquisition is abso-
lutely in line with Pacific Century
Group's strategy as a long-term
holder and developer of assets
and investments in three areas:
financial ser vices; technology,
media and telecommunications;
and property projects," Li told the
South China Morning Post.
Li's father, business tycoon Li
Ka-shing, promised to financially
support his son's new invest-
ments when he detailed his suc-
cession plans in May.
"With the money from his dad,
it's sensible for Li to make more
of these acquisitions going for-
ward," Benjamin Tam, an analyst
at IG Investment Hong Kong, told
Bloomberg before the announce-
ment. "He has personal passion
for the financial industry and had
exposure in the insurance sector."
The ING acquisition follows
Li's US$68 billion purchase of
PineBridge Investments from
American International Group
The deal with Pacific Cen-
tury Group was ING's second
significant sale in a month, after
it agreed to sell its Malaysian
business to AIA Group for US$1.7
ING has been selling its insur-
ance and investment manage-
ment operations in an attempt
to repay the bailouts it received
from the European Union.
The Hong Kong Monetary Author-
ity inter vened to weaken the Hong
Kong dollar seven times in two
weeks after the currency's value
was pushed up by increased inves-
tor confidence around the world.
In its latest action, the author-
ity sold HK$2.3 billion into the
currency market on 1 November
as the local currency repeatedly
touched the upper limit of a 29-
year-old peg to the U.S. dollar.
On 30 October, the HKMA
added HK$2.1 billion to the Hong
Kong banking system. On the day
before, the authority sold HK$2.71
On 23 October the HKMA sold
US$395 million worth of Hong
Kong dollars in New York trade.
Earlier on the same day, the au-
thority, Hong Kong's de facto cen-
tral bank, said it had sold HK$6.63
billion in the foreign-exchange
market in two interventions.
This followed a HK$4.67 bil-
lion intervention on 19 October,
the first time HKMA intervened
since December 2009.
The authority said in a state-
ment that it expects net inflows
into the Hong Kong dollar to per-
sist as investors seek investment
opportunities in Hong Kong and
"Since the U.S. Federal Re-
ser ve's launch of the third round
of quantitative easing, demand for
Hong Kong dollars has increased
and similar rises are also noted
in other currencies within the
region," the statement added.
The Hong Kong dollar is
pegged at HK$7.80 to one U.S. dol-
lar but is allowed to trade between
HK$7.75 and HK$7.85. Under the
currency board system adopted
in 1983, the authority must inter-
vene when the Hong Kong dollar
hits either the upper or lower limit
to keep the band intact.
imposing a no-pay leave policy
and a career-break programme
for its Hong Kong staff in a bid
to cut costs.
According to a PwC Hong
Kong statement, all of the firm's
staff will be granted 12 days of
additional leave, eight of which
will be unpaid.
Departments in the Big
Four firm will have different
timelines for staff taking extra
The firm will also launch
a voluntary career break
programme, which will allow
its staff to take an extended
break for either professional or
With this programme, staff
can take a break, of between
two weeks and six months, and
will be paid 20 percent of their
salaries during that time.
"We believe the approach
taken is the most ideal in these
PwC said in a statement.
"The measured and bal-
anced approach allows our
people to spend more time with
family and friends, while avoid-
ing the unnecessary need for
headcount reductions as PwC
has no plans to implement any
redundancy programmes," the
firm's statement added.
In 2009, PwC instituted an
unpaid leave programme in
several of its offices, including
the United Kingdom, Australia
PwC staff face
unpaid leave in
ING sells its Asian insurance units
to Richard Li in US$2 billion deal
Businessman says acquisition fits long-term development
HKMA steps in to weaken Hong Kong currency
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