In an exclusive report, Webb-site.com has
learned of a secret government plan to float itself on GEM. We look at the
detailed implications of this, the ultimate step in Government
privatisation. Investors are already queuing up to apply for shares in the new entity, to be known as eGovHK.com.
eGovHK.com to Float on GEM
1st April 2000
Webb-site.com has learned of a secret plan by the
Government of Hong Kong to capitalise on the current dot-com craze by floating
itself on the technology-heavy GEM board.
A source close to the Government who we will call Stephen Lam
(not his real name), gave us an exclusive briefing on the project.
All existing government departments, including the SFC, will be
transferred to the new entity, to be known as eGovHK.com Limited, which will then
be floated on GEM as part of a global offering. The Financial Secretary is
understood to have been heading toward Nasdaq via Las Vegas, but Mr K S Lo, head
of GEM, said to him, "brother Yam-kuen, Hong Kong needs you on its
Pursuant to a GEM waiver given in the "exceptional
circumstances" of the issue, senior civil servants of grade FS and
above will be entitled to share options over up to 90% of eGovHK.com.
The Exchange Fund, now standing at over HK$1 trillion, will be
distributed prior to the flotation as a special dividend to the National People's Congress of the PRC
Government . According to the source, this was in line
with the "true legislative intent" of the Basic Law and what the SAR
Preparatory Committee had in mind at the time.
Universal Suffering Soon!
Members of the public will not be left out either. Mr P Woo,
Director of investor relations, said that any citizen who pays at least as much
tax as he does will entitled to voting shares in eGovHK.com, whereas
non-taxpayers, the retired, sick and poor will each receive one non-voting
zero-coupon perpetual preference share. The voting shares will form a class
known as the "functional constituencies shares" while the non-voting
stock will form a class known as the "disfunctional constituency
Commending the proposal, Mr G Wu, head of the Government's
strategic sewerage creation scheme, said "if Martin Lee had been Chief
Executive of Hopewell, it would have lost 83% of its market value since the
handover.... oh, wait a minute, it already has - just as well the whole Hang
Seng Index hasn't been hopeless!"
In a related move, the source disclosed plans to spin off two
subsidiaries of eGovHK.com just a week after listing. Each resulting subsidiary
will spin off two more per week thereafter, and it is estimated that there will
be approximately 1,024 listed subsidiaries after 10 weeks, subject to the GEM
Listing Division being able to keep up. The Exchange is understood to have
drafted in a number of extra staff from the Water Authority to cope with the
deluge of listing applications, which it will process faster than you can say
One of the first spin-offs is planned to be eRoadsHK.com, the
existing road system. In order to ensure a level playing field in a territory
filled with slopes, the company will be split into 3 different subsidiaries each
of which will be entitled to the revenue from one lane of the key arterial route
known as Gloucester Road.
Through a web-enabled B2B (bumper-to-bumper) road pricing
system, sensors attached to each car will pass over intelligent white lines embedded between each road lane, and automatically debit the bank
account of the car owner for the fee payable for use of that road lane.
It is understood that a reverse auction portal of road pricing
(to be known as BitsnPieces.com) will be established so that the 3 companies can constantly compete for traffic by
offering lower prices when their lanes are less congested. Prices will be fed to
the driver by a "heads-up-display" projected onto the windscreen, and
when a lower price becomes available in another lane, he will be able to swerve
into that lane and achieve significant savings. The "early adopters"
of this technology are expected to be taxi drivers and mini-bus drivers, who
will be entitled to installation of the system when upgrading to the new
environmentally-friendly nitro-glycerine fuel.
Sponsors of eGovHK.com are already indicating that they expect
the issue to be over-subscribed by at least as much as Beijing Enterprises, and
the queue for application forms snakes from Queen's Road all the way back to the
CyberPort. An extensive TV advertising campaign is planned, featuring a man
demonstrating centrifugal force on his neighbour's children.
© Webb-site.com, 2000