Asia's best companies 2001 - Hong Kong

FinanceAsia congratulates the winners of the best managed company awards in this year''s Best Companies survey. Today we look at Hong Kong''s results.

This survey covers the performance of the top companies in 10 countries in Asia. Investors and other executives from financial centers such as Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and London are among those who participated in this survey. We had 497 votes.

Best Managed Company, Most Committed to Shareholder Value - Hutchison Whampoa   

Best Managed Company 

RankCompany Votes 

1

Hutchison Whampoa

60 

2

Cathay Pacific Airways

34 

3

MTR Corporation

25 

4

Cheung Kong Holdings

22 

5

Li & Fung

19 

6

Johnson Electric

16

7

Hang Seng Bank

11

8

Bank of East Asia

9

9

Swire Properties

7

Sun Hung Kai

7

 

Commitment to Shareholder Value

Rank

Company

Votes

1

Hutchinson Whampoa

49

2

Cheung Kong Holdings

27

2

Johnson Electric

27

4

Li & Fung

20

5

MTR Corporation

19

6

Cathay Pacific Airways

14

7

Hang Seng Bank

13

8

Bank of East Asia

9

9

Dao Heng Bank

6

9

Hong Kong China Gas

6

Hong Kong Electric

6

12

Sung Hung Kai Properties

5

Billionaire chairman Li Ka-shing has an unerring ability to identify new business areas and is utterly unsentimental when it comes to getting out of them. While Hutchison has invested billions of dollars in telecommunications ventures around the world, it was the first to pull out of a European third-generation license auction when the price seemed to high. Unlike many telecom companies, which racked up enormous debts to acquire 3G licenses, Hutchison remains cocooned in a nest of cash $9 billion net. It has management with a vision, notes one survey respondent.

Hutchison commands the clout of a corporate giant but is able to act with the nimbleness of an upstart entrepreneur. The company's ability to raise money and manage its investments is legendary. Its recent $1.5 billion, 10-year global bond issue is the largest single tranche ever offered by a corporation in Asia. It's no coincidence that the company is also considered the most committed to creating shareholder value. Hutchison's net profit in 2000 plunged 71% to HK$34.1 billion ($4.4 billion), as the slide in value of telecom and technology stocks around the world ate into the value of its investments. Even so, it upped its dividend to shareholders to HK$1.73 from HK$1.482 in 1999.

Best E-commerce Strategy - Cathay Pacific Airways

Best E-commerce Strategy

Rank

 Company

Votes 

1

Cathay Pacific Airways

68      

2

Hutchinson Whampoa

27      

3

Li & Fung

25

4

Pacific Century Cyberworks

12 

5

Bank of East Asia

9

6

Hang Seng Bank   

8

7

Dao Heng Bank

5

7

Hong Kong China Gas

5      

9

MTR Corporation

4   

9

Sung Hung Kai Properties

4

11 

Hong Kong Electric

3

12

Cheung Kong Holdings

2

12

New World Development

2

12

Global Sources

2

12NextMedia2

In October last year, Cathay Pacific Airways announced it would invest HK$2 billion ($257 million) in internet technology in a bid to reduce operating costs. The airline has invested, or plans to invest in, some 30 internet-based projects, including a new cargo website, which will reduce costs by HK$500 million a year by 2003 as web-based purchasing takes over from travel agent purchasing.

The back-end strength (culture, management depth, systems, and IT) of an organization is telling by the front-end process (customer care, innovation, image). Cathay Pacific has a strong linkage between the two, says one voter.

This survey covers the performance of the top companies in 10 countries in Asia. Investors and other executives from financial centers such as Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and London are among those who participated in this survey. We had 497 votes.

Best in Investor Relations - MTR Corporation

Best in Investor Relations

Rank

Company

Votes

1

MTR Corporation

50

2

Li & Fung

23

3

Hutchinson Whampoa

22

4

Cathay Pacific Airways

19

5

Cheung Kong Holdings

15

6

Hang Seng Bank

14

7

Sun Hung Kai Properties

13

8

Pacific Century Cyberworks

11

9

CLP Holdings

10

9

Johnson Electric

10

MTR Corporation, which operates Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway, develops and manages real estate and leases commercial facilities, and managed the first public sale of a state-owned company last October, when the government sold 23% of the MTR to raise $1.34 billion. The sale was 30 times over-subscribed; almost one in 10 Hong Kong residents applied to buy shares, attracted by the company's promise of a 4.5% annual dividend yield. The company worked hard to ensure that retail investors got a fair slice of the action. MTRC had equal success with its recent debt issues. In November the company successfully sold $600 million of 10-year bonds with a coupon of 7.5% to yield 187 basis points over comparable US Treasuries. It has good disclosure policies, applauds one survey respondent.

The results of this poll first appeared in the April issue of FinanceAsia magazine.  To buy a copy please send an e-mail to: [email protected].

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