Less and less public every day

Jardines'' share buyback is part of a masterplan to consolidate Keswick control of the conglomerate.

It came as little surprise that Jardines decided to buy back its own stock yesterday. For anyone who follows the company, the move was entirely in character.

On the surface the move looks like a great victory for minority shareholders. The monies from the sale of its stake in investment bank Flemings are being given back to shareholders as opposed to invested by Jardines management. The record of the company management in making investments has not always been good, so many shareholders will have slept easier last night.

However, the underlying motive behind the buyback is far simpler. It is part of the ongoing privatization of the group a move designed...

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