Privatizations show where value lies

The recent privatizations and share buybacks of Sime Darby and Hongkong Land show that someone thinks it is time to start buying.

There are two types of privatizations in the capital markets one where governments flog former nationalized companies and one where publicly traded companies buy back their shares and go private. Both keep equity investment bankers busy and lawyers rich, but there the similarity ends.

In Asia we have for years been hearing about the first form of privatization as bankers, lawyers, regulators and pundits call on governments to sell their assets. Yet in the last few weeks we have begun to hear a lot more about the second form of privatization.

Share buybacks - another term for this exercise - are becoming increasingly common. Interestingly, it was the Jardine Group and its subsidiaries that...

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