Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Call me curious...

I've been following Gome Electrical in Hong Kong (well...China) because I found their "due process" for the perceived richest man in China interesting and intriguing.

Three months later, Huang and his wife and former co- director, Lisa Du Juan, remain incommunicado, along with Zhou Yafei, Gome’s former chief financial officer, somewhere in China’s penal system, leaving Greaves and his remaining co- directors scrambling to avert the company’s collapse.
Obviously, Gome Electrical had a falling out with the CPPCC, and it is time to make amends.

The survey estimated that migrant workers who returned home jobless accounted for about 15.3 percent of the total, or about 20 million people.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security estimated that China's labor oversupply problems would further exacerbate this year, as 24 million people are looking for jobs. This includes 13 million new job seekers, 8 million laid-off workers and 3 million unemployed workers.
The Chinese government makes it clear that unemployed migrant workers needed to be a priority what did Gome Electrical do?

Home electronics and appliance retailer Gome is planning to hire 20,000 migrant workers to fill up vacancies in its delivery, installation and maintenance divisions.

Gome Vice-president He Yangqing said the company would conduct the recruitment on a nationwide scale. He, however, did not indicate the time frame for the hiring process.
And, they don't have any of those pesky ACLU issues to deal with either.

He Yangqing said his company would look for people below 35 and with a keen eye for work. Gome will provide professional training programs to these migrant workers. The training would be in basic logistics, delivery, installation, maintenance and other professional services jobs.
There are a couple things to consider here. First off, the success of Gome Electrical is tied ever so neatly into the US financial stream...Specifically:

Gome’s investors -- which include Capital Research & Management, a unit of Capital Group Cos., the largest U.S. manager of stock and bond mutual funds; Warburg Pincus LLC; and clients of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley -- still can’t trade the suspended stock. All four fund managers declined to comment.
They are, by far, one of the biggest retailers in China. When their founder (and the richest man in China) was disappeared, the stock started to tank. Now, it would appear, in order to appease the communist government, they are taking on a large hiring task of migrant workers (presumably, lower cost labor). Gome Electrical went so far as to hire Ernst & Young LLP as a forensic auditing service to find any account irregularities, and they have found nothing to date.

So...what is really going on? How much stock was frozen? Why won't the US stock and bond traders comment? I'm just curious to know whether it was a pittance or a ransom.