Tax-haven Jersey opens HK gateway
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Tax-haven Jersey opens HK gateway
Author:xcd   Article source:  Hits:1349  Add time:2009-11-9  
◆Jersey, the Channel Island tax haven, has established an office in Hong Kong and gained approval for its companies to list in the territory, underlining the strength of corporate demand for exposure to Asia's capital markets.
◆The move comes as a growing number of companies are looking to Asia to raise funds and gain access to abundant liquidity in the region.
◆There is an “active pipeline” of Jersey-domiciled companies looking to list in Hong Kong, said Geoff Cook, chief executive of Jersey Finance, the body that represents the island's finance industry. In particular, several Chinese companies listed on the London Stock Exchange's junior Aim market were considering dual-listings in Hong Kong, he said, as they sought to raise their profiles and attract investors near their home turf.
◆Of the 60 Chinese companies listed on Aim, a quarter are incorporated in Jersey. West China Cement, a Jersey-domiciled Chinese cement producer, revealed last week that it was planning to list in Hong Kong next year and would review its listing in London.
◆Rusal, the Russian aluminium group controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, is also seeking a Hong Kong listing to help it reduce its heavy debt burden. It is believed that Rusal, which is domiciled in Jersey, was instrumental in getting the jurisdiction accepted by the Hong Kong exchange.
◆Winning approval as an “acceptable overseas jurisdiction” from the Hong Kong exchange means Jersey companies will be able to float alongside those from Australia, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, China, Cyprus, Germany, Luxembourg, Singapore, the UK and two Canadian provinces – British Columbia and Ontario. Rival tax havens Guernsey and the Isle of Man are not on the list.
◆“It puts us in a position where I think we can challenge and compete with the Cayman [Islands] and Bermuda and others for business in Asia,” Mr Cook said. “We believe we can successfully challenge for market share there.”
◆A year of negotiation and document preparation by government officials and market participants was required to gain the exchange's approval, said Mr Cook.
◆Tax havens worldwide have come under fire from regulators this year over their tax and secrecy laws. Jersey and neighbouring Guernsey have been trying to allay uncertainty over their corporate tax regimes in the wake of a recent warning that they conflicted with the “spirit” of European Union rules on harmful tax competition.
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