Archive for May 3rd, 2011

Chinese techy firm leaves Maryland for Cayman

| 03/05/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Cogo Group, Inc. a leading gateway for global semiconductor companies to access the industrial and technology markets in China, has announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved the redomestication of the Company from the State of Maryland to the Cayman Islands. A wholly owned indirect subsidiary of the Company, Cogo Group Cayman, Inc. ("Cogo Cayman"), has filed a registration statement on Form F-4 relating to the redomestication transaction and future stockholder meeting. It is the Board’s belief that the redomestication will make Cogo’s shares more attractive to non-U.S. investors and ultimately broaden its shareholder base, the firm said in a statement.

The redomestication would allow the Company to dual-list its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange but it does not mandate that the dual-listing will occur. Following a successful redomestication, if the Company chooses to initiate the dual-listing process for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, it would take an estimated three to six months to complete.

"One of the main fiduciary responsibilities of Cogo’s Board of Directors is to maximize value for our shareholders,” Jeffrey Kang, CEO of Cogo, said. “We believe that by changing our domicile to the Cayman Islands, which will allow the flexibility to dual-list our shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, if we choose to do so, will help broaden our shareholder base to non-U.S. investors. We expect to be able to achieve this result with no material tax changes and limited costs relative to the potential improvement in shareholder value and a broadened shareholder base."
 

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Conservation hopes dashed

| 03/05/2011 | 48 Comments

(CNS): As fears grow over the negative impact disappearing habitat is having on the Cayman Islands’ unique flora and fauna, the minister with responsibility for the environment had little comfort for conservationists last week. Mark Scotland was unable to give a date when he will bring the National Conservation Law (NCL) to the Legislative Assembly when asked by CNS. Despite earlier assurances when he was first elected that the bill was a priority, the minister could not even say for certain if it would be brought before the end of this year. He said that government had taken on board the input during the latest public consultation period which ended last year and said that the bill might be tabled sometime in the coming year.

Speaking at the National Climate Change workshop back in 2009, Scotland had said his ministry was working hard to get the National Conservation Bill back on track and was going into 2010 with a vigorous public outreach campaign.

“I give the undertaking today that we will make every effort to hear all parties and take on board every concern. However, we in Cayman need to understand that the time has come tomake sacrifices to protect our Islands for future generations,” he said some eighteen months ago, when he also stated that unless the integrity of Cayman’s natural resources was safeguarded, it would be the death-knell for the Islands.

“We simply must have comprehensive and updated environmental protection legislation,” Scotland had said in 2009 six months after taking up the ministerial post.

However, speaking at a press conference on Thursday held to demonstrate solidarity for the premier in the wake of a no confidence motion filed by the opposition leader, Scotland had little to say on the long awaited bill.

His colleague Rolston Anglin said that Cayman had done a “great job compared to many others”, when it came to protecting the environment, despite the fact that there is no legal protection whatsoever for any of the country’s land based flora and fauna, with the exception of the blue iguana.

He pointed to the Turtle Farm as an example of conservation work, as well as the programme in Little Cayman to protect groupers and said that the work of legislators over the years had resulted in marine life flourishing.

Anglin also stated that more recently he had begun to see green parrots in West Bay, which was something, he said, one never saw when he was young. However, the minister did not seem to recognise that the reason why he was seeing parrots in urban areas was because they are, experts say, being increasingly displaced from their normal wild habitat and foraging for food and nesting places in gardens as a result.

As the NCL continues to languish in political limbo, local experts point to the mounting crisis and the real danger that many local species are in. Indigenous snakes, butterflies, bats, lizards, orchids, silver thatch palms and all other trees, plants and flowers unique to these islands have nothing in law to protect them.

Mangroves in particular, which are not only important habitat when it comes to providing a nursery for reef fish and a home to a host of wildlife, but important in their own right as a protection against storm surge in hurricanes remain dangerously exposed to destruction. Although mangrove buffer is supposed to have some protection in the planning law, the recent removal of several hundred feet of ocean front mangroves by the developer of the Ritz Carlton demonstrates that the planning designation of buffer zone is inadequate.

As development continues the loss of habitat is one of the most pressing problems because the flora and fauna have increasingly less space in which to propagate.

Without the NCL there is nothing in law to formalize the environmental impact assessment process that could point to and warn of potential losses of natural resources, enabling developers to mitigate that impact. Given the recent announcements by government regarding an array of proposed infrastructure projects, without the law the dredging of the North Sound or the installation of an oil refinery could all happen without any compulsion for the developers to carry out an impact assessment.

In the last round of public consultation on the legislation representatives from the DoE emphasised the serious urgency of the law and asked the public to show its support for the legislation. Wider public opinion appears to be in favour of the legislation: a straw poll on CNS resulted in 72% of voters wanting to see the law passed as soon as possible.

However, despite public backing it appears that fears from some quarters of the community that the law would stifle unbridled development have had a greater influence on government.

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