New Business Op: Farming Shell Companies

SCMP: How farming publicly traded companies has become a part-time job for novices
The bright young man, whom Money Matters knew as a toddler, has been earning his own tuition fee for years. But creating a listing firm from a biscuit shop with only three outlets is hard to imagine.

His boss comforted him with what he called a standard formula - find three more outlets to add to the shop; make an e-bakery platform that delivers to mainland China and the financial numbers will be taken care of by the specialists.

“Don’t worry about money. Just go and locate the shops,” said his boss.

Some may find this ridiculous. Yet the reality is “shell farming” has become such a commodity that, greenhorns like George are hired to do the basics.

What used to be the specialities of those with money, knowledge and connections is now being done by accountants and lawyers with money pooled from the rich.

The return is good. A clean listed shell on the main board can easily fetch HK$600 million. Shower HK$200 million on a dozen businesses and if one makes it to the listing market, you will be enjoying a 200 per cent return within two to three years.

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