Swank International Manufacturing, which has been in a tight cash flow situation lately, removed Eddy Lau as chief operating officer and executive director on Dec. 15. It seems likely that his ouster was related to changes in ownership that resulted in Swank's public float's being restored on Dec. 16. Swank had not been trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since Nov. 5.

Swank's controlling shareholder, Probest, agreed last Dec. 16 to a complicated series of transactions that lowered its stake from 83.2 to 51 percent once they were completed on Dec. 31. The public float was raised to 29.9 percent, and a 19 percent stake was sold to two investment companies affiliated with each other for HK$16.0 million (€1.6m-US$2.1m), increasing financial flexibility, and further changes are possible.

Rich Global Investments, which now owns 10 percent of Swank, has a non-transferable option to purchase a further 50 percent of Probest's equity within the next 15 months. If Rich Global exercises the option and ends up owning directly or indirectly more than 30 percent of Swank's voting rights, it will be required to issue a tender offer to acquire all the other outstanding shares in Swank.