Saturday, October 25, 2014

Carlyle, JP Morgan, China & Corruption

WSJ reported:

After years of expansion (in China), some are scaling back. Carlyle Group , the alternative asset management company, is laying off about 10 people working on its China growth fund, according to people familiar with the matter. It closed the growth fund’s Chengdu office last year and is going to trim the growth-fund team in its Shanghai office and consolidate it with the Beijing team.  A spokesman at Carlyle declined to comment.

Almost half of the American firms surveyed believe foreign companies have been singled out in a string of pricing or anticorruption campaigns that have hit pharmaceutical, tech and auto companies recently, according to the American chamber. 
The Chinese told a different anti-corruption story.  Xinghau reported:

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in late 2012, the CPC Central Committee has been strictly governing the party, and improving the party's style of work, building a clean government and combating corruption, he said.
"All these efforts have gained the support of the general public," Wang said.
"This is just the beginning," he said, adding that the party's anti-graft campaign requires consistency, intensified supervision, discipline and accountability.
A clean government and a healthy and fair market offers the best soft environment for investment, he said.
Wang called for the overseas advisors to integrate international resources to give guidance for Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management, and contribute to the development of China's education cause.
Advisors, including David Rubenstein, chairman of the Advisory Board and co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, said they would continue to make positive efforts for China's economic and educational development.

Mass layoffs are prohibited in China, unless the firm has lost money for three straight years or been unable to pay employees for eight months.  I'll venture Carlyle's elimination of ten jobs isn't considered a mass layoff. 

One has to love that Carlyle is helping China with anti-corruption, which it's tainted ethical history.  Carlyle's gaffes include Synagro (bribes), Semgroup (bad energy bets), LifeCare (blaming doctors and FEMA for 25 patient deaths post Hurricane Katrina), Connecticut and New York pension fund (pay to play settlements in the tens of millions of dollars), Brintons (dumping pension onto public) and ARINC (banned from World Bank for bribery).

Add that J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon wants a safe harbor for influence purchasing and things get more interesting.  

I can envision Carlyle, J.P. Morgan and China holding hands in anti-corruption.  Can they ignore the facilitating payment or the employed ex-government official or well connected offspring.  They're staring everyone in the face.