Mid-sized contractor PY Engineering (0577) is proposing to change its name to better reflect its new business orientation as a casino property investment company.
In a stock exchange announcement last week, the company said it plans to adopt the name of “Louis XIII Holdings Limited”.
The company said it had diversified its operations by the acquisition of a company in Macau that owns land on which to build a casino and hotel complex in Cotai Strip.
“As the company itself is essentially only a holding company, the proposed change of company name is part of the corporate strategy to align the name of the holding company with the refocused principal business activity of the group,” the company said in the announcement.
Earlier this month, the company announced that it had completed the acquisition of the Macau company, paving the way for planning and construction of a 945,000 square feet complex with luxury hotel, casino and retail space.
However the company recognised “the historical pedigree and continuing importance of and goodwill in the name ‘Paul Y’ ” as regards the construction business and would continue to use it.
The company did not respond to enquiries from Construction Post regarding the choice of “Louis XIII”
A quick canvas of opinion by Construction Post however revealed some amusement over the new name.
“Catchy little name, what… one is left wondering about the three musketeers. Who might that refer to?” quipped one former manager at Paul Y.
The three musketeers reference comes from a well known 19th century novel “The Three Musketeers” by French author Alexandre Dumas.
In the novel, King Louis XIII is one of the characters along with his advisor Cardinal Richelieu, a wily politician who was the power behind the throne.
“Apart from a suppressed laugh I have no comment but instead a question as to why out of all the available monarchs’ names? Need to google him to see if there’s a link anywhere that might explain the choice,” one cost consultant said.
An internet search showed details of King Louis XIII of France on the Wikipedia website.
According to Wikipedia, Louis XIII was taciturn, a stutterer, had double rows of teeth and was addicted to hunting and hawking
“Sounds impressive,” the consultant said after reading the Wikipedia entry.
Another consultant said the name change was ill-advised.
“The name Louis X111 sounds a bit pompous to me. Paul Y is a well known name and brand and it would make sense for them to maintain it,” he said
This is not the first time Paul Y has had to deal with name changes.
Before it changed to Paul Y Engineering in 2005, it was known as Skynet (International) Group Holdings a struggling marble and granite trader facing delisting by the stock exchange.
In 2004, Paul Y-ITC Construction Holdings (0498) then controlled by “shell company king” Charles Chan Kwok-hung injected its construction business and shareholder loans into it for a 94 percent stake.
From 1987 to 1991, developer Chinese Estate Holdings (0127), controlled by tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung, owned the Paul Y construction business before selling it to Chan.
By all accounts, Paul Y was a respected contractor prior to 1987 having built many infrastructure projects such as the first Cross Harbour Tunnel, the MTRC stations such as Kowloon Bay and Quarry Bay and well known landmarks such as the Hong Kong Club Building and Ocean Terminal.
In later years, it took part in projects for the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and the Cyberport development.
One veteran employee told Construction Post that “Paul Y was one of the biggest Chinese-owned construction companies in Hong Kong in the 1980s” but struggled after 1987 when under the control of Chinese Estates.