Tuesday, July 03, 2007

律師行也可上市

上市公司經營的業務範圍受注目的不是地產,就是金融,零售和工業受注目程度大都遜色一籌。但若果推介一間律師行,鼓勵你去投資,你又會否「落疊」?


真的,有間名叫Slater & Gordon Limited的公司已上市,地點當然並非香港,而是澳洲證券交易所。禤中怡好奇,下載該公司的招股書看看。原來這間公司已有70年歷史,以墨爾本起家,起初提供工人賠償服務,現時已發展成為擁有400名員工的企業,當中包括有超過140名律師坐陣,而在過去5年來,每年核心業務淨收費的營業額複式增長率超過10%。該律師行成功上位的原因並非如香港的律師行般,主力靠口碑推介等,而是真的打正旗號做宣傳,當中於94年更提出「唔贏唔收錢」(No Win No Fee)的宣傳口號,連同長達10周電視廣告策略去提升知名度。除了靠自然增長外,該公司也積極向外併購,單是在過去兩年便已收購多達5間律師行,以壯大實力。該股以每股1元(澳元,下同)招股,發行3,500萬股,新舊股各佔一半,即公司可落袋金額只有1,750萬元。該股預期未來資金需求達1,540萬元,收購必屬使錢用途之一,部分資金亦將繼續用於賣廣告和市場推廣,但派息率仍達40%至50%。


究竟做律師行有幾好賺?該行預測今年可做5,870萬元生意,比06年升32.2%,未計利息和稅項前盈利有1,400萬元,更大幅上升77.7%,純利亦增77%至905.2萬元,08年純利更預測會大增至1,126.7萬元。該律師行預期該兩個年度未計利息和稅項前的邊際利潤也逾25%,可見生意能力不弱,起碼比做工業賺十幾個百分點的毛利率為高。


這間公司於5月21日上市,在兩個月後,股價近日最高曾見1.7元,較招股價已累積上升70%,反映有投資者勇於嘗試,未知日後打官司會否有優惠呢?


食麵看物離鄉貴
禤中怡往海外公幹,總不免要食一兩餐中菜,因為對麵包配三、四道菜的西餐菜式實在有點不慣,但中菜又非便宜,且水準不穩定,曾試過在英國倫敦食一碟當地所謂的咕嚕肉,賣相不錯,奈何一送入口,竟全是麵粉般軟軟的,但結帳就價值不菲。


記起以前去倫敦,除中菜外,還可揀拉麵吃,特別是那間Wagamama拉麵店,當時索價只要數英鎊一碗,以當地生活水平來說,仍可接受,只知該店後來愈開愈多,相信配合倫敦的繁榮景象外,飲食文化提升亦推動日本飲食產品發揚光大。但找找資料,發現這間拉麵店的創辦人原來並非日本人,而是一名叫丘德威(Alan Yau)的香港人!可惜他於98年將業務出售,另尋發展。


其實,拉麵看似平凡,要做得好原來真的不易,即使將其成為主食的日本也有枯枝。記得凌晨走在橫濱街頭,見馬路有間拉麵店還營業,當然要醫肚,但味道確不敢恭維,皆因那個湯頭令人失望,已經扣分。好像去橫濱21世紀時,走入另一間拉麵店「一風堂」,吃那個拉麵就認真不俗,湯頭夠味,配料足,且價格合理,見過在大阪的其中一間分店更要排隊輪候呢!


若下次去美國,可能也可碰上「一風堂」麵店,原來該店準備年內進軍當地,料首間門市於紐約登場,以其擴展作風,倘站穩陣腳,必將開枝散葉去。該麵店已在曼克頓的「East Village」物業租用一個面積達260平方米的舖位,提供豬骨拉麵等已在日本供應的食品。該店可容納80個坐位,與日本小型店比,規模算大型了。


大家可能認為「走出去」是否有著數?其實,該麵店早於2000年已考慮進軍當地,奈何01年發生「911事件」,令發展大計延遲,一拖6年。至於今次也是雄心萬丈,包括預期新店每年營業額將達3億至4億日圓,或約240萬至420萬美元,以港元計也有1,872萬至3,276萬元。


一風堂的拉麵於日本也要800日圓(約51港元)或以上,當然再加料就更貴,而在美國新店,每碗麵將叫價10至12美元(約78至94港元),即平均每碗較日本為高,究竟利錢是否成正比提升就不知,而食慣漢堡飽和三文治的美國人,應該可應付得來。


禤中怡想起香港上市的那間味千中國(538),曾出差往上海,光顧在火車站的門市,不過是十多20塊便有一碗拉麵,適合一個人在途上解決兩餐需要,但若走上南京路分店,恐怕要排隊等吃了。


看看該集團的招股書,原來中港兩地餐廳總實用面積3.23萬平方米,座位逾1.39萬個,即每個座位佔用約2.31平方米,相反,一風堂於美國新店的每名客戶佔用面積約3.25平方米,可能這就是一分錢一分貨吧!


(7月3日刊於《am730》)

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