The Takeover: The Paul Suen Era Begins

On Monday October 17, at 9am Hong Kong time a minor stock on the main board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong will resume trading in it’s shares. It’s an anti-climactic end to five and a half years of turbulence but that simple act will mark the end of the Carson Yeung era for Birmingham City with the “Penny Stock King” Paul Suen becoming the single largest shareholder in the holding company.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange

It’s been a long time coming – indeed, you could write a book on the Carson Yeung era at Blues (pro-tip, someone did) and having written about that for the last five and half years for my Often Partisan website I’m not going to go into that in any detail – it’s all here if you want to read it. It’s time to look forward to the new guy coming in and to work out who he is, and what his intentions are.

Hong Kong - Where all the Birmingham City ownership stuff happens

Paul Suen Cho Hung (孫粗洪) is a very secretive guy. There is very little about him online, including precisely zero photographs. I’m told by contacts in HK Mr Suen values his privacy intensely and is proud of the fact there is not one photo of him available in the public domain.

Going through his share dealings is a bit of a mess – my usual source for this information is, but they seem to be somewhat out of date with respect to his current disclosures. From my own research, I have found Mr Suen to have an identifiable interest in at least two other main board companies – Courage Marine Group Ltd (HK:1145, SGX:E91) and EPI (Holdings) Ltd (HK:689).

Mr Suen is at this moment in time engaged in a general offer for all shares in EPI via Billion Expo International Ltd, which is based in the British Virgin Islands and owned via another BVI investment vehicle – much like Trillion Trophy Asia with which he has used to buy Birmingham International Holdings.  I understand that this is due to complete by the end of the month.

Suffice it to say, Mr Suen does not appear to be short of any money.

For me, the question has to be asked precisely why Mr Suen is looking to buy into Birmingham International Holdings. With at least two other listed companies under his control I can’t accept that he’s in it just for the listing; I can’t believe he’s in it for the ego of owning a club as he is so private and he seems too shrewd to think he can actually make money from football.

As one can imagine, there is concern from some of the more pessimistic quarters of the Birmingham City fanbase as to this too; having seen the club’s last “owner” locked up for money laundering in what was a quite farcical trial it’s understandable the more cynical fans are wondering if there is a sting in the tail and are looking for possible connections between Carson Yeung and Paul Suen to explain what they can’t understand.

Hong Kong being the small place it realistically is, it’s not too hard to connect anyone to anyone if one is prepared to accept tenuous links but as of this moment I’ve not seen anything that links Paul Suen to Carson Yeung directly. As a natural cynic I think it’s foolhardy to rule anything out however and I would ponder the question if Carson is the person that we should be trying to link Paul Suen to. Only time will tell.

Leave a Reply