Often Partisan

BIH and Xtep – Vico Hui Interview

It’s been twelve months since the controversial kit deal between Birmingham City and Chinese leisurewear firm Xtep was unilaterally cancelled by Blues and as yet we are still no closer to understanding why the deal went so wrong.

As part of the research for my book I met with former Birmingham City chairman and former Birmingham International Holdings chief executive Vico Hui Ho Luek in Hong Kong last week to ask questions about the ill-fated deal.

Vico Hui

Hui, who stepped down from the board of the holding company on June 29 2012 and from the board of the football club on July 11 of the same year was held responsible by BCFC Acting Chairman and BIH CEO, MD and Executive Director Peter Pannu for the failure of the deal with Pannu launching scathing criticism of Hui in the year ending 2011 accounts for the club.

However, Hui maintains that it was a breakdown of communication that was at fault for the deal not working out, stating that there wasn’t enough dialogue between the club, the holding company and Xtep for the deal to have worked as it should.

When asked why the kit deal was done with an offshore subsidiary of BIH rather than BCFC, Hui confirmed it was due to the complexity of the deal and the speed it needed to be done that the decision was to do the deal with a HK based firm. Hui advised that whilst BCFC have the trademark over the badge in Europe, that trademark isn’t patented in China and it was felt that it would be easier to use a HK based company to quickly deal with the complexity of dealing with a mainland China based company.

Hui felt that had he been allowed to properly develop the deal further and build a better understanding within Xtep of how the deal should progress it would have been profitable for both parties. Hui commented that

Suing each other on every technical breach of conditions is not going to help the situation.

When asked where the money from the deal went, Hui advised that it went into the holding company and he has no idea where the money went.

Despite rumours of writs being served on both sides no commercial actions have been filed by either company in the High Courts of Hong Kong as of Friday evening.

Hui also confirmed he is still in dispute with BIH over an amount of money owed to him by the holding company but as of yet no writ has been served.

In the interests of balance, I have emailed Peter Pannu to ask him for his comments on this article. As yet I have received no reply.

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39 Responses to “BIH and Xtep – Vico Hui Interview”

  • daveandthekids says:

    Bit of a nothing interview really Dan. He gave nothing away.
    The answers smack of a disgruntled employee who has been laid off for not carrying out his duties very well.

  • George says:

    Did you ask him if he is involved in a take over of the Blues?

  • George says:

    So he has done nothing wrong on the Xstep deal and BIH owe him money. Why no action to recover his money? I seem to recall it was a lot to walk away from at over £100,000, or have I got that wrong?

    Does he speak English? If not you rely a lot on the skills of your translator.

    On next to the Pollyanna Chu interview?

    • almajir says:

      It’s £400,000 – I understand that he is looking into court action now.

      Yes, Vico speaks English.

      I have absolutely no intention of speaking to Pollyana Chu – people overplay her importance.

  • George says:

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would delay collecting £400,000. Also the amount is so high it justifies spending money on expensive legal bills if you know you have a good chance of success. You are right you need a response from Peter Pannu on the Xstep deal but that may be a long time coming…

    As far as Pollyanna Chu is concerned she was instrumental in the rise of CY and for a brief time held Blues shares. So she is a big part of the story and any billionaire must be fascinating to interview.

    • almajir says:

      Pollyana was only a shareholder as her company placed the shares, nothing more. I repeat, I ain’t talking to her.

    • Pedant says:

      For once I agree with Mayor, all Kingston were doing were doing is part and parcel of their everyday business – Grandtop/BIH were just one of their many, many clients for whom they underwrite share issues. As I posted a couple of days ago.

      “I really don’t understand this obsession with Chu, the relationship is that BIH is/was a client of Kingston. Kingston made money by guaranteeing BIH a level of income from share issues …… Any share ownership of BIH was temporary. This is all standard stuff, Grandtop/BIH would have to use a company like Kingston to raise money on the Stock Exchange, they don’t have the skills necessary to sell shares themselves.

      Doing business at this corporate level involves lots of meetings and also wining and dining of clients, hence Chu being seen with Yeung, again nothing unusual there.”

      Its all standard business practice, the large IT company I work for went on a £500m spending spree buying up European companies during the dotcom boom. This money was raised by investment banks underwriting share issues. They made their share of the money and buggered off. To think these City (of London) boys had any influence on (or any interest in) an IT company is a joke.

      Similarly there is no reason Ms Chu has any interest in a football club just because her firm helped raise funds to buy it.

  • George says:

    Thinking through the Vico Hui situation it does not make sense. He was the Chairman and he resigned from BCFC and BIH and was owed £400K ! Why no severance deal. Why no follow up to recover a fortune. Just how wealthy is he that he can walk away from that sort of money.

  • Lee says:

    If she’s a billionare, take into account the whole sorry ridiculous situation, why would she even want to speak to him anyway?

  • cyprusblue says:

    I dont understand why you wouldnt want to speak to Ms Chu (if you could). Surely she has a pretty good insight into what has been happening and what will happen. It was rumoured she was funding Carson in the past. I am amazed that if you had the opportunity you would not be interested in speaking to her.

  • Mark says:

    You really gave him a grilling there didn’t you. #NOT

    The speed of the deal!!!! Yeah the quicker these funds can be moved on the better lol

    • DoctorD says:

      Mate, if you’ve been listening to Radio Five Live’s excellent series of reports about China last week. you’ll know from even John Simpson’s interview with a Chinese government bod that getting information out of anyone there is hard.

      Simpson — who is one of the BBC’s heavyweights — spent an hour with this government guy and basically got one point out of him that could have been uttered in just a few words. It’s the way the Chinese operate and, more important, is what’s not said that counts. You have to read between the lines.

      It’s not in their culture to blurt everything out. As Al has said many times, keeping face is the number one thing there. And before anyone asks, I’ve spent a week out there — ok, not much time, but I do know getting any info out is tricky.

  • Always a Blue says:

    It is very easy to be critical but without this site outstanding communication our knowledge
    Would be limited and Almajir is no mug he knows how far he can push things in certain situations.

    The fact he is front of this guy in the first place deserves credit when you think how much info the local media has come up with.

  • Frankie says:

    The sooner the club is distanced from this cesspit of financial improprity the better.
    The Kumars may have been dodgy but these boys are Premier league.

    • skareggae72 says:

      Sums it up nicely.
      I’ve actually been left speechless over the last 6 weeks as these type of stories continue to feed through on a regular basis,whilst the club slowly disappears down the plughole of obscurity.

      Where will it all end ?

  • Mark1875 says:

    Is that it? Move along. Nothing to see.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Personally I wouldn’t believe anything that people involved in BIHL past or present have to say. That includes this guy, PP and CY. The quicker they are all gone the better.

  • Tony says:

    How does any of this stuff help our problem of scoring goals?.

  • andy says:

    I certainly wouldn’t expect Carson to speak about his problems but it would be nice if he could assure the football club that he seriously intends to sell or look to keep hold of it. I look at Coventry City and see where their silent owners have taken them!

  • Tony says:

    Not sure just how large a volume you forthcoming book is going to be Dan, but if its full of irrelevant trivia such as this its going to be massive.

    • almajir says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence Tony, it’s always a pleasure.

      PS King is still going you know ;)

      • KeepRightcroydOn says:

        Dan
        Just ignore this guy. No matter what your response is to him, he keeps coming back with irrelevant missives.
        Tony
        That last comment was totally uncalled for and below the best. Can’t see why you keep taking shots at Dan. If you don’t like what he writes there’s an easy solution – don’t read it.

  • dave mann says:

    i personally am not a book reader dan so ime not sure weather ill get a copy but all the
    best with it anyway pal.
    to be honest ime only bothered about what goes on on the pitch at the momment as this
    whole case, which ive mentioned many times before is totaly boring me and have lost
    total interest in it until something concrete happens and that aint gonna happen for ages
    yet, so onfieid conversation is all ime willing to talk about at the momment because that
    is something i do know about i think.KRO.

  • Tony says:

    Yes Dan but when ????? how much longer do we continue to pay him.
    I do respect your ability as a writer and am grateful for the news you bring us.but you would not want me to contribute sycophantic remarks continually as some on here do would you ?

    • almajir says:

      No mate, I don’t expect sycophancy … if you could explain how a daily diatribe about how King should be in the team is going make more of a difference than me posting about non-Marlon King matters though I’m all ears… ;)

      King will be gone. As tatts has published today a settlement has already been agreed. He’s history.

  • dave mann says:

    asantes been recaled back so throw him in saturday and see what happens, what have
    we got to loose besides 3 points.KRO.

  • Tony says:

    Its not so much playing him but Paying him. we must be the most sympathetic club in the country we give him acouple of months of to look for club this together with the Fahey episode where we gave him a few months of, all on full pay
    You say a settlement has been agreed does this mean we are paying of his contract and that he has yet to find a club?

    • almajir says:

      No idea on the settlement, ask Tatts. He’s the man on the ball.

      As for Fahey – he didn’t ask for what happened to him. I think Blues acted in the right manner personally.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    I see Asante has been recalled. Looks like LC has more juggling with limited resources to try to boost the firepower.

  • Tony says:

    You have as yet not commented on Saturdays match Dan I know you are out of the country but you sometimes find an internet feed ,would be interesting to hear your opinions.

  • dave mann says:

    to be honest i was struggling to see what lee clark was doing as he seemed to me as though
    he was panicking a bit with his substitutions, he was right to bring burke and arthur on but
    why take shinnie off, he looked the only likely goalscorer, green should have started also.
    please get rid of the 3-5-2 formation lee mate cause it aint gonna work with the players
    weve got.KRO.

  • sappy sad says:

    ………green scored a lot of goals for Mansfield …to do this his shots must have been on target …so give him a run in the side……burke scored 21 goals in 89 games from out wide for blues …which is not far behind zigic …give green and burke a run up front till zigic returns with arther and asante coming on late but keep shinnie and Elliot in midfield to get the needed goals from midfield ……somebody challenge Pollyanna chu.to make Birmingham city into a top prem club please……….she must be one hell of a capable woman to have a billionaires position in a mans world ,and I am sure she would love the challenge

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Please do a Carson Yeung interview next.

  • Rich says:

    Did you ask vico if he was still family and to go buy some tickets…

    • almajir says:

      Unfortunately not. He’s got his own family to concentrate on now, he’s just become a father again for the third time…


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