17 September 2019
Pan Sutong's companies' stocks soared then plunged, but he says he isn't bothered. Photo: AP
Pan Sutong's companies' stocks soared then plunged, but he says he isn't bothered. Photo: AP

How this Hong Kong tycoon made US$22 bln and blew it

Pan Sutong made US$22 billion this year and then lost most of it.

He says he doesn’t care.

The little-known electronics and property tycoon, who is based in Hong Kong, jumped to No. 4 on Bloomberg’s Asia wealth ranking last week as shares in his companies Goldin Financial Holdings Ltd. (00530.HK) and Goldin Properties Holdings Ltd. (00283.HK) surged more than 350 percent.

In that period, his wealth expanded faster than Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma Yun, whose net worth climbed by US$8.2 billion, and property tycoon Li Ka-shing, whose rose US$4.6 billion.

“I don’t know why. I didn’t buy any,” Pan told Bloomberg on May 12.

“I know the market is buying, but I don’t know who specifically.”

Then on Wednesday, Li Hejun’s Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd. (00566.HK) lost US$19 billion in less than half an hour, spooking the market.

In two days, the Goldin twins have lost about US$21 billion combined. 

“It’s as unpredictable as a casino,” Bloomberg quoted Nigel Davis, principal lecturer in the University of Hong Kong’s law department, as saying.

“There is not much correlation between fundamentals and share price, it’s pretty much gambling.”

An enquiry by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission in March into Goldin Financial revealed that, apart from Pan’s 70.29 percent stake, 19 unnamed shareholders held 28.29 percent of the company.

Pan said he has no idea who they are.

“We carry out our business as usual, just like the way we have been doing, when our stock price is high and when it is low,” Pan said in an email Thursday.

Goldin Financial’s revenue in the six months to December was US$34 million.

More than 99 percent of its US$181 million profit came from marking up the value of a 27-story office building in Hong Kong that’s still under construction.

At its height on May 15, the company traded at a price-to-book ratio of nearly 25 times, compared with an average of about 1.5 times for stocks in the Hang Seng Index.

“The price is disconnected from reality,” said David Webb, shareholder activist and founder of

“The stock is likely to have been manipulated, but I’m not pointing the finger at any particular party.”

Figuring out what Chinese companies are really worth is becoming a major headache for investors, the report said.

When Li failed to show up for Hanergy’s annual meeting on Wednesday, the shares fell 47 percent in 24 minutes before being suspended.

The stock had surged sixfold in a year to make the company more valuable than Sony Corp.

Reuters reported that Hanergy, a maker of solar panel technology, has hired Goldin Financial as its financial adviser on several transactions.

Hong Kong bourse filings show that Hanergy appointed Goldin in February to advise it on a deal to supply solar panels to its parent company, Hanergy Holding Group Ltd., effectively making the parent its main source of revenue.

In January last year, Goldin Financial advised on Hanergy’s acquisition of technology from Global Solar, another subsidiary controlled by Hanergy Holding, the report said.

In an earlier filing, Goldin Financial advised a solar company supplied by Hanergy.

Meanwhile, Pan told Bloomberg: “A genuinely wealthy person would not count his wealth every day. It’s better if you just leave me off the list.”

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