27 October 2016
Priscilla Wong drew a lot of media attention as she attended the listing ceremony of her father's construction firm on Tuesday. Photos: HKEJ
Priscilla Wong drew a lot of media attention as she attended the listing ceremony of her father's construction firm on Tuesday. Photos: HKEJ

Why Priscilla Wong is singing praises of her dad

It appears that GEM board listings will now need to surge at least 20-fold on their debut if they want to attract good media coverage.

Following the sweet success of Hypebeast (what a name – caveat emptor!), which recorded an 8-fold jump on its first day of trading on April 11, construction business Luen Wong Group stole the show on Tuesday, notching a 19-fold gain on its debut.

The second board of Hong Kong has become a wonderland for investors seeking to cash out after taking advantage of pre-IPO private placements.

The eye-popping first-day gains — Hypebeast, which run digital media platforms related to fashion and the streetwear industry, soared as much as 2000 percent at one point on Monday — make ordinary investors wonder if there is some manipulative activity going on.

Luen Wong is just a normal construction firm, but its stock leapt to as much as HK$9.31 compared to the offer price of 26 Hong Kong cents per share.

It is now trading at around HK$8, giving a market cap of close to HK$10 billion.

That would mean that Luen Wong is about five times bigger than Shui On Construction, an industry leader owned by businessman Vincent Lo Hong-shui.

Luen Wong made its colorful debut after its founder and chief executive Wong Wing-wah invited his daughter Priscilla Wong Tsui-yu, a popular TVB television artist, and her boyfriend — Edwin Siu Ching-nam — to the listing ceremony.

The duo promptly caught the attention of reporters, who are now describing Priscilla as a billion-dollar actress and her boy-friend Edwin as a man who made the right choice.

Priscilla couldn’t hide her excitement about her father’s success, as she took to Facebook to write about the historic moment.

“My father began as a fish hawker to construction workers. He has suffered lots of pain for many years, from frozen hands to vulnerable footsoles,” she wrote.

“A few years ago, my dad said he wanted to retire and I immediately supported him. But he has still not slowed down. Today is the big day for dad – it is no longer you are so proud of us but rather, we are so proud of you. Oh daddy, you are so smart!”

Wong Wing-wah, who is now 58 year in age, has 19 years of experience in civil engineering. In 1998, he co-founded the company with seed capital of HK$10,000, specializing in road and sewage projects.

Wong owns 468 million shares, or 37.5 percent of Luen Wong. At the IPO price of 26 cents, the stake was worth HK$121 million.

But it is now worth more than HK$3.7 billion, a 30-fold gain just two days after listing.

The Growth Enterprise Market has seen as many as 11 construction companies make their home there, mostly in the past two years.

Some sold their listing status and made a handsome profit after a year, the bare minimum lock-up period they are required to follow under the listing rules.

After the flood of construction companies, we understand the next big wave would be restaurant owners.

As one can imagine, they are probably not the most profitable businesses to be in, given the current slowdown in Hong Kong’s tourism and retail sectors.

Still, the second board offers a way for the restaurant operators and their investors to cash out.

Well, seize the day and do it quick, as the good days may not last too long — especially because almost everyone is aware now that GEM is a hype market.

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EJ Insight writer

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