Billionaire Joseph Lau Luen-hung has transferred his 74.99 percent stake in Chinese Estates Holdings to his wife and son, citing his unstable health condition.
After the restructuring, Lau’s wife Chan Hoi-wan will have 50.02 percent of the group’s shares worth HK$11.34 billion, while his eldest son Lau Ming-wai will hold a 24.97 percent stake estimated to be worth HK$5.66 billion, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
At 66, the real estate tycoon is said to be suffering from a kidney failure, heart problems and diabetes. He underwent a kidney transplant last year.
Chinese Estates is set to announce its 2016 results next Thursday. Under existing regulations, listed companies are not allowed to sell or transfer shareholdings two months before the announcement of of results.
But Chan and Lau Ming-wai had obtained regulatory approval for the stock transfers in view of the special circumstances.
Many believe that the tycoon pushed ahead with the restructuring in such a haste because his health has deteriorated drastically.
Under the restructuring, 50.02 percent of Chinese Estates will go to Lau’s two children Lau Chung-hok, 4, and Lau Sau-wah, 8, in a 65:35 split. Their mother Chan will be the trustee as the two are minors.
Joseph Lau has six children, including a son and a daughter each with former wife Bo Wing-kam, ex-girlfriend Lui Lai-Kwan and current wife Chan.
He has been restructuring his holdings in the company since 2012, when he was charged with corruption in a case involving former Macau transport and public works secretary Ao Man Long.
He had appointed Chan’s sister Chan Si-wan, long-time company staffer Lam Kwong-wai, and Lui who was his girlfriend at the time, to be executive directors of the company.
After he was convicted by a Macau court in March 2014, Lau resigned from all his posts in the company.
Lui resigned as executive director in April 2015, while Lau Ming-wai quit as CEO but stayed on as chairman and director.
In July 2015, Chan’s sister Chan Si-wan became the CEO while her younger sister was named executive director.
It was not until last year that Lau and Chan had their marriage officially registered.
Chan was immediately made an executive director, making Chan and her two sisters the biggest players on the company’s board besides Lam.
Chan is now estimated to have a net worth of HK$60 billion, possibly making her the richest woman in Hong Kong.
Besides the personnel changes in the company, Chinese Estates has also been selling most of its major assets, such as Silvercord, The ONE, Windsor House, The Annex Land Building, and Wan Chai Computer Centre.
The group sold the Mass Mutual Tower to Evergrande for HK$12.5 billion in 2015. It still holds Harcourt House, Causeway Place and the Zenith.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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