Date
21 April 2018
Kimbie Chan (pictured here with her husband Joseph Lau) has made some smart bets, helping her become one of the richest women in the world. Photo: HKEJ
Kimbie Chan (pictured here with her husband Joseph Lau) has made some smart bets, helping her become one of the richest women in the world. Photo: HKEJ

Asia’s richest woman turns Evergrande into HK$10 bln money tree

Big bet, big payout.

Such is the case for Chinese Estates, controlled by Kimbie Chan, wife of flamboyant tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung.

The property company disclosed that it built up a substantial stake in China Evergande, whose chairman Hui Ka-yan was China’s richest man last year following a 450 percent surge in his firm’s share price.

According to a voluntary announcement from Chinese Estates, the 834 million shares of Evergrande it has accumulated over the past year yielded a paper profit of some HK$9.9 billion, as of December 29.

Not bad for a company whose market cap was only slightly above what its holding of Evergrande, which was changing hands at HK$28.45, was worth at the time of writing.

As Evergrande kept rising, the HK$10 billion paper profit is almost equivalent to the sale of Mass Mutual Tower, for which Evergrande paid Chinese Estates HK$12.5 billion in November 2015 and is now using it as its Hong Kong headquarters.

That is all good fortune for Kimbie Chan, which has inherited 50 percent of Chinese Estates last March after marrying Joseph Lau who had a kidney transplant two years ago.

The share transfer made the 38 year-old Chan Asia’s richest woman in one go. And that’s not counting the pricey property she received, a list that includes Shiu Fai Terrace, a former Chinese Estates property completed last year, and other units located in Gough Hill Path, Goldsmith Road and Deep Water Bay.

Among the first moves she made after getting onto the board of Chinese Estates last February (her elder sister Sue, 40, was made chief executive of the firm in 2015, and a younger sister — 33 year-old Lok Wan — also became an executive director the same year), Chan paid HK$5.57 billion for Sheng Jing Bank, a loss-making shareholding that allowed the company to book a $227 million profit after an earlier write-down.

Last July, she co-invested with Chinese Estates another US$600 million in convertible bonds in Kaisa Group, a Shenzhen real estate firm, making for a total exposure of US$1.2 billion.

All these seem to have paid off handsomely for the lucky woman who again stands to become Asia’s richest woman.

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RC

EJ Insight writer

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