Date
21 July 2018
Li Ka-shing paid HK$610 million for 9.21 million CK Asset Holdings shares at between HK$60 and HK$70 each,  Photo: Bloomberg
Li Ka-shing paid HK$610 million for 9.21 million CK Asset Holdings shares at between HK$60 and HK$70 each, Photo: Bloomberg

Li Ka-shing keeps buying his company’s shares

Three weeks after he announced his retirement, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing still has his money where his mouth is.

The city’s richest man spent HK$610 million to snap up 9.21 million CK Asset Holdings shares at between HK$60 and HK$70 each, his first purchase in three years after the property developer’s mega restructuring.

The purchases, which were made on April 10 and 13 or three weeks after he announced his retirement on March 16, raised his stake in the company to 31.67 percent.

Li always likes to put his dividends back to his company. Last year he received close to HK$2 billion in dividends from CK Asset after the company decided to pay a dividend of HK$1.7 per share for the period.

Apart from raising his stake, CK Asset also bought back shares worth nearly HK$8.8 billion over the past 15 months.

The market did not react positively to the news of Li’s retirement. CK Asset’s share price fell 5.2 percent after the March 16 announcement. But rivals Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land also suffered similar losses.

Despite soaring home prices, property counters are expected to face headwind when Hong Kong starts following the Fed’s rate adjustments later this year. Despite the linked exchange rate, Hong Kong has not followed the US rate hikes since 2015.

Hong Kong developers like to raise their stake in their own companies. Former Wheelock chairman Peter Woo, for example, raised his stake in the company last December.

Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee, who once said that stocks are a better investment than real estate, is also a big buyer of his own firm.

However, he already owns about 73 percent of his company, close to the 75 percent threshold for maintaining a public float.

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CG

EJ Insight writer

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