Cheung Kong’s Victor Li says open to selling Hong Kong buildings

Cheung Kong Property Holdings is open to selling its buildings in Hong Kong, Deputy Chairman Victor Li told analysts at a briefing Thursday.

“I always look at deals, it’s my job to look at deals, both purchases and sales,” Mr Li said when asked if he would consider selling commercial buildings, according to a recordingof the briefing.

“There is no deal that we must have, there is no property we must own, other than this building, we do need an office ourselves,” he said, referring to the Cheung Kong Center where CK Property has its headquarters.

Mr Li’s comments came after first-half profit before investment property revaluation of HK$8.3 billion (S$1.43 billion), 51 per cent higher than a year earlier.

The company cited challenges in Hong Kong’s residential and retail real estate markets, even as property sales on the mainland have surged. The shares slumped as much as 4.2 per cent on Friday, the most since June 24.

The company’s billionaire Chairman Li Ka-shing – Victor’s father – signaled Thursday that CK Property, which derives the bulk of its revenues from Hong Kong and China, is considering looking outside the region for growth.

China accounted for nearly 60 per cent of total sales, compared with 34 per cent a year earlier, the developer said in an earnings statement filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange after markets closed Thursday.

“As it is presently challenging to identity property investments with reasonable returns in the current cyclical stage of the property market, the Group will also pursue global investments to extend our reach to new business areas,” the elder Mr Li said in the statement.

CK Property’s Hong Kong sales declined 16 per cent in the first half to HK$8.7 billion as mainland sales more than doubled to HK$12.6 billion, it said in the statement.

The company’s shares sank 2.6 per cent to HK$55.55 as of 11:00 am on Friday. Its shares are up 10 per cent this year, compared with an 11 per cent increase in the Hang Seng Property Index.

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