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Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 22:07
Li Ka-shing ups stake in property flagship twice this week
By Oswald Chan
Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 22:07 By Oswald Chan

Hong Kong Tycoon Li Ka-shing boosted his stake in his property flagship for the second time in a week – in another show of confidence in the city's property sector.

A CK Asset Holdings spokesman said on Wednesday that a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Li Ka Shing (Global) Foundation had acquired a total of 4.46 million shares in CK Asset. The purchases had been at the average share price of HK$46.8140 ($6,04), HK$43.1890, HK$41.4146 and HK$42.5361 on May 21, May 22, May 25 and May 26, respectively, the spokesman confirmed.

A CK Asset Holdings spokesman said on Wednesday that a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Li Ka Shing (Global) Foundation had acquired a total of 4.46 million shares in CK Asset

As a result, the deemed interests of senior adviser Li Ka-shing in CK Asset increased to 35.04 percent from 34.92 percent. Meanwhile, the deemed interests of Chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi rose to 35.11 percent from 34.99 percent.

The move comes at a time when the city's residential market is predicted to be more resilient than industrial buildings and retail premises.

Analysts said the market for primary property sales in Hong Kong is likely to start returning to normal soon. Several major property projects are scheduled to be offered for sale in the coming weeks. 

"OMA by the Sea" in Tuen Mun, the New Territories, was the first major project launched since the ban on group gatherings was implemented in Hong Kong to control the spread of the coronavirus. It achieved a first-day sales rate of about 80 percent for the 268 units on offer. 

Developers are taking advantage of this pent-up demand and speeding up the release of primary units.

Jonas Kan, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets, said he believes the rebound in market sentiment and "normalization" would continue. 

"We expect this to be sustained and reinforced by events and news which is likely to come from the physical market,'' he said. 

"This should help to reduce the fear and pessimism that has been built into the stock prices of Hong Kong property companies,” Kan added.

Price falls of mass residential property were milder than those for office and retail properties during the market downturn, a Jones Lang LaSalle’s residential market monitor said.

Figures released by JLL on Wednesday show capital values of Grade-A office and high street shops fell by 14 percent and 35 percent, respectively, in the first quarter compared with the same time last year. 

During this time, mass housing prices recorded a modest drop of 3 percent.

Nelson Wong, head of research at JLL in Greater China, said he still remained cautious, "as downside risks appear to be building up". 

"With the latest unemployment rate reaching a 10-year high at 5.2 percent and likely to increase further, the economic well-being of prospective buyers as well as owners will inevitably be affected. 

"Housing prices may soften along with a weakening broader economy and other property sectors,” he added.


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