WHARF HOLDINGS

 


Wharf Plans to Ramp Up China Investments

Wharf operates Hong Kong shopping malls Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui and Times Square in Causeway Bay, which represented 51% of the group's business assets as of the end of last year.

The group said its China properties, located in cities such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuxi, and Shanghai, constituted 34% of its business assets at the end of 2010. Its land bank in China totalled 10.6 million square meters.

Property investments remained the core contributor to the group's operating profit in 2010, rising 6% to HK$6.55 billion from HK$6.19 billion. Harbour City's contribution rose 7% last year, while that of Times Square increased 8%.

The operating-profit contribution from mainland China properties fell 30% last year as a result of the 2009 sale of Beijing Capital Times Square, a retail and office complex in the Chinese capital. The disposal generated a profit of HK$1.39 billion in 2009.

Wharf said it hopes to eventually increase its mainland assets to 50% of its overall assets, but didn't give a time frame.   >>  2011 March   WALL ST. JOURNAL

Wharf REIT still on cards

Conglomerate Wharf Holdings, which holds substantial interests in ports and commercial property, said it was still looking at setting up a real estate investment trust.

Speaking Monday after the company's annual general meeting, chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching said the work being done on the REIT with Wharf's parent company, Wheelock & Co, would not be affected by the recent volatility in the stock market. He said the REIT would increase the flexibility of Wharf's capital and allow the company to raise more money to invest in projects. He declined to give further details.

REITs are funds that invest in properties such as shopping malls and office buildings that generate rental income, which in turn is paid to investors after operating costs as dividends.

Wharf owns a variety of high-profile investment properties that could be considered as possible candidates for injection into a REIT. These include office and retail properties at Ocean Terminal, Ocean Centre, World Commerce Centre and World Finance Centre, all located in Tsim Sha Tsui, and Times Square in Causeway Bay. The company also has Plaza Hollywood, a shopping mall in Diamond Hill, and an office building, World Trade Square, in Ngau Tau Kok. Wharf's rental income for 2005 rose 9 percent to HK$5.07 billion.

Rival Henderson Land Development's Sunlight REIT, with 20 properties, is due to list at the end of June, while Sun Hung Kai's Sun Millennium REIT, with a portfolio of 10 properties, is also in the pipeline.

Turning to Wharf's port project at Dachan Bay, which it is developing through its subsidiary Modern Terminals in partnership with Shenzhen's municipal government, Woo said total investment was now estimated at between eight billion yuan (HK$7.73 billion) and 10 billion yuan, compared to the previous estimate of seven billion.

The first of the five berths is now scheduled for completion in the second half of 2007, with the last one to be completed by the second half of 2008.

Separately, Woo has been reappointed as director and chairman at Wheelock Properties, according to a stock exchange statement dated May 26. He was previously chairman at Wheelock from 1985 to 1990. Woo has also been appointed director and chairman at Wheelock's subsidiary, Wheelock Properties (Singapore)

Wharf is a major property investor in Hong Kong with a portfolio of rental property totalling nearly 15.5 million square feet. Its key investment properties are Harbour City in Kowloon and Time Square in Wanchai, the two together make up 70 per cent of the Group's business assets.  The Group is also involved in property development for sale and its total development portfolio equals 5.6 million square feet.  - by Danny Chung     THE STANDARD    30 May 2006

Major Residential Developments     

Sorrento in Hong Kong

Property

GFA
(sq ft)

Total
Units

% Owned

Status

Mountain Court
Chelsea Court
No. 1 Plantation Road

Gough Hill Path

49,900
43,000
97,000
24,700

16
20
48
7

100%
100%
100%
100%

Completed for Lease
Completed for Lease
Completed for Lease
Under Construction

Sorrento Phase I
Sorrento Phase II
Bellagio Phase I/II
Bellagio Phase III/IV

1,296,000
1,235,000
1,418,000
1,381,800

1,272
854
1,704
1,650

33%*
33%*
33%
33%

Under Construction
Under Construction
Under Construction
Under Design Planning

Kowloon Godown
Yau Tong Godown
Yau Tong JV Project

2,300,000
244,000
10,843,000

-
-
-

**
100%
15.6%

Under Planning Submission
Under Planning Submission
Under Planning Submission

* Effective ownership
** A joint venture with details under discussion

The group also has an active development arm in Singapore
 NEWS STORIES
Wheelock sells 110 units in freehold Katong condo 

Good figures: Analysts estimate Wheelock could book a pre-tax profit of about $100 million from developing The Sea View

(SINGAPORE) Wheelock Properties (Singapore) has sold about 110 of the 189 units that were released last Thursday during the soft launch of The Sea View condo in Katong.

The average price the Singapore-listed developer achieved for the units sold in the freehold condominium is $775 per square foot.

This is higher than the $750 psf average pricing that Wheelock announced last week for the first phase release in the condo, and market watchers say this could be due to the fact that the units sold have the choicest views among those released so far.

The 110 or so units sold include six penthouses, which fetched prices ranging from $1.8 million to $2.4 million. The project has drawn interest from both Singaporeans and foreigners. Wheelock is developing the condominium, which will have a total of 546 apartments in six towers, on the former Sea View hotel site it bought in August 2003 and which it later combined with adjoining sites, including one bought from China Airlines.

Analysts say that assuming a $750 psf average selling price for the entire project, Wheelock should be able to book a pretax profit of about $100 million from the project progressively over the next few years, as it sells units and completes the 23-storey development.

The development comprises mostly three and four-bedroom apartments.

Wheelock's acquisition of the Sea View hotel site in August 2003 marked the beginning of an acquisition trail that was to include the China Airlines site next to Sea View hotel; the Times House site along Kim Seng Road; Scotts Shopping Centre and The Ascott Singapore serviced residences above it; and Angullia View. Its shopping bill on sites over the past two years was about $800 million.

Besides the Sea View and China Airlines sites which are being developed into The Sea View condo, Wheelock has also started developing the former Times House site into a condo named The Cosmopolitan, which was launched earlier this year.

Its most profitable project was The Ardmore Park luxury condo, which generated a pre-tax profit of about $1 billion, booked in stages between financial years ended March 1998 and March 2003.- by Kalpana Rashiwala    SINGAPORE BUSINESS TIMES  27 June 2005

Wheelock has taken a step towards streamlining its corporate structure with the privatisation of property unit Realty Development Corp (RDC).

The HK$1.01 billion buyout by Wheelock subsidiary New Asia Realty and Trust was passed by a majority of RDC shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting

Yesterday's green light for the privatisation follows Wheelock's proposal last Sunday to sell its entire retail portfolio. That raised speculation that the company might be prepared to privatise more units, including New Asia Realty, and could even lay the groundwork for an eventual privatisation of Wheelock itself.

However, Frankie Yick Chi-ming, executive assistant to group chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching, said there was no timetable for further restructuring.

RDC chairman John Hung said the group had been streamlining its operations for a long time.

Non-executive director Glenn Yee was among those who helped detail the proposal to shareholders at the extraordinary general meeting.

New Asia proposed to pay HK$3.20 a share for the RDC stock it did not already own. The subsidiary owns 72.42 per cent of RDC, while Wheelock holds a 1.75 per cent stake. The offer was for 297 million RDC shares held by minority shareholders.

Although the proposal won overwhelming support, several small shareholders complained about the deal after the meeting.

One shareholder, identifying himself as Mr Lau, said he first invested in RDC more than 30 years ago and expressed disappointment over the management's investment strategy over the years.

"RDC was bigger than Cheung Kong in the old days. It could have done better in growth but the management was not aggressive enough in investment," he said. However, he voted for the plan for fear of a sharp fall in the share price if the deal did not go through.  - by Kenneth Ko   South China Morning Post    21 Feb 2003


Wheelock to sell top-end retail outlets


Wheelock and Company has entered into agreements to sell its loss-making retail businesses Lane Crawford, Joyce Boutique Holdings and City Super to related companies for HK$589.8 million.

The portfolio amounted to about 2per cent of Wheelock's net assets as of March 2002. The disposal would `allow Wheelock to further focus on its core businesses and competencies of property and infrastructure', company secretary Wilson Chan said.

The conglomerate's retail business has been operating in the red, with losses totalling HK$38.7 million for the 12 months ended March 31, 2002, and HK$7.1 million for the six months ended September 30, 2002.

Proceeds from the disposals would help reduce the group's debt.

Wheelock holds Lane Crawford through LCI Group, Joyce via Allied Wisdom Group, and City Super through Diamond View Ltd (DVL). The entire portfolio is held through Wheelock's wholly owned subsidiary Ansett. The blue chip planned to sell LCI Group and Joyce Group to Wisdom Gateway, wholly owned by a trust set up by close relatives of Wheelock chairman Peter Woo.

DVL Group would be sold to WHK, a company wholly owned by Wharf Holdings, a 48 per cent-owned associate company of Wheelock.

Lane Crawford, 100 per cent held by LCI and privatised by Wheelock in June 1999, has recorded an aggregate net loss of HK$441.1 million for the seven financial years from 1995 to 2001, making it the worst operation among Wheelock's retail portfolio.

The retailer, which was fully owned by Wheelock, would be disposed to Wisdom Gateway for HK$422.8 million, and subject to a maximum upward adjustment of HK$50 million.

The disposal does not include Lane Crawford House in Central. The building returned an annual rent of HK$29.7 million for the year ended March 2002 and will return HK$32.3 million for 2003.

Upmarket fashion house Joyce Boutique, of which Wheelock holds a 52 per cent stake, suffered losses of HK$85.1 million for the full year ended March 31 last year. The conglomerate would pocket HK$156.2 million by selling its stake to Wisdom Gateway.

The deal is a discount of 5 per cent to Wheelock's 52 per cent interest in the net asset value of Joyce Group as of September 30 last year. But the sale represented a 132 per cent premium to the closing price of Joyce shares of 8.1 HK cents last Friday.

DVL, an investment company which owned 39.08 per cent of the issued share capital of City Super BVI (CSBL), was acquired by Wheelock from Wharf in June 2000.

But now Wharf has paid Wheelock HK$10.77 million for ownership of DVL.

CSBL operates City Super and Log On lifestyle stores in Hong Kong.

Shares of Wheelock eased 0.9 per cent to HK$5.45 last Friday. - Joyce Li    HK Standard   17 Feb 2003

Reshuffle of hard-hit assets will enable the firm to pay debts and profit from Lane Crawford and Joyce

Wheelock Holdings has proposed divesting its entire retail portfolio - Lane Crawford and City Super department stores and Joyce Boutique Holdings - in deals worth HK$589.8 million.

The bulk of the assets will be sold to family trusts linked to Wheelock chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching while the company says its aims to focus on property and infrastructure works.

The move follows asset shuffles and privatisations by blue-chip firms looking to capitalise on cheap asset at a time of depressed real estate and stock-market prices.

Some deals have come in for sharp criticism and prompted a shareholder revolt due to offer prices at steep discounts to firms assessed underlying values.

Yesterday, Wheelock said it planned to sell a 100 per cent stake in Lane Crawford (excluding the Lane Crawford Tower in Central) for HK$422.8 million and its 51.99 per cent stake in Joyce for HK$156.2 million to Mr Woo's family trust.

The deals are deemed connected transactions under listing rules as Mr Woo and his family hold 59.31 per cent of Wheelock.

Additionally, Wheelock said it had completed a cash-settled sale to associate Wharf Holdings of a 39.08 per cent stake in the City Super chain for HK$10.77 million. The selling price was roughly the same as Wheelock's purchase price for the stores in 2000.

Wheelock said it would use the proceeds to repay debt and that the sales of Lane Crawford and Joyce would generate a small profit.

The group has been an aggressive asset shuffler with its subsidiary New Asia Realty and Trust awaiting a shareholder vote on a proposed privatisation of subsidiary Realty Development Corp. Wheelock's retail operations made a net loss of HK$38.7 million in the 12 months to March last year, and HK$7.1 million in the following six months to September.

Lane Crawford, a department store traditionally frequented by Hong Kong's rich and famous is the cream of Wheelock's retail assets and was privatised in 1999.

However, it racked up losses of HK$441.1 million in the year to March 2001 as Hong Kong's big spenders retrenched due to a bad economy and deflation.

Wheelock said the Lane Crawford sale price was based on the retailer's December 31 unaudited net asset value of HK$422.8 million.

The sale of Wheelock's stake in Joyce values it at 18.8 HK cents a share, or a 5 per cent discount to its unaudited net asset value in September - the latest figures available.

The price represents a 132 per cent premium to Joyce's trading close on Friday and was marginally higher than what Wheelock paid in 2000 when it subscribed to new Joyce shares.

Prior to the transaction Mr Woo and related parties owned 59.31 per cent of Joyce.

Wisdom Gateway, a trust related to Mr Woo's family, said it intended to maintain Joyce's listing status and would seek an exemption allowing it to avoid making a general offer.

HSBC advised Wheelock for the group reorganisation while a committee composed of independent non-executive directors unanimously approved the sales.

Last month Henderson Land Development suffered an unexpected shareholder revolt against its plan to privatise Henderson Investment and voted down the proposal.

Shareholder activists are increasingly focused on valuations of assets moved between public companies and private interests of controlling shareholders.

The retail assets disposed by Wheelock represents 2 per cent of the group's net asset in the year ending March last year. - Christine Chan and Denise Tsang   

Wheelock Holdings has proposed divesting its entire retail portfolio - Lane Crawford and City Super department stores and Joyce Boutique Holdings - in deals worth HK$589.8 million.

The bulk of the assets will be sold to family trusts linked to Wheelock chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching while the company says its aims to focus on property and infrastructure works.

The move follows asset shuffles and privatisations by blue-chip firms looking to capitalise on cheap asset at a time of depressed real estate and stock-market prices.

Some deals have come in for sharp criticism and prompted a shareholder revolt due to offer prices at steep discounts to firms assessed underlying values.

Yesterday, Wheelock said it planned to sell a 100 per cent stake in Lane Crawford (excluding the Lane Crawford Tower in Central) for HK$422.8 million and its 51.99 per cent stake in Joyce for HK$156.2 million to Mr Woo's family trust.

The deals are deemed connected transactions under listing rules as Mr Woo and his family hold 59.31 per cent of Wheelock.

Additionally, Wheelock said it had completed a cash-settled sale to associate Wharf Holdings of a 39.08 per cent stake in the City Super chain for HK$10.77 million. The selling price was roughly the same as Wheelock's purchase price for the stores in 2000.

Wheelock said it would use the proceeds to repay debt and that the sales of Lane Crawford and Joyce would generate a small profit.

The group has been an aggressive asset shuffler with its subsidiary New Asia Realty and Trust awaiting a shareholder vote on a proposed privatisation of subsidiary Realty Development Corp. Wheelock's retail operations made a net loss of HK$38.7 million in the 12 months to March last year, and HK$7.1 million in the following six months to September.

Lane Crawford, a department store traditionally frequented by Hong Kong's rich and famous is the cream of Wheelock's retail assets and was privatised in 1999.

However, it racked up losses of HK$441.1 million in the year to March 2001 as Hong Kong's big spenders retrenched due to a bad economy and deflation.

Wheelock said the Lane Crawford sale price was based on the retailer's December 31 unaudited net asset value of HK$422.8 million.

The sale of Wheelock's stake in Joyce values it at 18.8 HK cents a share, or a 5 per cent discount to its unaudited net asset value in September - the latest figures available.

The price represents a 132 per cent premium to Joyce's trading close on Friday and was marginally higher than what Wheelock paid in 2000 when it subscribed to new Joyce shares.

Prior to the transaction Mr Woo and related parties owned 59.31 per cent of Joyce.

Wisdom Gateway, a trust related to Mr Woo's family, said it intended to maintain Joyce's listing status and would seek an exemption allowing it to avoid making a general offer.

HSBC advised Wheelock for the group reorganisation while a committee composed of independent non-executive directors unanimously approved the sales.

Last month Henderson Land Development suffered an unexpected shareholder revolt against its plan to privatise Henderson Investment and voted down the proposal.

Shareholder activists are increasingly focused on valuations of assets moved between public companies and private interests of controlling shareholders.

The retail assets disposed by Wheelock represents 2 per cent of the group's net asset in the year ending March last year.  - by Christine Chan and Denise Tsang   South China Morning Post    17 Feb 2003

Wharf to lift earnings with sale of shops

Wharf (Holdings), a unit of land developer Wheelock & Co, says the group plans to sell non-core property assets this year to generate earnings because it will not offer many apartments for sale.

The group has about 800 remaining and reserved homes for sale this year, news reports quoted assistant director Ricky Wong as saying.

``Like other property companies, we are looking at which non-core properties to sell, but we don't have any definite plan yet,'' a Wheelock group spokeswoman told The Standard.

Fitfort, a shopping arcade at Healthy Gardens in North Point that earned about HK$40 million in rents a year, had been put on the list for sale, she added.

Fitfort, which has a gross floor area of about 239,700 square feet, including car parks, owned by the Realty Development Corporation, according to an annual report.

Realty Development is 55 per cent indirectly owned by Wheelock through New Asia Realty and Trust, which earlier offered to buy all Realty Development shares it did not own to simplify the structure and cut costs.

Wheelock's net profit fell by two-thirds for the half-year ending September from a year ago as it wrote off nearly five times more on the value of its properties. The company's property sales during the period brought in HK$2.1 billion.

Wong said it was difficult to predict how much the group could pocket from the non-core asset sales as the market conditions were uncertain. - Hong Kong Standard     2 Jan 2003

(Singapore)   -  Grange Residences condo, which Marco Polo began previewing this week, faces competition from other high-end projects at similar prices. They include Four Seasons Park condo, Scotts 28, 38 Draycott, Cuscaden Residences - and even some of Marco Polo's Ardmore Park units in the resale market.

Also, buyers who aren't in a hurry can look forward to a string of other projects on prime sites bought by developers at toppish prices.

Among them are a 99-year leasehold site at Draycott Park and The Tomlinson from Wing Tai; a freehold condo in Grange Garden by Wing Tai and MCL Land; The Biltmore in Cuscaden Road from Hong Leong; and Cairnhill Crest from Property Enterprises Development

But buyers eyeing some of these projects may have to wait a while - luxury home prices are just not high enough to induce developers to put them on the market.

'Many companies have made provisions on their sites, but even the written-down breakeven costs may be either at the borderline or in some cases higher than the prices their projects would be able to sell for today,' said Knight Frank managing director Tan Tiong Cheng. 'These developers may also see no urgency to dispose of projects on what they consider to be 'trophy' sites.'

Property Enterprises Development's general manager Annie Loke would not say when her firm will launch Cairnhill Crest, being built on a freehold site in Cairnhill Circle and said to have an estimated breakeven cost of about $1,400 psf.

'We have a good product and you don't sell a good product in a bad market,' she said. 'People looking for high-end homes now are mostly buying a second property as an investment or for their children. They feel no urgency to buy now unless there are consistent signs of economic recovery. These buyers can afford to wait and may not be prepared to pay at this time. This is not the time to launch an upmarket project.'

In other words, buyers who wait for luxury launches may have to pay higher prices than those in the primary and resale markets now.

Property agents love to tell potential buyers that as the economy recovers, residential prices are expected to strengthen. And a compelling reason now for many house hunters to shop for a high-end home is the lure of bagging it at an attractive price. Take Grange Residences, for example. Back in April 1997, Marco Polo had said it planned to sell the luxury freehold condo 'in the region of $2,000 per square foot'.

This week it finally began its preview for a dozen units at an average price of $1,350 psf. Unit prices range from $1,166 psf for a second-floor apartment to $1,543 psf for an 18th-storey unit. Potential buyers, no doubt, will be weighing the pros and cons of buying Grange Residences against other luxury apartments in mostly completed projects on the market.

At the famed Four Seasons Park, units have changed hands at between $1,283 and $1,462 psf this year, according to SISV Services' REALink 21 database. Scotts 28 apartments have sold for $1,380 to $1,480 psf. 38 Draycott apartments have been selling at between $1,062 psf and $1,463 psf. Cuscaden Residences units have been going for $1,179 to $1,414 psf.

Elsewhere, BT understands that Wing Tai's The Light at Cairnhill, now under construction, is selling at $1,400 to $1,500 psf, and only a handful of units have been taken up since sales started about a month ago. REALink 21 caveats show that SembCorp group's The Edge on Cairnhill has been fetching $1,159 psf to $1,510 psf this year.   - by  Kalpana Rashiwala    Singapore Business Times    19 Sept 2002

Marco Polo looking at buying property in '03 upcycle
For S'pore, CEO expects home prices to fall by a maximum of 10% over the next 18 months

Marco Polo chief executive officer David Lawrence, who has in the past disappointed analysts for a lack of action at the company, says he is now seriously looking at buying property assets on the next upcycle, probably in 2003.

'I am not clever enough to pick the bottom, so I'd rather miss the bottom 10 per cent and buy on the next up-cycle, which will probably be in 2003,' he said in a recent interview with BT.

He said he is open to making acquisitions in any segment of the property market - residential, office, retail - and would consider buying both land and completed properties.

'Anything really that has a good business plan and can produce superior return on equity,' said Mr Lawrence.

He said he is still looking at the China market as he declared to shareholders during Marco Polo's annual and extraordinary general meetings in August this year.

'But now I am beginning to think that maybe after the deflationary cycle has run its course, South-east Asia might look attractive again. It's easier to begin in Singapore,' he said.

The current deflationary period presents a good opportunity to buy 'good assets at reasonable prices'.

For Singapore, Mr Lawrence expects home prices in virtually all segments to fall by a maximum of 10 per cent over the next 18 months. 'Maximum, but it might not happen,' he pronounced.

Although Marco Polo prefers to play it safe by buying on the upcycle, Mr Lawrence said: 'You're not going to go wrong in the medium term if you buy now.'

'If you buy something, it goes 10 per cent down, don't worry about it. Or if you miss the bottom and it goes up 10 per cent, don't worry about it. 'As long as you're within that 10 per cent triangle, don't worry about it. No one's clever enough to buy (right at the bottom).'

Earlier this year, the group completed the plush Ardmore Park condominium, which has yielded pre-tax profits of about $1 billion.

Now, the group is devoting its energies to The Grange Residences condominium on the former Marco Polo Hotel site on Tanglin Road.

Analysts noted that the group has missed various opportunities to launch the project. Mr Lawrence now indicates a likely launch date of around May 2003 for a completed product.

As for the Ardmore View condominium block bought in 1999, Mr Lawrence said all leases expire at the end of 2003. 'And then we'll probably go ahead and redevelop it. We may not, it just depends on the market.'   - by Kalpana Rashiwala    Singapore Business Times           

Wheelock boosts HK Land stake
Wheelock, the retail, property and telecommunications conglomerate, has boosted its stake in Hongkong Land in a move which could spark renewed speculation about a takeover of the company.

Hongkong Land, the biggest owner of prime property in Central and part of the Jardines Group, confirmed that Wheelock, which controls Wharf (Holdings) and retailer Lane Crawford, had built a 4.02 per cent holding.

Its investment means it is now one of the single largest shareholders in the company after Jardine Strategic Holdings, which as a consequence of the group's controversial cross-shareholding structure owns a 36.08 per cent stake in Hongkong Land.

A Wheelock spokesman yesterday said its investment was made purely on the basis of the company's belief that there were improving prospects for Hong Kong's property market.

"From time to time we have owned shares in various companies, and we think that Hongkong Land is a good company, and a good one to hold - it has quality assets," she said.

"We are pleased to see that the retail and commercial property markets are coming back, and we believe they will do very well."

However, Wheelock's investment adds to a growing number of shareholders in Hongkong Land who some analysts have speculated could try to exercise a pincer movement on the company in a bid to take it over.

Hongkong Land is regarded as one of the most valuable assets in the Jardines Group, owning and managing five million square feet of office and retail space in Central, as well as a wider spread of commercial and residential property developments across Asia.

Wheelock said it also supported Hongkong Land's redevelopment of Swire House, an office and retail development in Central, which Wheelock said was taking place at the right time in the property market's rebound.

Shares in Hongkong Land, which is listed in Singapore and London, jumped to US$1.74 last month - their highest point in the past 18 months. Yesterday they closed at US$1.59 on volume of 2.29 million shares.

Wheelock and Wharf hold large portfolios of Hong Kong-listed shares, most of which are said to be blue-chip companies.

Wheelock has been a long-term shareholder in Hongkong Land and a sizeable separate stake is also said to be personally owned by Peter Woo Kwong-ching, whose family owns 60 per cent of Wheelock.

"They have always been a shareholder . . . but I believe that shareholding was just under 3 per cent," said Hongkong Land chief executive Nicholas Sallnow-Smith.

He said Hongkong Land was trading at a discount to net asset value, which was US$2.02 as at last December, however he claimed the discount was narrower than that of other property companies.

Aside from Wheelock, Gainluck, a Hong Kong company controlled by Charles Ho Tsu-kwok, owns a 3.1 per cent stake in Hongkong Land.

Mr Ho's recently deceased grandfather, Ho Ying-chie of Hong Kong Tobacco, also owned 3.33 per cent.

A further 4.69 per cent is owned by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa, the two flagship companies of Li Ka-shing, although 3.28 per cent of this stake is held through an option with Credit Agricole Lazard Financial Products Bank.

Under the strict Bermuda takeover code, Hongkong Land's shareholders cannot be seen to be acting in concert in any activity relating to the company. However, as recent shareholder activity has shown in other Jardines Group companies, there is nothing to stop shareholders supporting proposals independently.

It emerged yesterday that the increase in Wheelock's investment came just two days after directors of both Jardine Strategic and Jardine Matheson put down a rebellion by a dissident shareholder who tabled unprecedented restructuring proposals at the groups' annual meeting two weeks ago.

The resolutions, which included proposals to merge Jardine Matheson and Jardine Strategic into one company, were aimed at unlocking shareholder value and breaking the stranglehold exercised by the Keswick family, who wield effective control over Jardines despite holding only 10 per cent.   -  by  Shee Kohli in London   South China Morning Post     14 June  2000   

 

 


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