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Property News Weekly Digest
〈Asian Post, March 23, 2019〉Six developers have submitted tenders for a site in Kai Tak, the Lands Department said yesterday, with the companies saying they remained positive about the city's housing sector following a recent pickup in prices and the dovish monetary policy that has rekindled a cooling market.

Among the firms vying for Area 4B Site 1 in Kai Tak are Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Asset Holdings, Chinachem Group, K&K Property Holdings and a joint venture between K Wah International Holdings and Sino Land. A consortium of New World Development, Henderson Land Development, Wheelock Properties (Hong Kong) and China Overseas Land & Investment has also submitted a bid.

The site can yield 722,060 sq ft in gross floor area for a total land price of HK$9.4 billion to HK$10.8 billion, or HK$13,000 to HK$15,000 per square foot, according to CHFT Advisory and Appraisal and Knight Frank.

"We are confident about the prospects of the housing market," said Ewa Lam, administration manager at K&K Property.

Thomas Lam, executive director at Knight Frank, said: "The number of bidders was within expectations, but [the response] was not very enthusiastic."

He attributed this to a large investment of up to HK$17 billion, the US-China trade war, a proposed tax on vacant new homes and a lack of transport infrastructure and amenities.

Meanwhile, Phase 11 of Lohas Park, the first tender in Tseung Kwan O in three years, has attracted 29 registrations of interest, in line with Knight Frank's expectations, MTR Corp said yesterday.

〈Asian Post, March 22, 2019〉New chairman Victor Li says the group will pursue quality of earnings rather than quantity by diversifying geographically and by industry sector

CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings, the listed flagships of tycoon Li Ka-shing, reported higher profit for 2018 in the first set of annual results since his eldest son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, took over as chairman in May last year.

CK Hutchison, a conglomerate with businesses spanning container ports, retail, telecommunications and power plants, said net profit rose 11 per cent to HK$39 billion for the year to December, beating the HK$38.4 billion average forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

About 57 per cent of the growth in earnings before interest and taxes came from its Canadian oil and gas unit, Husky Energy, with the rest mainly driven by retail and telecommunications.

CK Asset, Hong Kong's second-biggest property developer by market capitalisation, posted an underlying net profit, excluding revaluation gains on investment properties, of HK$24.13 billion, an 18.8 per cent increase from 2017.

The result was lower than the HK$28.3 billion average estimate of six analysts polled by Bloomberg.

CK Hutchison declared a final dividend of HK$2.30 per share, bringing its full-year payout to HK$3.17, compared with HK$2.85 in 2017.

CK Asset's board declared a final dividend of HK$1.43 per share, bringing the full-year payout to HK$1.90, up from HK$1.70.

Since becoming chairman, Victor Li has turned CK Asset's investment focus back to the Hong Kong property market, initiating residential and commercial projects estimated by industry consultants to require about HK$66 billion of investment.

〈China Daily, March 22, 2019〉Property mogul Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong walked out of Stanley Prison yesterday, having served most of a five-year jail term for bribing the city's former No 2 official.

The 67-year-old's son, Adam Kwok Kai-fai, was there to meet him. He had with him a pineapple bun and milk tea, he said, the traditional Hong Kong treats being the first things his father wanted to eat and drink outside prison.

The tycoon's daughter Noelle Kwok and younger brother Raymond Kwok Ping-luen were also there to welcome him back.

Wearing a black suit and a red tie, his hair now grey, Kwok was already waving to family members as he approached the prison gates. After crossing the threshold, he hugged relatives.

Kwok was jailed in 2014 over a multimillion-dollar cash-for-favours scandal involving Rafael Hui Si-yan, chief secretary from 2005 to 2007. Hui is serving a 7\u00bd-year term for corruption at the same maximum-security prison.

Kwok, former joint chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), served two-thirds of his sentence, receiving time off for good behaviour. He briefly enjoyed freedom when bailed pending appeal in July 2016, but he lost his final legal action in June 2017.

Speaking to reporters - about 100 had turned out for the occasion - he said: "My feeling is very special today. I feel very excited. I really couldn't sleep yesterday.

"I would like to thank God for going through the past 40 months in prison with me. It has been tough. Sometimes I was frustrated; I was anxious; I felt guilty. In different situations, God is always here to support me."

〈China Daily, March 21, 2019〉Hong Kong property developers Henderson Land Development and K Wah International reported slight rises in profit for last year, a reflection of the city's cooling housing market.

Henderson said profit attributable to its owners inched up 1 per cent while K Wah's rose 3.6 per cent.

Developers felt the pinch after a multi-year bull run in the Hong Kong property market came to an end in August last year.

By the end of December 2018, the cumulative decline in home prices in the city stood at 9.2 per cent, according to the Rating and Valuation Department.

Henderson, chaired by tycoon Lee Shau-kee, said profit attributable to equity shareholders for the year to December stood at HK$31.16 billion.

Excluding revaluation gains on investment properties, core profit rose 1 per cent to HK$19.77 billion, missing analysts' forecasts by 3 per cent.

Revenue dropped 21 per cent to HK$21.98 billion. Of that, revenue from property sales fell 29 per cent to HK$16.32 billion.

The company will pay a final dividend of HK$1.30 per share, as well as a 1-for-10 bonus issue.

Lee, 90, meanwhile, suggested in a separate statement he was considering stepping down as chairman and passing control to his sons Peter Lee Ka-kit and Martin Lee Ka-shing.

K Wah said its profit attributable to equity shareholders for 2018 stood at HK$4.05 billion, while revenue was down 4.7 per cent to HK$10.76 billion.

〈China Daily, March 20, 2019〉China Overseas Land & Investment, the second-largest Hong Kong-listed mainland developer by market capitalisation, will focus on residential projects in top cities as the margins are high, the chairman said after its 2018 results failed to impress investors.

"We believe China's first-tier cities and clusters around them will continue to be the most buoyant economically," Yan Jianguo said. "We have invested HK$40 billion in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong last year, more than a third of our 2018 new investment."

Yesterday, the state-backed developer reported 3.25 per cent growth in revenue and an 8.3 per cent increase in core profits from a year earlier.

The HK$171.5 billion in revenue fell short of the HK$198.8 billion expectation polled by Bloomberg, while the HK$37.1 billion in core profits missed the HK$39.8 billion estimate.

Shares in China Overseas Land dipped 3.4 per cent after the results were announced before ending the day 1.9 per cent lower.

Yan attributed the weak growth to the change in taxation policy that led to more taxes.

He highlighted the company's net margin of 26.2 per cent, which Toni Ho, an analyst at RHB OSK Securities Hong Kong, said was one of the highest in the industry.

The net margin of the mainland's top 30 developers in 2018 stood at 13.7 per cent, data from consultancy Guandian showed.

Yan's comments about the mainland's property market contradict with those of Yeung Kwok-keung, chairman of Country Garden Holdings, who said two days ago that he remained bullish on the country's small cities and counties and "the future of Chinese property lies here".