HONG KONG (AFP) – Shares in two of Hong Kong’s biggest firms, both owned by the city’s richest person Li Ka-shing, surged on Monday after announcing a multi-billion-dollar revamp of his vast business empire.
Cheung Kong Holdings said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange Friday that it would separate its property-related firms from Li’s other global assets in a move to streamline his empire.
Cheung Kong Holdings jumped 14.74 per cent to close at HK$143.2 ($18.47) and Hutchison Whampoa – which is 50 per cent owned by Cheung Kong – soared 12.53 per cent to $98.35.
They were the biggest increases seen by the two firms since 1998 and 1997 respectively, according to Bloomberg News.
Under the restructure Cheung Kong will change its name to CK Hutchison Holdings, while all property related business will be controlled under a new firm called CK Property, which will be listed in the future.
Hutchison Whampoa, which has been trading on the city’s bourse since 1978 and controls his telecoms, utilities, ports and retail assets, will be delisted.
The 86-year-old Li said Friday that the overhaul was to secure stability in future.
“It’s a good thing for the company’s foundation,” he said, adding that he had no timetable for his retirement.
The move would have a positive impact on stocks as it would unlock “hidden value embedded under the existing vertical structure” Nomura analysts Benjamin Lo and Sylvia Chan said in a note Monday.
Li had been Asia’s richest man since 2012, but was surpassed by China’s Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma in December.
Li, who is worth $28.2 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, started out in business as a plastic flower-maker.