Sun Hung Kai Properties
|Founded||1963 (listed in 1972)|
|Founder(s)||Kwok Tak Seng, Fung King Hey, Lee Shau Kee|
|Headquarters||Sun Hung Kai Centre,
30 Harbour Road, Wanchai,
Hong Kong, SAR
|Key people||Thomas Kwok, Raymond Kwok, Chairman and Managing Director|
|Products||Real estate, investment, hotels,
|Revenue||HKD 53.8 billion (2012/13 FY)|
|Employees||over 37,000 (as at December 2013)|
Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SHKP; Chinese: 新鴻基地產發展有限公司) (SEHK: 0016) is a listed corporation based in Hong Kong. The company is controlled by the family trust set up by Kwok Tak Seng, who founded the company.
The company was one of many non-British owned companies that overtook the British trading companies or 'hongs' that dominated the financial order in Hong Kong prior to 1997. The company was founded in 1963 by the elder Kwok, together with Fung King-hei and Lee Shau Kee, and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972.
SHKP was publicly listed in 1972 and is one of the largest property companies in Hong Kong. It specialises in premium-quality residential and commercial projects for sale and investment. It employs more than 37,000 people and has in-house expertise in land acquisition, architecture, construction, engineering and property management.
SHKP’s core business is the development of property for sale and investment. It achieved a revenue of HK$53,793 million in financial year 2012/13, with profit attributable to shareholders of HK$40,329 million. The majority of its revenues and operating profit was derived from property sales and rental.
As at 31 December 2013, the Group has a land bank in Hong Kong of 46.6 million square feet in terms of attributable gross floor area, consisting of 28.7 million square feet of completed investment properties and 17.9 million square feet of properties under development. The Group also owns over 27 million square feet (site area) of farmland in the New Territories, primarily along rail lines. The majority of this is in various stages of land use conversion.
As at 31 December 2013, the Group holds a land bank of 85.6 million square feet in terms of attributable gross floor area on the mainland, including 75.9 million square feet of properties for development and 9.7 million square feet of completed properties for rent. The Group has a selective and focused investment strategy, concentrating on prime cities.
The Group has always attained the highest credit ratings amongst Hong Kong developers. Moody’s gave the Group an A1 rating and Standard & Poor’s gave the Group an A+ rating.
The company also has complementary operations in the following property related fields:
- Property management
- Information technology
- Infrastructure and other businesses
It was once reported in a local newspaper that the company and Cheung Kong (Holdings) are together increasingly dominant in the development of new private homes, accounting for 70% of the market in 2010, up from around half of that in 2003. This concentration, with much of the rest of the market occupied by other very large firms, is attributed to the government's policy of auctioning land in expensively large blocks, squeezing out small and mid-sized firms, according to the Consumer Council.
Nevertheless, clarification was later made in the letters to editors column in the same newspaper that Sun Hung Kai Properties’ overall share of primary residential sales in terms of attributable value from January to July 2010 has been approximately 20% – a figure that has been largely stable over the last few years.
It has been, and continues to be involved in a number of high-profile projects in Hong Kong. In 1996, SHKP was the lead developer which had bid the sum of HK$5.5 billion to acquire the rights to develop Hong Kong's tallest building, the International Finance Centre. The MTR Corporation was a partner in the venture. Sun Hung Kai Properties, owns 47.5 per cent of the development, Henderson Land Development, whose chairman Lee Shau Kee sits on the SHKP board, took a 32.5 per cent stake in the project. SHKP also built the International Commerce Centre, the tallest building in Hong Kong.
Lack of transparency of internal sales
In 2005, the developer was criticised for the lack of transparency in its public sale of residential properties to speculators and end-users. The company was accused of the practice of "internal sales" of uncompleted units, the absence of sale price-lists, and also for hyping sales for flats in its The Arch development in West Kowloon by announcing inflated prices (per square metre) achieved. A buyer apparently paid HK$168 million, or HK$31,300 per square foot, for a 5,360-square-foot (498 m2) penthouse. Sweeteners were allegedly given (discounts given to the same purchaser on other units bought), but were excluded from the calculation. This allowed SHK to raise prices of the next batch of 500 units by 5–10 percent. But SHKP has denied the allegations.
"Temporary" leave of Walter Kwok
On 18 February 2008, SHKP announced that Walter Kwok, Chairman and Chief Executive, would take a "temporary leave of absence for personal reasons with immediate effect". Walter Kwok announced that he would take a "personal holiday", handing over his duties to his two younger brothers.
The suddenness of his departure caused a huge stir in Hong Kong. The Standard reported that the elder Kwok was removed from his position by his mother, who is the controlling shareholder of the company, to protect the family interests. The journal revealed that Walter's mistress of 4 years has been wielding increasing power in the business, and causing friction with his brothers.
SHKP's announcement left the financial markets hungry for more disclosure, causing its stock price to decline against the general market the following day. Corporate communications issued a second statement insisting that the business would not be affected, and that Walter would resume his functions after his leave of 2 to 3 months. Walter's mistress, named by the press as Ida Tong Kam-hing (唐錦馨), had apparently introduced property transactions valued at HK$4 billion to the Group or to the Kwoks' private investment vehicles. Company spokesmen stated that no person named Ida Tong was employed by the Group.
On 29 February, tycoon and fellow board member Lee Shau Kee confirmed that Mrs. Kwok forced the leave of absence upon Walter over Ida Tong during the last board meeting.
On 16 May 2008, Walter filed a writ with the High Court which claimed that Walter reached an agreement with his mother and two brothers in February that he would return to his duties if certain conditions were met. Walter alleged that his two brothers violated the agreement by attempting to remove him despite having fulfilled the pre-defined criteria, including procuring at least two medical opinions showing he is fit to return. Walter secured a last-minute injunction to delay the vote, to allow more time for discussions. On the sidelines of the dispute to remove Walter as Chairman and CEO, Walter and his brothers claim the other(s) made major management decisions unwisely and without consultation.
The Hong Kong business community was shaken by the arrest of SHK Executive Director Thomas Chan by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on 19 March. There were further shock waves when eight people linked to the company in the afternoon on 29 March 2012. Co-chairmen Thomas and Raymond Kwok and five others were arrested by the ICAC as part of an extensive corruption probe. Rafael Hui, former chief secretary, was also taken in for questioning. They were later released on bail. The probe caused a 15 percent fall in the company's share price, and a downgrading of the company's outlook.
- "About SHKP". Sun Hung Kai Properties. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
- "Credit Ratings". Sun Hung Kai Properties. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- Kwok, Vivian (12 Aug 2010). "Two developers tower over market". SCMP. Retrieved 12 Aug 2010.
- Letters to editors (1 Sep 2010). "Sun Hung Kai offers small flats". SCMP. Retrieved 1 Sep 2010.
- Bloomberg (18 June 2003). "Tenanting tallest tower looks likely to be a tall order". The Standard (Hong Kong). Retrieved 23 March 2007.
- "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Sun Hung Kai Properties. 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
- Lau, Eli (19 May 2005). "Flats frenzy puts system in spotlight". the Standard (Hong Kong). Retrieved 10 April 2007.
- Press Release:Leave of absence of Chairman and Chief Executive Sun Hung Kai Properties, 18 February 2008
- Staff reporter, "Lover feud splits Kwok brothers", The Standard, 19 February 2008
- "Walter will return, says SHK" (新地﹕郭炳湘將重返公司", Ming Pao, 20 February 2008
- Staff reporter, "My ex-wife fell for a Kwok", The Standard, 20 February 2008
- Benjamin Scent, Katherine Ng & Stephanie Tong, "Sensational accusations fly as SHKP chairman takes his fight to court", The Standard, 16 May 2008
- Benjamin Scent, "Fallout over Chan appointment", The Standard, 16 May 2008
- Katherine Ng, "ICC rents caught in Kwok feud", The Standard, 21 May 2008
- Wong, Kelvin – Bloomberg News (30 March 2012). Sun Hung Kai Loses $5.8 Billion on Billionaire Kwoks' Arrest. San Francisco Chronicle.
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