The Hong Kong and China Gas Company

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The Hong Kong & China Gas Co Ltd.
Public
Traded asSEHK3
IndustryPublic utility
FoundedHong Kong
(1862; 156 years ago (1862))
HeadquartersQuarry Bay, Hong Kong
Key people
Lee Shau Kee, Chairman
Alfred Chan, Managing Director
ProductsGas supply, water supply, emerging environmentally-friendly energy, telecommunications
RevenueHKD 31,615m(2014)
HKD 7,109m (2014)
Number of employees
2,331 (2014)
Websitetowngas.com
Footnotes / references
41.51% Associate of Henderson Land Development
The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited
Traditional Chinese香港中華煤氣有限公司
Simplified Chinese香港中华煤气有限公司
Towngas
Traditional Chinese煤氣
Simplified Chinese煤气
Towngas Tai Po Plant
The gasometer of the company at Ma Tau Kok, Hong Kong.
Towngas shop in Kornhill Plaza

The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited (Chinese: 香港中華煤氣有限公司), commonly known as Towngas (煤氣), is the sole provider of towngas in Hong Kong. Founded in 1862, it is one of the oldest listed companies in the territory.

History[edit]

In February 1862, the concession to supply gas to the city of Victoria (the centre of which now referred to as Central), was obtained from then governor Sir Hercules Robinson by William Glen, a newcomer to the gas industry.[1] Incorporation took place on 3 June 1862 and, by 3 December 1864 that year, there were 15 miles (24 km) of pipes and 500 gas lamps along Queen's Road and Upper Valley Road. In Kowloon, residents continued to rely on candles and oil lamps until gas was laid on 28 years later. The company's original generating plant, the first in Asia, stood on the waterfront at West Point near Whitty StreetA[›] and provided gas for lighting to government offices and army barracks as well as Jardine's offices, the Hong Kong Dispensary and the Hong Kong Hotel. The plant was coal fired and produced 120,000 cubic feet (3,400 m3) of gas per day. It was run directly from Britain until 1954 when a majority shareholding was purchased by local firm Wheelock and Marden Company Limited who moved the company's registered domicile from the UK to Hong Kong.

As of 2011, the only surviving four gas lamps installed by the company are situated at the top and bottom of a flight of broad granite steps linking Ice House Street and Duddell Street. These are still maintained by Towngas, while the site is one of the Declared monuments of Hong Kong.[2]

Gas production and network[edit]

The company imports natural gas from Australia by sea and stores it at the Dapeng liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Shenzhen under a 25-year contract. A 34-kilometre (21 mi) submarine pipeline connects the Dapeng terminal to Towngas' Tai Po plant.[3] The Tai Po plant produces 97% of its town gas output while the remaining 3% is produced at the Ma Tau Kok plant.[4] The two plants cover 1.8 million households via a network of more than 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi) of pipelines throughout Hong Kong.[5] Treated gas from landfill sites is also utilised as fuel to reduce emission of greenhouse gases. In Hong Kong, town gas is produced from naphtha and natural gas. Its major components are hydrogen (49%), methane (28.5%), carbon dioxide (19.5%) and a small amount of carbon monoxide (3%).[3]

It supplies towngas to 85% Hong Kong households, and also to commercial and industrial customers.[citation needed] It has over 200 projects in mainland China including city-gas, water supply, emerging environmentally-friendly energy and telecommunications.[citation needed]

Property development[edit]

The company also engages in property development projects. It has a 15% share in the International Finance Centre and 50% share in Grand Promenade, both in Hong Kong, as well as the Grand Waterfront. All are investments in conjunction with the company's largest shareholder.[citation needed]

Usurpation by ultimate parent[edit]

On 3 October 2007, Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd (HLD) proposed to pay market value only to gain control of Towngas. The 39.06 percent stake in Towngas held by subsidiary Henderson Investment was valued at HK$42.86 billion in cash and convertible notes for the purposes of the transaction. Minority shareholders of Henderson Investment, who together held 30.73%, would receive 204.1 million Henderson Land shares and HK$1.19 billion in cash.

The offer was considered by analysts to be favourable to the Company, though shareholder activist David Webb criticised the deal saying Henderson was acquiring the stake on the cheap, without paying any control premium to minority shareholders of Henderson Investment. Webb further criticised the nature of the offer as a back-door privatisation of Henderson Investment, which would virtually be a shell company after the transfer of the stake.[6]

On 7 November, Henderson sweetened the offer to appease minority shareholders by increasing the cash portion to HK$2.24 per share.[7] On 7 December 2007, Henderson secured shareholders' support for the usurpation.[8]

As of 31 December 2014, HLD was the company's largest shareholder, owning 41.51% of the issued shares of the company. Lee Shau Kee, chairman of HLD, is also the chairman of the company.[citation needed]

Exploration operations[edit]

Towngas in 2008 agreed to a joint venture with Sunpec and Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum to develop block 3113 in Madagascar with technical assistance from Yunnan Kaiyuan Oil and Gas. The venture discovered light oil in November 2009. This block along with block 2104 has estimated oil reserves of 5.6 billion barrels and natural gas reserves of 66 billion cubic metres.[9]

Accidents[edit]

On 14 May 1934, a huge explosion of a gasometer at the company's West Point plant killed 42, injured many more and gutted five buildings.[10]

On 11 April 2006, an explosion caused by leaking towngas in Ngau Tau Kok killed two people and injured nine more.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Waters, Dan (1990). "Hongs Kong's Hongs with Long Histories and British Connections" (PDF). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch. 30: 247–256. ISSN 1991-7295. p. 221
  2. ^ "Duddell Street Steps & Gas Lamps". Antiquities and Monuments Office, Government of Hong Kong. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Tai Po Gas Production Plant" (PDF). The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Towngas – Gas Production". The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Towngas – Network". The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  6. ^ Cheung, Victor (4 October 2007). "Henderson makes $42.86b offer for Towngas control". The Standard. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2007.
  7. ^ Victor Cheung, "Henderson Land all set to take over Towngas" Archived 22 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine., The Standard, 9 November 2007
  8. ^ Victor Cheung, Henderson Land gets control of Towngas Archived 22 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine., The Standard, 8 December 2007
  9. ^ "10ANTANANARIVO72, Chinese Engagement in Madagascar and Comoros". Wikileaks.
  10. ^ Farmer, Hugh (27 August 2016). "The Hongkong and China Gas Company Ltd – explosion 14th May 1934, 42 killed". The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Legislative Council Panel on Economic Services Gas Safety" (PDF). Economic Development and Labour Bureau. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2011.

Notes[edit]

    ^ A: Named after the plant's first manager, R.C. Whitty

External links[edit]