(Yicai Global) Oct. 27 – Mr. Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong's richest man, has completed his biggest property sell-off to date, more than one year after his first public denial of a retreat from investments in mainland China.
Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd. said last night that an indirect, but wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, and a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of the Li Ka-shing Foundation have concluded a sale and purchase agreement to sell Mapleleaf Developments in Lujiazui, Shanghai. The sales price is CNY20 billion (USD3 billion). The company's board expects that the group will record an unaudited gain of around CNY5.43 billion. Though the announcement did not disclose the buyer's name, The Paper said the buyer was a company owned by China Life Insurance (Group) Co. [SH:9601628].
Between 2014 and 2015, Mr. Li cashed in nearly CNY80 billion by selling assets or via other means and relocated the registration of his companies from Hong Kong to well-known offshore financial centers, such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Outsiders interpreted his moves as a pull-back from his mainland investments. In Sept. 2015, Mr. Li denied publicly for the first time his departure from the mainland. Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd. said last year that it would hold onto the project, given its excellent location. However, Mr. Li sold this ideally-situated property in under one year.
Following the sell-off, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. now holds properties of less than 200,000 square meters in mainland China.