HONG KONG, July 20 (Reuters) - Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, has kicked off a succession plan to transfer control of his empire to his eldest son Victor Li, who has started to take control of the HK$850 billion ($110 billion) Cheung Kong group after an asset transfer.
Victor Li now holds two-thirds of Li Ka-shing Unity Holdings Ltd after his younger brother Richard Li transferred his one-third holding in the family trust to him on July 16, according to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
“This is just a procedure to implement what Mr. Li Ka-shing had said in the company’s annual general meeting,” Cheung Kong spokeswoman Wendy Barnes told Reuters.
In May, the 83-year-old billionaire said Victor, 47, would assume the stakes he holds in listed companies, while pledging to bankroll the ventures of Richard, chairman of the telecom PCCW Ltd. A Hong Kong business legend, Li’s $25.5 billion fortune ranked him ninth on the 2012 Forbes Billionaires List.
Li Ka-shing will continue to hold the remaining third of the trust, which controls Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd and other affiliate companies.
The major holdings of the Li empire, which includes Cheung Kong Infrastructure and electricity company Power Assets, have a combined market value of close to $100 billion. Interests in another 18 affiliates push the total size of the empire beyond that mark. ($1 = 7.7555 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Alison Leung and Alex Frew McMillan; Editing by Richard Pullin)