March 16, 2018 / 8:55 AM / 2 years ago

CK Asset posts 55 pct rise in annual profit, beats estimates

HONG KONG, March 16 (Reuters) - Property group CK Asset Holdings Limited reported a rise of 55 percent in 2017 net profit, beating estimates, after announcing that its billionaire Chairman Li Ka-shing is to retire.

The 89-year-old Li also announced his retirement as executive chairman of his ports-to-telecoms conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd, with effect from the conclusion of the annual general meeting which will be held on May 108.

He will, as expected, stay on as adviser to the group, while his eldest son Victor Li, 53, who has been deputy chairman since 2015, will officially take over the reins of the business.

Their real estate arm, CK Asset, reported a net profit of HK$30.13 billion ($3.84 billion) for the 12 months through December, higher than the mean of 16 analysts’ estimates at HK$20.4 billion.

Core profit, which excludes property revaluation gains, rose 13 percent to HK$20.32 billion, while revenue dropped 9 percent to HK63.78 billion.

One of Hong Kong’s biggest developers with a portfolio including properties in Britain to energy assets in Australia, CK Asset evolved from the plastics making Cheung Kong Industries that a 22-year-old Li founded in 1950.

It has built some of the city’s eye-catching buildings, including “The Center” - a 73-storey office tower which set the record for the world’s biggest single property sale when a consortium agreed to pay HK$40.2 billion for it last November.

The consortium’s Chinese buyer later pulled out of the deal, Reuters reported last month, and is expected to be replaced by Hong Kong-based investors. ($1=7.8430 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Venus Wu and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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