Midland Realty looks at an Internet spin-off

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 12:00am

Midland Realty is looking at spinning off its Internet-related business for a separate listing, according to chairman Freddie Wong Kin-yip.

Mr Wong said the company in future would focus on Internet-related business in view of market trends.

The proposed spin-off, which is in a preliminary stage, was part of the expansion plan, and the group next year would invest more capital to upgrade its on-line services, he said.

They include on-line auction service, iAuction, and Internet mortgage-broking services that refer home buyers to banks.

Other services include iShop and iIndustrial which promote the sale of second-hand retail and industrial properties.

Mr Wong predicted these businesses would grow as Hong Kong embraced on-line property transactions and mortgage brokerages.

He did not reveal the amount earmarked for Internet development but said it was proposed the total would be partly funded by $70 million worth of three-year unlisted warrants.

The warrants, to be issued to professional investors, were waiting for Hong Kong Stock Exchange approval.

Midland Realty has cash on hand of about $190 million.

Mr Wong said the group slowed its investments and reduced the number of branches by half to 145 when the property market fell last year.

In anticipation of a property revival, the group planned to open more than 30 Hong Kong branches next year.