Wheelock geared for reshuffle

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 12:00am

Minority shareholders are unlikely to be paid a premium for their holdings in a possible Wheelock & Co restructuring, according to a JP Morgan report.

Management said in a meeting with Morgan analysts that Wheelock had too many listed companies, and the structure would be simplified. But executives indicated it was not part of group strategy 'to pay a high price or premium to take out minority shareholders', the report said. Still, management would keep an open mind to all options, it said.

Wheelock subsidiaries New Asia Realty & Trust and Realty Development have been rumoured to be privatisation targets.

Two other subsidiaries - Harbour Centre Development and Singapore-listed Marco Polo Development - could also be candidates.

JP Morgan said office rents collected by property-unit Wharf (Holdings) in Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay were not rising as much as those from Central. Wharf's first two towers at Gateway II in Tsim Sha Tsui have about 80 per cent occupancy rates. The third tower has about a 40 per cent rate.

JP Morgan said the residential project at Kowloon Station phase two was likely to be launched in the next two months. Wheelock, Wharf, Harbour Centre Development, New Asia Realty and Realty Development each have stakes in the project.