Ah Pak

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 March, 2011, 12:00am

Chief chosen for Cheung Kong's yuan reit?

Media-friendly Steven Chu (pictured) of ARA is heading for fresh challenges, Ah Pak hears on the grapevine.

Talk around town is that Chu, chief executive of ARA Asset Management (Prosperity), the manager of Hong Kong-listed Prosperity Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), will take the helm as chief executive of the yuan-denominated property reit launched by Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong (Holdings) next month.

Cheung Kong aims to raise between US$1 billion and US$1.5 billion through the float of the reit in Hong Kong next month.

Ah Pak understands that Chu will resign from ARA, a Cheung Kong affiliate, to pilot the reit through the listing.

Two weeks ago, Cheung Kong deputy managing director Kam Hing-lam, believed to be the chairman of the yuan reit, marked the 10th anniversary of the developer's prime mainland property, Beijing's Oriental Plaza.

The complex is the core asset of the yuan-denominated reit.

Chu has declined to comment.

More musical chairs

And there are more games of musical chairs being played among listed property-related companies, Ah Pak notes.

On Monday, Midland Holdings' senior executive director Albert Wong Kam-hong and executive director Angela Wong Ching-yi were promoted to deputy chairmanships of the company with immediate effect.

The ever-practical Ah Pak, wondering what that might mean for their wallets, took a look at the firm's 2009 annual report. For that year, it seems, Albert Wong received close to HK$12 million as senior executive director, while chairman Freddie Wong Kin-yip got HK$65 million. But the firm paid only HK$6.73 million to former deputy chairman Metty Tang Mei-lai, who is the wife of the chairman.

Tang has resigned as deputy chairman but will remain executive director.

Is Albert Wong in line to get a whole lot more than the previous deputy chairman? All he would tell Ah Pak was: 'A little bit of incentive will be added.'

Ah Pak wanted to know if there were any plans for celebration.

'Reward myself by sleeping earlier tonight,' he quipped.

Top of a very big pile

Finally, Ah Pak has a question for readers. Guess how many property developers there are on the mainland? 1,000? 4,000? No, the answer is more than 60,000.

That's a pretty crowded marketplace.

But property consultancy China Real Estate Information last week offered a who's who of property bigwigs on the mainland: its Top 500 ranking of developers for 2011. The ranking is based on last year's sales revenues.

Still top of the very big pile is China Vanke, with 2010 sales of 108.2 billion yuan (HK$128 billion). But the biggest mover was China Evergrande Real Estate, which leapt to No2 from No6. Poly Real Estate Group is No 3, while China Overseas Land & Investment swapped places with China Evergrande, dropping to No6 from No2.

The staggering fact is that even though China Vanke ranked top of the property giants, its market share on the mainland in 2010 was just 2.06 per cent, and the top 100 mainland developers collectively held a market share of only 26.86 per cent of total sales volume. Compare that with Hong Kong, where about one in seven of all private residences were developed by Cheung Kong, according to the company.

The total sales volume of private housing sold on the mainland last year reached 55.3 trillion yuan, according to China Real Estate Information.