Hopewell hungry for more in world crisis

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am


Hopewell Holdings might take advantage of a new global financial crisis to make further acquisitions, said Thomas Jefferson Wu, managing director of Hopewell and its subsidiary Hopewell Highway Infrastructure (HHI).

'If there are hiccups in the world economy, it may provide opportunities in acquiring properties,' said Wu, son of Sir Gordon Wu Ying-sheung, the chairman of both Hong Kong-listed firms.

The managing director pointed out that Hopewell, in a 50-50 venture with Sino Land, acquired the Lee Tung Street property development project in Wan Chai during the last global financial crisis in 2009.

The project will be completed in 2015, with 1,300 homes available for pre-sale in 2013 and a planned investment of HK$9 billion of which Hopewell will contribute HK$4.5 billion.

There are no acquisition plans in the pipeline.

The impact of a new global crisis on the group would be limited, as Hopewell and HHI's exposure was mainly in the mainland and Hong Kong, said Wu. 'The financial management of Hong Kong is sound and China is quite prudent in its economic management,' he said. 'Our own financial position is sound and we have strong cash flow.'

Excluding HHI, Hopewell had net cash of HK$1.84 billion plus committed bank facilities of HK$6.92 billion as of June 30. It has strong financial resources to meet its funding requirements of HK$4.5 billion from next year to 2014 for projects under development, Wu said. HHI had net cash of HK$1.03 billion as of June 30.

Hopewell's turnover soared 59 per cent to HK$6.97 billion for the fiscal year ending on June 30, while net profit rose 16 per cent to HK$5.58 billion. Hopewell's turnover included revenue from property, its power plant in Heyuan, Guangdong, and HHI's toll road business. Hopewell's Broadwood Twelve property project in Happy Valley had sold 45 of its 76 units for HK$1.9 billion.

The net toll revenue for HHI, which operates expressways in Guangdong, rose 17 per cent to HK$2.28 billion. Net profit rose 6 per cent to HK$1.02 billion. The lower margin was partly due to an increased tax rate on HHI's Guangzhou-Shenzhen expressway and losses in HHI's Phase 1 West expressway in the Pearl River Delta.

HHI will issue a final dividend of 18 HK cents per share, while Hopewell will issue a 58 HK cents per share final dividend plus a special final dividend of 45 HK cents per share.