Lawyer rebuts Yung Kee brother's 'no dividends' claim
The famed Yung Kee roast goose restaurant has paid HK$140 million in dividends since 2010, a court heard yesterday.
The details of the payments from a company behind the restaurant emerged in the Court of First Instance, where a feud between the sons of its founder is playing out.
Kam Shui-fai started the restaurant in 1942. Now the Central dining spot is estimated to be worth HK$1.5 billion, not counting the value of dried seafood, antiques, paintings, furniture and cutlery. Kam's two sons - Kinsen Kam Kwan-sing, 64, and Kam Kwan-lai, 63 - fell out in a dispute over shares a few years after the death of their father in 2004.
Kinsen Kam is asking the court to issue a winding-up order against the holding company, which could result in liquidators selling the shares on the open market or one brother buying out the other's stock. He has said that he would rather buy out his brother's share or sell his holdings to his brother.
Kinsen Kam has claimed he was stripped of his power when his brother unfairly obtained majority control and made his son a director. He also accused his brother of refusing to distribute dividends to shareholders even though the company had more than HK$880 million in cash.
But Kam Kwan-lai's barrister, John Bleach SC, said while cross-examining Kinsen Kam that the firm had given out HK$140 million in payments on three occasions - in December 2010, July last year, and last month. He also accused Kinsen Kam of pursuing the winding-up order mainly because of resentment 'that as the elder brother, you no longer were in the position where you are in charge'. Kinsen Kam denied this.
In 1968, Fortune Magazine named Yung Kee one of the world's 15 best restaurants. The trial continues before Mr Justice Jonathan Harris.