Hopewell banks on Wan Chai land revaluation gain

Infrastructure company hopes to reap HK$2 billion over next few years from revaluation of site for new commercial Hong Kong Island project

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 3:56am

Hopewell Holdings aims to book a land revaluation gain of HK$2 billion over the next few years from its new project, Hopewell Centre II.

Hopewell managing director Thomas Jefferson Wu said the estimated market value of Hopewell's portion of the site on which the project will be built was HK$4.1 billion.

Since the historical book value of the land share was HK$500 million, HK$3.6 billion of value would be unlocked, of which HK$2 billion would be booked into the Hong Kong-listed firm's financial statements in the next few years, Wu said.

He said Hopewell would inject HK$4.55 billion into the centre's construction from next year to 2015. "Our major focus in the near future will be Hopewell Centre II."

Construction on the project, which has a total investment budget of HK$9 billion, is expected to get under way later this year and be completed in 2018. The 55-floor tower will have a total gross floor area of 101,600 square metres, and is expected to include a conference hotel with 1,024 guest rooms.

When completed, the value of the centre will be HK$18 billion, Kim Eng Securities estimates.

"The completion of Hopewell Centre II will increase Hopewell's Wan Chai investment land bank from an existing 1 million square feet to 2.2 million sq ft, making it one of the largest landlords in the traditional major commercial district of Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island," a Kim Eng report noted.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, Hopewell's revenue dropped 6 per cent to HK$6.56 billion, while net profit fell 35 per cent to HK$3.63 billion. The profit drop was mainly due to a fair value gain of HK$2.26 billion booked in the previous fiscal year.

Excluding changes in fair value of property, the firm's core profit rose 11 per cent to HK$1.35 billion.

Meanwhile, the net profit of Hopewell's Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, Hopewell Highway Infrastructure (HHI), increased 0.5 per cent to HK$1.02 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, while the toll-road operator's net toll revenue rose 5 per cent to HK$2.39 billion.

HHI attributed the small profit rise to a fall in net exchange gains, which offset rises in toll revenues and interest income.

"We are confident in achieving profitability for Phase II West in 2014. Phase III West is planned to open ahead of schedule in the first quarter of 2013 around the Lunar New Year," said Wu, who is also HHI managing director.

Phase II West is HHI's operational toll expressway from Guangzhou to Zhongshan, while Phase III West is its planned expressway from Zhongshan to Zhuhai.