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  • Nov 29, 2014
  • Updated: 11:41pm

Hutchison Whampoa

Hutchison Whampoa is controlled by the Cheung Kong Group, and headed by Li Ka-shing, Asia’s wealthiest man, who has been nicknamed “Superman” because of his investment prowess. Its operations include ports, with property and hotels, retailing telecommunications (Hutchison Telecommunications International) and infrastructure (Cheung Kong Infrastructure).

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Hutchison Whampoa denies it plans to quit Hong Kong amid speculation over possible ParknShop sale

Li Ka-shing's group confirms strategic review of ParknShop amid speculation of US$2b sale, but dismisses rumours it is withdrawing from city

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 July, 2013, 2:30am

Billionaire Li Ka-shing's conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa said yesterday it had no intention of withdrawing from Hong Kong, despite launching a review that could lead to the sale of its ParknShop supermarket chain.

It said a subsidiary, A.S. Watson & Co, was conducting a strategic study of the business "to optimise value for shareholders".

But it stressed that media rumours that it may be pulling out of the city were "groundless".

Leaving his home yesterday morning, Li referred to the review, saying: "It is a normal business activity."

But in response to questions from reporters, he denied it was related to the political situation or public opinion of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. He added: "Please do not speculate."

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, the ports-to-telecoms conglomerate has hired investment banks Goldman Sachs and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch to sell ParknShop for up to US$2 billion.

The group decided last month to sell the chain to raise cash to help it through one of the most challenging business environments for years, the report said.

But the group said yesterday it had not yet set a definite timetable for completing the review and the process did not necessarily mean there would be a sale.

A ParknShop spokeswoman confirmed an earlier media report that a change would be made next month to the name of the employer on the work contracts, from A. S. Watson & Co to ParknShop (HK). But employment terms and conditions would not be affected, she said. ParknShop and its rival Wellcome, owned by Dairy Farm International Holdings, have more than 70 per cent of market share in the city.

ParknShop operates 345 stores - more than 270 of them in Hong Kong - and employs about 13,000 staff in Hong Kong, Macau and on the mainland.

The supermarket chain reported revenue of HK$21.7 billion last year, which contributed 5.4 per cent to Hutchison Whampoa's overall figure.

But the report in The Wall Street Journal said Li planned to exit the grocery store market partly because it is "mature and growing slowly".

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po dismissed talk of a connection between a possible sale and the administration's performance as "speculation".

New People's Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, an executive councillor, said the enforcement of the Competition Ordinance - and the work on implementing standard working hours and universal suffrage - might have raised fears among some in the commercial sector.

She believed the ParknShop review was solely a commercial consideration.

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This article is now closed to comments

honkiepanky
The cost has already been passed on to HK consumers my friend. It's just a question of whether the money goes to LKS or another landlord.
Dai Muff
The difference is that Mr Li will charge himself a low rent and charge anyone who takes over the chain a higher one. So they, and we, will get even more shafted.
lamlm38
why cant someone kidnap this motherF and make him disapear?
KwunTongBypass
Nothing to worry about. The Lis left Hong Kong in 1984, and came back as Canadians, to get out of Hong Kong as much as they can, and once there is nothing for them to get, they will get out of Hong Kong as fast as they can! Let them go. It will be good for Hong Kong.
impala
Superman sells supermarket.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
SpeakFreely
It is extremely hard to run a supermarket in HK not as a landlord like Mr. Li as the rent will kill you. Will be interesting to see who want to buy this as is not a easy biz if store lease can't be secured. Supermarket in Hk already has little choices in terms of food, prices are at least 30 to 80% more expensive than in US, and not as fresh. If the new owner does not have access to secure lease, the cost will pass on to Hk people.
chaz_hen
Let the mainlanders have all the milk powder they want via parallel trading...just let HKers have groceries in exchange for it in the future!
daily
Of course he's gonna deny it.............just like he denies everything else................does anyone think he's gonna come out and say - "Yes, I'm pulling all my business out of HK now..."........Give me a break!
KwunTongBypass
Wow! I am impressed. PCC, CPPCC?? telling us that LKS is going to run HK for a few more years!
xiaoblueleaf
When Li sells, one better stays away. Despite monopoly of the supermarkets in HK, Li now feels there is not enough profit and growth, and the opportunities are elsewhere outside of HK. He is now too big a fish for the small pond.
 
 
 
 
 

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