No injection of insurance business, says PCPD
Pacific Century Premium Developments, a property investment company controlled by Richard Li Tzar-kai, dismissed speculation yesterday that Li would inject his recently acquired insurance business into the company.
Rumours of the injection had seen PCPD's share price rise 48 per cent at one point yesterday.
In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange last night, PCPD said: "The company has not been engaging in any discussion regarding such injection and the board is not aware of the source of such information."
The company suspended trading of its shares yesterday after the stock traded 33.6 per cent higher at HK$2.94 before the morning break.
It earlier peaked at HK$3.25 as the market reacted to rumours that Pacific Century Group, Li's private investment firm, which owns a majority stake in PCPD through Pacific Century CyberWorks, would inject its insurance business FWD into PCPD.
Li re-entered the insurance business last year by acquiring the Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand operations of Dutch insurance firm ING for US$2.14 billion and named his new business FWD, as ING wanted to keep its brand name.
He exited the market in 2007 when he sold his stake in Pacific Century Insurance to Fortis, but apparently still found the business attractive with a rapidly ageing population in Hong Kong and rising incomes in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, which FWD's chief executive David Wong Tai-wai has said will be the markets targeted for expansion.
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah told an insurance conference yesterday that a third of the city's more than 7 million people would be older than 65 by 2041, meaning big opportunities for insurers.
In Asia, the proportion of people aged 60 or above would rise from last year's 11 per cent of the population to 24 per cent by 2050, figures from the United Nations showed.