Richard Li Tzar-Kai

HKT shares slip after Richard Li sell-off

PCCW chairman's stake reduction sends fixed-line network operator down 2.53 per cent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 6:29am

HKT Trust saw its share price decline after PCCW chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai sold some of his personal stake in Hong Kong's first listed business trust.

Shares of HKT Trust, which runs the city's biggest fixed-line telecommunications network, were down 2.53 per cent to close at HK$7.70 in trading yesterday.

HKT Trust and operating arm HKT represent the telecommunications assets spun off by PCCW in November 2011. PCCW holds about 63 per cent of HKT Trust and HKT's total issued share stapled units.

Li raised about HK$1.28 billion from selling about 2.5 per cent of the total outstanding units he owned, which were held by his companies Pacific Century Group, Eisner Investment and Pacific Century Diversified.

The transaction was made at a time when HKT Trust's share price hovered near its record high of HK$7.94 on April 10. Li currently holds about 2.9 per cent direct interest in the trust.

There was strong appetite for the HKT share stapled units Li sold. Its buyers were funds and blue-chip financial institutions, including AIA, ING Life HK, Jardine Fleming, Henderson Global investors and DBS.

Speculation, however, remains muted on where Li plans to spend his hefty gain. A spokesman for Li declined to comment.

Li's investments have largely focused on telecommunications, property, media and financial services. Last year, Li's Pacific Century Group bought the Hong Kong and Thailand insurance units of Dutch financial services firm ING for US$2.14 billion.

According to Forbes, Li had an estimated net worth of US$1.9 billion as of last month.

In its first full-year financial results announcement, HKT Trust and HKT reported that its net profit rose 32 per cent to HK$1.61 billion last year from HK$1.22 billion a year earlier.

Total revenue grew 6 per cent to HK$18.36 billion. Mobile service revenue jumped 25 per cent to HK$2.46 billion, while international telecommunications services revenue also rose 25 per cent to HK$5.24 billion.

Alex Arena, the HKT group managing director, said in February: "The broadband and mobile businesses shall continue to be the main growth drivers."

Macquarie Securities in Hong Kong has forecast HKT Trust revenue will reach HK$20.17 billion this year.