Great Eagle Holdings is to spin off its hotel properties in Hong Kong to try to cash in on an influx of mainland travellers that drove the city's tourist arrivals to a record of more than 46 million last year.
In a statement filed with the stock exchange, Great Eagle said a proposal has been submitted to seek a separate listing of its hotel properties on the exchange's main board in the form of share-stapled units.
A stapled security is a combination of two or more securities, such as a share in a corporation and a unit in a unit trust, which cannot be traded separately.
Great Eagle's Hong Kong hotels include the 495-room Langham Hong Kong in Causeway Bay, the 649-room Langham Place in Mongkok and the 461-room Eaton Smart in Jordan.
Adrian Ngan, an analyst at Citic Securities International, said: "It is a smart option as the Hong Kong hotels are the jewels of its portfolio. The move is to ensure a higher valuation."
The company said hotel income from Hong Kong, fuelled by the surge in mainland tourists, recorded a year on year 16 per cent rise to HK$282 million for the six months to June 30 last year. First-half profit from its Hong Kong hotels accounted for almost 64 per cent of total group profit of HK$442 million.
By contrast, income from its Europe hotels for the same period dropped 26 per cent to HK$50.6 million, while North America saw a bare 4.2 per cent increase to HK$39.6 million.
Great Eagle said it would hold not less than 51 per cent of the share-stapled units in issue.
Average room rates at Eaton Smart, a mid-priced hotel focusing on visitors from the mainland and Southeast Asian countries, registered the biggest growth among the three hotels, with a 13.4 per cent increase to HK$1,006 for the six months to June 30, Great Eagle said.
Its Langham Place Hotel managed to raise average room rates in the first half by 7.6 per cent year on year to HK$1,850 thanks to increased corporate and leisure travellers from China and North America, while the Langham, Hong Kong saw a 6.4 per cent year-on-year rise to HK$2,221.
Before the announcement, shares in Great Eagle dropped 2.3 per cent to close at HK$27.80.