Sun Hung Kai Properties is one of Hong Kong’s largest property groups, with revenue of HK$68.4 billion in the 2011-2012 financial year, and profit attributable to shareholders of HK$43.08 billion. The company has been shaken in recent years by disputes between family members, with chairman and chief executive Walter Kwok being forced to step down in a dispute with his brothers Thomas and Raymond. In March, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) arrested senior officials as part of a corruption probe that also included former chief secretary Rafael Hui.
Cullinan price cuts put skids under shares
Sun Hung Kai Properties falls 2.6pc after offering units at well below secondary market
Shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) fell after it announced the relaunch of its luxury residential development at Kowloon Station at prices that are nearly a 20 per cent cheaper than the going rate in the area.
"We are confused by the company's sales strategy," said Alfred Lau, a property analyst at Bocom International.
The stock fell 2.6 per cent to HK$102.40 yesterday after SHKP, the biggest developer in Hong Kong in terms of market capitalisation, announced on Sunday the re-launch of The Cullinan in West Kowloon. It released a price list for 181 units at The Cullinan with an average selling price of HK$29,098 per square foot of saleable area.
The developer said it would launch 30 units for sale on Saturday, even though it issued the price list for 181 units, indicating that the developer is preparing to clear more units than it has declared. Lau said the market would want to know why the company was rushing to cash out.
The Cullinan has 825 units ranging in size from 435 square feet to 3,174 sq ft of saleable area. About 311 units remain unsold.
To draw buyers, the developer is offering a number of incentives such as cash rebates of up to 14 per cent. Applying the discounts to the listed price, the average selling price of the new batch amounts to HK$25,024 per square foot, which BNP Paribas property analyst Patrick Wong Chi-leung said was 19 per cent below the average prices of secondary-market homes in the area that have been sold recently.
Wong said he expected the discounts and cash rebates - of 70 per cent of the total amount of stamp duties for buyers - would tap pent-up demand for high-end units and appeal to mainland buyers.
The Cullinan move could affect nearby projects such as New World Development and Wheelock's joint venture development The Austin above the Austin MTR station. Analysts said New World and Wheelock could delay the sale of the 576-unit phase one development of The Austin.
Shares in New World fell 1.87 per cent to HK$11.54 yesterday and those of Wheelock fell 0.37 per cent to HK$40.
Despite the discounts, Thomas Lam Ho-man, director and head of research and consultancy for greater China at Knight Frank, said The Cullinan flats were still not cheap enough. "The minimum price tag of a unit sized 435 square foot of saleable area is still HK$12.8 million," he said.
Lam said he did not expect other developers to follow SHKP's example of cutting prices below secondary market rates. Instead of cutting the headline price tag, developers would offer more incentives such as cash rebates to draw buyers, he said.