Guoco Group, the prime Hong Kong-listed vehicle of Malaysian tycoon Quek Leng Chan, is to increase its exposure to the territory's property development market, a company official said yesterday. Guoco executive director James Eng said the group was relatively new to Hong Kong despite the fact that its 70 per cent-owned subsidiary, Dao Heng Bank, had been in Hong Kong for more than 20 years and its majority shareholder had significant property interests throughout Southeast Asia. He said the decision to increase the group's exposure to the territory's property market reflected the view that the market had bottomed out and the group was set to catch another rally. Guoco Group was now in the process of identifying property development projects of good quality which were situated in prime locations in the territory, he said. Guoco lost the bid for development of a site in the Tai Kok Tsui MTR station to rival Sino Land months ago. Mr Eng said the group was studying other development projects along the airport railway although nothing could be announced yet. It announced in June it would sell, through Dao Heng Bank, a site in Sheung Wan, on which the bank's former headquarters was situated, to New World Development, for $460 million. Group financial controller Allan Tsang said the deal was completed in September, after the group's books closed in June. The proceeds from the sale would be booked in its accounts for the fiscal year 1996-97. Mr Eng denied rumours last month that the group was undergoing restructuring which might lead to the spin-off of some of its banking or property interests in a separate listing on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange. The 70 per cent-owned subsidiary, in turn, constituted about 70 per cent of Guoco Group's assets and attributable profit in the year to June. The remaining assets of the group include the 50.7 per cent-owned Singapore-listed property concern First Capital Corp, and the Philippines-listed associate Guoco Holdings (Philippines) Inc, a property and financial services conglomerate. The group also owns 20 per cent of the Kuala Lumpur-listed financial services firm, Hong Leong Credit. Mr Tsang said the group would look for acquisition opportunities but at the same time keep a close eye on the organic growth of its existing businesses. Mr Quek controls 31.27 per cent of Guoco through an intermediary, Guoline Overseas.