Hongkong Land has confirmed that another sizeable stake in the company has been built up, renewing speculation that the group could be a takeover target. The latest buyer was identified as Ho Ying-chie, a member of the family that controls Hongkong Tobacco. Mr Ho has a disclosable interest equal to 3.16 per cent of Hongkong Land's shares. 'He has been a long-term shareholder in the company and he is taking advantage of buying some more shares at a price which is currently excellent value,' a Hongkong Land spokesman said. 'I don't think there is anything furtive going on here, or threatening.' The Ho stake is the latest in a web of substantial shareholding interests being built up in the company and which potentially could act in concert to launch a takeover attempt for Hongkong Land. For such a move to take place, an official announcement would have to be made to the London, Singapore and Bermuda stock exchanges, where Hongkong Land is listed, brokers said. Mr Ho's purchase adds to a long-standing 3 per cent stake held by Gainluck Co, which is run by Mr Ho's grandson, Charles T.K. Ho. Together with shares owned by other members, the Ho family is believed to hold between 6 per cent and 9 per cent of Hongkong Land. Separately, another 4.02 per cent stake is held by Hong Kong property and telecommunications entrepreneur Li Ka-shing through his flagship companies Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa. Hongkong Land said any suggestion Mr Ho and Mr Li would act together to launch a takeover bid for Hongkong Land was market speculation. It said the fact two members of the Ho family had sizeable interests was no indication they would act in concert. Brokers insisted it was only a matter of time until an attempt to acquire the company was made. Yesterday, Hongkong Land's share price in Singapore dropped seven cents to US$1.36. The shares have risen from a close on Monday of $1.12. Turnover in the stock this week has amounted to about 45 million shares. Brokers said if it fell to between $1.10 and $1.15 it would be 'irresistible'. Analysts said acquisition of the Ho stake was the latest move in a slow process of attrition that eventually would enable Mr Li to buy Hongkong Land at a bargain-basement price. Hongkong Land has a portfolio of highly valuable commercial properties in Central that are thought to be particularly attractive to Mr Li and which comprise almost half the prime office and retail space in the area, amounting to five million square feet. In the wake of the regional economic crisis, Hong Kong property prices are estimated to have plunged 20 to 40 per cent. Some analysts believe there is scope for further falls, putting significant pressure on Hongkong Land's share price. One analyst suggested the disclosure of Mr Ho's interest in Hongkong Land could work in favour of the company's largest shareholder, Jardine Strategic, which holds a 32 per cent stake, and which is hoping to raise $420 million through a warrant issue early next month. 'If you start with the speculation that Hongkong Land is in play, you could see a rally in Jardine shares, which might make it possible for them to raise the $420 million,' an analyst said. 'We've got a way to go with the current share price,' he said. Yesterday Jardine Strategic closed up 4 per cent at $2.32.