Henderson Land Development plans to spend HK$3 billion on land premiums next year, backed by the sale of HK$15 billion worth of residential projects. Chairman Lee Shau-kee says the HK$3 billion will be spent on sites which have a developable floor area of five million square feet. Some projects will be joint ventures. The HK$3 billion is a vast improvement on this year's premiums of 'within HK$1 billion'. Projects under negotiation included the 640,000 sq ft Sereno Verde phase two in Yuen Long, one in Ma On Shan of up to two million sq ft, a 500,000 sq ft development in Ng Uk Tsuen, Sheung Shui, a 350,000 sq ft Tai Kwok Tsui prospect, a 280,000 sq ft development in Tai Wai, Sha Tin, and a Cho Yuen Street, Yau Tong, plan of about 150,000 sq ft. On the sales front, Mr Lee said Henderson next year planned to release 7,000 residential units, or 4.87 million sq ft. This was substantially higher than the 2,960 residential units sold last year. So far this year, it had sold between 6,000 and 7,000 units. The offering includes Park Central phase one in Tseung Kwan O, the Tai Kok Tsui shipyard Redevelopment phase one, Sereno Verde phase one and projects at Tuen Mun Town Lot 161 and 374. 'Assuming an average selling price of HK$3,000 per square foot, the total amount of revenue would be HK$15 billion,' Mr Lee said, anticipating property prices improving by about 10 per cent by the end of next year as supply was taken up. The group had not implemented any major lay-offs or salary cuts this month. About 100 people had left due to early retirement or attrition. 'Lay-offs could happen in high-technology departments, but not in property-related departments,' Mr Lee said, adding that most group employees' salaries would be frozen next year. Vice-chairman Colin Lam Ko-yin said the group had already accepted a land premium of HK$200 million for converting an agricultural site in Lam Tei, Tuen Mun, into residential use. Given the total developable floor area of the project at about 850,000 sq ft, the premium represents an accommodation value of about HK$235 per square foot. Associate Hong Kong & China Gas would spend HK$2 billion on a residential redevelopment at a former gasworks site in To Kwa Wan, but it did not need to pay a land premium. The group did not bid in last week's Shenzhen land auction as Henderson China already had a land bank of 30 million sq ft in major mainland cities. Henderson China chairman Peter Lee Ka-kit said it planned to begin five mainland developments next year, including residential and commercial properties in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing with a combined gross floor area of more than a million sq ft. It was looking for mainland joint venture partners to cut costs and increase competitiveness.