The family of businessman Hu Fa-kuang is making a privatisation bid for its listed property flagship Ryoden Development. The offer at 80 HK cents values the company at HK$901 million and represents a 29 per cent discount to the net tangible asset value of HK$1.12 per share. Ryoden deputy chairman Raymond Hu Liang-ming said: 'The shares have been trading at a substantial discount to tangible asset value, with thin trading volume.' The plan underscores a trend in recent weeks of major shareholders in SAR-listed firms securing control of assets at what they apparently see as bargain prices. Justifying the move, Mr Hu said it was difficult for the company to sell new shares to raise money, making a continued listing of limited benefit. The Hu family already owns 74.85 per cent of Ryoden, meaning it needs to pay out about HK$226.6 million to buy the outstanding 25.15 per cent. Ryoden shares surged 48 per cent, or 25 HK cents, to close at 77 cents yesterday. The Hang Seng Index is 46.28 per cent below its March 2000 peak and has fallen 13.29 per cent since the start of the year, and major shareholders have moved quickly to extend control of listed firms trading at substantial discounts to net asset values. Last month, Hang Lung Group unveiled a deal to switch its Grand Hotel unit to subsidiary Hang Lung Properties and take Grand private. Hang Lung Properties will secure Grand's assets at a 25 per cent discount to net asset value. The SAR's best-known tycoon, Li Ka-shing, renowned for astute market timing, last month aggressively bought shares in his flagship Cheung Kong (Holdings) following better-than-expected interim results. He spent HK$114.24 million buying two million shares at an average price of HK$57.25. Another company recently on the buyback trail is SCMP Group, the publisher of the South China Morning Post. On September 3 it announced a HK$624.38 million offer to repurchase up to 10 per cent of its shares from minority holders at HK$3.60, a 5.1 per cent premium to the pre-announcement price. On Tuesday, Chinese Estates Holdings jumped on the bandwagon with a HK$189.9 million buy-back proposal. It intends to buy back up to 211 million shares, or 8.9 per cent of total issued share capital, at 90 HK cents each.