About a year ago brokerage KGI Asia recommended a ''trading buy' when the price of Shun Tak Holdings retreated to HK$1.50, with a target price of $1.80. On Friday the counter closed at $2.55. The recommendation was prompted by an announcement of a restructuring plan by Sun Tak, the flagship of Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun, under which Shun Tak would increase its stake in Mr Ho's privately controlled Macau casino group Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM) to 11.48 per cent. In return, Shun Tak would transfer a 28 per cent stake in Shun Tak-China Travel Shipping Investments to STDM. KGI said the transaction would enhance Shun Tak's net profit by HK$83 million and net asset value by $1.18 billion based on the 2001 full-year data. In July it was reported that STDM had spent about $500 million to raise its stake in Shun Tak to 13 per cent, sparking speculation it might inject its casino operation into the Hong Kong-listed company. The purchase increased STDM's stake in Shun Tak to 13.6 per cent from 0.5 per cent, increasing the Hong Kong firm's exposure to Mr Ho's Macau gaming business. In September Shun Tak's interim profit fell 56.98 per cent to $119.8 million as property sales dropped and the ferry services, mainly between Hong Kong and Macau, were adversely affected by the Sars outbreak. For the six months to June, operating profit from the property division plunged 63.9 per cent to $110.3 million while shipping and hospitality suffered a combined loss of $31.3 million.