Billionaire philanthropist Eric Hotung has applauded his estranged sons for having the 'gumption' to face up to him in court, saying he would not rule out a family reconciliation. Despite the rancour of the legal proceedings, Mr Hotung, 78, said it was still possible he would bury his differences with his sons Anthony and Sean. 'Time is a great healer,' he told the South China Morning Post. 'Families are always having disputes and reconciliations, so why not?' But Mr Hotung indicated it was up to his sons to make the first move. He said he had 'no immediate plans' to contact them but added: 'My phone is open to anyone who calls me.' Speaking before yesterday's verdict, Mr Hotung said he only communicated with his sons through lawyers. Asked how he would describe relations within his family, he said: 'Everything is very normal. I am married to a lovely woman and a compassionate woman and we get on fine.' He gave his sons credit for fighting the court case, describing the experience as 'rather refreshing in a way' and saying: 'My kids felt they had a case - they showed some gumption.' Mr Hotung said he found the proceedings 'interesting and invigorating'. 'When you follow the legal arguments of brilliant barristers, it shows how the legal world works,' he said. 'There were some brilliant speeches given and I am glad [the decision] is in wise hands - wiser hands than mine.' The court case put Mr Hotung's family affairs firmly under the media spotlight but he said: 'I am not a stranger to attention ... There's not much that the world doesn't know about me. 'I don't agree with everything that was written about the case, I suppose, but it was interesting to see how the outside world views you.' The only uncomfortable part of the proceedings, Mr Hotung said, was when he was incapacitated because of a bad fall and had to have daily lunchtime rests in the Marriott hotel, where he was attended to by a doctor. 'My wife and I are going to travel for the great part of this year,' said Mr Hotung, who soon after the court case travelled to Beijing, where he was honoured at the Great Hall of the People for his contribution to Chinese cultural heritage. Mr Hotung said he might visit Sri Lanka, where with the help of a friend, British adventurer Colonel John Blashford-Snell, he arranged an emergency US$2 million airlift of 40 tonnes of aid soon after the December 26 tsunami. 'I was horrified at what took place,' he said. 'I would very much like to go to visit Sri Lanka. As the television pictures started coming out I realised the depth of the devastation and the desperation of those victims. We decided we would go in with something quickly rather than wait for the NGOs to get around to it.'