Chuang's raises funds for London Plaza

Kenneth Ko

CHUANG'S Consortium International will use proceeds from the sale of Chuang's Finance Centre to finance the $1 billion purchase of London Plaza in Kowloon.

Bernard Ko, managing director of the company's parent Uniworld Holdings, said the net proceeds of the $430 million sale of Chuang's Finance Centre would be about $380 million.

For the acquisition of London Plaza, about $500 million would be funded by bank borrowings, and a further $120 million would be pumped in from internal resources.

He said the sale of Chuang's Finance Centre and the purchase of London Plaza reflected the company's strategy shift from low-yield properties to higher-yield assets.

Mr Ko said that following the sale and acquisition, the company's net debt would be less than $500 million, compared with shareholders' equity funds of up to $3.5 billion.

He said the group felt ''comfortable'' with its debt exposure.


According to Mr Ko, the group intends to develop a balanced portfolio between development and investment properties to enhance its recurrent income base.

But he said it would consider selling existing projects designated for investment purposes if attractive offers were made.

Chuang's, which is 63 per cent owned by Uniworld, is developing Chuang's Enterprises Building in Wan Chai and Chuang's Hunghom Plaza in Hunghom, initially for rental purposes.

Mr Ko said the company's rental income was increasing, and he expects annual rental income to increase to $113 million this year.


He said the group's property portfolio in Hong Kong had been revalued at $2.6 billion as at December 31, representing an increase in value of $941 million.

He estimated its net asset value at more than $3.50 per share.