Sale bodes well for Wing On

Wing On Company Recommendation: Buy Brokerage: Schroders Securities WING On has announced it will sell its wholly-owned Wing On Central building to Chinachem for $1.1 billion. The 22-storey building, located in Central, has a site area of 6,009 square feet and a total gross floor area of 88,370 sq ft.

Priced at $1.1 billion, the property is valued at an average of $12,777 per sq ft, a good price for a 26-year-old building.

Due to its age, the building commands low rents and, as a result, this is a good opportunity for Wing On to realise a hefty capital gain.

Wing On will realise a capital gain of $997 million from the sale, substantially boosting its earnings in 1994.

HSBC Holdings Recommendation: Long Term Buy Brokerage: Schroders Securities HSBC'S subsidiary, Marine Midland, has announced final results slightly ahead of Schroders' expectation at about $1.3 billion.

This strong performance was largely due to favourable expansion in its funding spread, helped by write-backs.

This year, Marine is expected to expand its loan book with quality assets.

At $117, the stock is trading at 14.3 times 1993, and 12.8 times prospective 1994, earnings. While this is below the average for the Hong Kong market, these ratings are starting to look stretched in an international context.

Kowloon Motor Bus Recommendation: Sell Brokerage: Dao Heng Securities THE core business of Kowloon Motor Bus is the operation of franchised public buses in Kowloon and the New Territories. Its earnings are governed by a ''scheme of control'' which permits an annual return of 16 per cent on net fixed assets, with the excesses, or deficits, being transferred to, or from, a development fund.

The company has applied for a 19.6 per cent fare rise effective in April to compensate for escalating labour costs, which account for about 60 per cent of total operating costs.

In November last year the company agreed to dispose of two depots to Sun Hung Kai Properties, which holds 31.6 per cent of the company, for $1.22 billion and $505 million respectively. It is expected that KMB will continue to dispose of, or redevelop, its surplus depots.

But the share price of KMB has risen substantially and the company is trading at a high prospective 1994 price earnings ratio of 19.2 times.

Hong Kong and China Gas Recommendation: Hold Brokerage: Dao Heng Securities AMONG utitilites stocks, HK Gas is the only one not subject to a ''scheme of control''.

However, Towngas sales growth is expected to slow; this is reflected in a mere 6.6 per cent growth in unit terms for the first half of 1993.

Trading at a 17 per cent premium to the utilities sector in terms of 1994 earnings, HK Gas looks unlikely to outperform the sector.

Manhattan Card Recommendation: Buy Brokerage: Smith New Court HIGHER consumer spending, greater card utilisation and fat interest margins underpinned Manhattan Card's staggering 73 per cent increase in net profits last year.

Although interest margins will eventually be squeezed as rates move upwards, medium-term profitability will not be affected, given the wide rate spread.

CITIC Pacific's 20 per cent stake affords opportunities to increase the number of marketing and distribution outlets in Hong Kong and to exploit the long-term potential of the vast greater China market.

The stock is trading at a 18 per cent discount to the market, based on 1995 forecast earnings. It looks cheap.