Hong Kong’s biggest telecoms firm HKT sees shares fall most in 12 weeks as managing director retires
Shares in HKT posted their biggest intraday drop in 12 weeks on Tuesday after Hong Kong’s largest telecommunications services company announced that Alexander Arena will retire as managing director, executive director and trustee-manager with effect from the end of August.
Susanna Hui Hon-hing, 53, will replace Arena as managing director, and will step down from her current role as chief financial officer from September 1. Hui has also been an executive director and trustee manager since the group listed in November 2011.
Evan Wong Hong-kit, 46, will be promoted to chief financial officer and trustee manager from his current role as the director of group finance.
Arena, aged 67, has been with the senior management team for 20 years. Having reached retirement age, he has decided to leave the company in order to pursue his other personal interests, according to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
“Under his leadership, HKT has gone from strength to strength. The company is in great shape and Alex has created a platform for sustained growth in the years ahead,” said chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai in the statement.
Li is the younger son of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing, who retired as chairman of CK Hutchison in May.
HKT’s shares fell by as much as 3.1 per cent to HK$10.10 in morning trade, their biggest drop since May 14, before paring back to HK$10.38 at the close, down 0.38 per cent from Monday. The decline bucked the trend of the broader benchmark Hang Seng Index, which gained 1.54 per cent, or 429.32 points, to finish Tuesday at 28,248.88.
The company’s average dividend yield over the years has reached 5.94 per cent, and the rate of return is 23 per cent.
HKT is aiming for a customer turnover rate of less than 1 per cent this year, compared to last year’s 1.1 per cent, according to local media reports citing Arena yesterday. He was not worried about a drop in average revenue per user of HK$3 to HK$195 in the first half of the year, which could be boosted by the launch of a “mobile phone bundling plan.”
HKT is one of about 50 companies that have applied for a virtual banking license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, an important step for the firm’s future development, he said.