Feuding Kwok family reach ‘amicable agreement’ over SHKP property empire

Former chairman 'happy and relieved' to step down from company after receiving share deal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 2:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 January, 2014, 5:12am

The Kwok family, which controls Hong Kong's second-biggest developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties, announced yesterday that it had reached "an amicable agreement regarding the treatment of the family's interests" that control the HK$260 billion real estate empire.

It ends a five-year family feud that was one of the biggest in recent corporate history.

Kwong Siu-hing, the 84-year-old matriarch who controls SHKP through a family trust, said Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, one of her three sons, and his family "have received the same entitlement to shares in SHKP as his brothers and their families", according to a statement released by the company.

"Walter Kwok has decided to pursue opportunities outside the company, and has resigned from his position as a non-executive director of the company," it said.

Kwok, who was removed as a beneficiary of the family trust by his mother in 2010, said he would start a new phase of his life and concentrate on his own business.

"The talk [about his share of the family's interest] has lasted for a while," he told the South China Morning Post yesterday. "I am happy to see this outcome which reaches a consensus among all parties. I feel happy and relieved.

"I had been chairman of SHKP for 18 years, since I took over from my late father [Kwok Tak-seng] in 1990. I became a non-executive director of the company in 2008. The changeover was satisfactory. And now I will leave SHKP. I am happy that I can hand over my job to the good management."

SHKP's board removed Kwok as chairman in May 2008 and demoted him to non-executive director. Asked to describe his relationship with his two younger brothers, Kwok said: "They are my good brothers."

Kwong transferred 337.6 million shares - or 12.64 per cent of the company, then worth HK$33.15 billion - through a trust last month to SHKP co-chairmen Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen and their families. Since then she has entered the open market 11 times to purchase another 24.23 million SHKP shares for more than HK$2 billion, raising her stake to 31.30 per cent as of last Friday.

"It is a piece of positive news as Walter Kwok will be completely left out of the property empire," said Bocom International analyst Alfred Lau.

SHKP shares surged to a high of HK$96.25 yesterday in response to the announcement before closing at HK$96.15, down 0.052 per cent from Monday.