Li Ka-shing

Rumoured HK$40 billion sale of The Center could make it Hong Kong’s most expensive building ever

Li Ka-shing’s flagship firm Ck Asset rumoured to be selling Hong Kong’s fifth-tallest building for US$5.15 billion, which would make its city’s most-expensive building ever

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 October, 2017, 1:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 October, 2017, 5:24pm

Shares in Li Ka-shing’s flagship property company CK Asset rose by the most in a month on Monday, after the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported it had sold the city’s fifth-tallest building, “The Center”, for a record HK$40.2 billion (US$5.15 billion).

If the deal does materialise, it will be the biggest property transaction in Hong Kong’s history ahead of the HK$23.28 billion sale of the Murray Road site in Central in May.

The stock rose as much as 3.2 per cent in early trading, the biggest intraday jump since September 8, to a three-week high of HK$66.90. It closed up 2.62 per cent to HK$66.50 on Monday .

CK Asset was unavailable for comment on Monday.

At 73 storeys, The Center is the tallest commercial building under the company’s portfolio.

It has 13,000 square feet of retail space, 402 car parking spaces, and was valued at HK$35 billion when it was offered for sale last year.

Cheung Kong puts The Center up for sale as Li Ka-shing trims Hong Kong assets

The building is believed to have attracted the interest of a handful of mainland companies but discussions slowed as Beijing tightened capital controls and it took further steps at regulating outbound investment by announcing new rules on August 18 restricting overseas investments in certain industries, including real estate and hotels, film and entertainment and sports franchises.

The Center is located on Queen’s Road Central in Central, roughly halfway between the Sheung Wan and Central MTR stations.

“Financing could be an issue under the current environment, even if CK Asset has secured a buyer,” said Thomas Lam, head of consultancy at international property consultant Knight Frank, adding that it would take a long time to complete the deal.

Last week, Hong Kong listed LVGEM (China) Real Estate Investment announced the HK$9 billion purchase of a building from Wharf Holdings in Kwun Tong, making it the biggest en bloc transaction in terms of lump sum so far this year.