Has KS Li suddenly started offering bargains?

The South China Morning Post reports that people who paid HK$40 billion for Hong Kong’s fifth-tallest office tower, The Center, think they got a bargain. Brokers who agree are suddenly oozing around, drooling at the prospect of the new owners flipping their acquisition at a 50% profit. The logic is that the buyers paid HK$33,000 per square foot, while Henderson Land stumped up the equivalent of HK$50,000 psf for a roughly comparable downtown site. The earlier deal set a ‘benchmark’ – so, obviously, the HK$33,000 valuation is a massive giveaway.

The SCMP says the purchaser is a consortium with the sleazy name C.H.M.T Peaceful Development Asia Property. The main member is Beijing energy company CERCG (charming website), whose executive explains: “We just bought the building, but we haven’t really thought through the details.” Others are Hong Kong business folk David Chan of the magnetic tape Acme Group, and Lo Man-tuen, member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

They sound rather non-obvious buyers of prime office property, but that’s normal in these times. (Everyone’s doing it: I know a couple of low-profile people who fairly casually bought a floor of a Des Voeux Road block a few months ago for HK$150 million.)

But something nags at me. Why would venerable tycoon Li Ka-shing sell at such a discount? His bean-counters might fine-tune the occasional loss-leader special on bananas at Park N Shop, but we’re talking one or two billion US dollars here. Maybe he’s getting soft in the head at his old age. Or maybe he’s thinking: these are ultimately a bunch of concrete boxes, and these latecomers imagine a HK$50,000 psf ‘benchmark’ is real and immovable – the time has come to reap the very handsome returns and cash out.

I declare the weekend open with the (alleged) story that when Cheung Kong Centre was about to be built, Bank of China told Li not to make it higher than their own new tower going up next door – so he ordered the architects to bulk out the structure to the max (hence ‘the box the BoC came in’) and (gotta love this) lower all the ceilings by enough millimetres to jam an extra floor in.

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6 Responses to Has KS Li suddenly started offering bargains?

  1. Goat Boy says:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-communist-party-has-ties-to-5-15-billion-hong-kong-property-deal-1509610848
    It was the CCP wot bought it, according to the WSJ. They want to put a logo on it….

  2. Knownot says:

    For the weekend

    The National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China
    ‘The March of the Volunteers’

    Arise all who refuse to be slaves.
    Let our flesh and blood become our new Great Wall.
    As the Chinese nation faces its greatest danger
    The urgent call for action comes to everyone.
    Arise! Arise! Arise!
    Our million hearts beat as one.
    Brave the enemy’s fire.
    March on!

    – – – –

    Arise all those who say:
    I will not be a slave;
    And with our blood and flesh
    Become a new Great Wall.
    In the darkest hours
    When danger might befall
    Let everyone come forth
    Ready, loyal, and brave.

    A billion beating hearts,
    A billion battle cries,
    Uniting in one voice
    Scorn the enemy guns.
    Stronger still and proud,
    China’s valiant sons
    Heed the call: March on!
    Arise! Arise! Arise!

    – – – –

    I saw the words and thought
    I could satirise,
    Muck about with it.
    That is what I planned.
    Instead I paraphrased
    In words that rhymed and scanned.
    I don’t know why I did it.
    I apologise.

  3. LRE says:

    The National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR Edition™

    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo

    —-

    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo

    —-

    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo
    Boo

    —-

    Easiest anthem to remember ever.

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    LKS’s little bit “for love of country”

  5. Bozworth says:

    My recollection is the Cheung Kong building went up many years after the BOC tower. Maybe “alleged” should be “fanciful”?

  6. Real Fax Paper says:

    They definitely skimped on the vertical space to cram more floors in. Unlike most buildings, all the aircon vents are in the floor. Supposedly this saves some space, although I’ve never quite understood how, exactly. It must be cheaper in some way, or Li would never have done it. The practical upshot though is that your feet are forever freezing while your upper body sweats in an airless fug. And great spouts of dust and debris periodically erupt from the floor-vents, which are perfectly placed as receptacles for every bit of dirt and sandwich crumb ever dropped on the floor. It’s mingin’.

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