Tycoon gifts $18b building to wife

Top News | Dominique Nguy 27 Jan 2017

Tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung has given his private property The One - a top commercial site in Tsim Sha Tsui worth about HK$18 billion - to his wife Kimbie Chan Hoi-wan and their children.

"It was a gift to her and our two children," said Lau.

"As my health has not been so good these past few years, I have to help them make preparations and prepare for the worst," he said in response to an inquiry from a newspaper.

"That's why I have recently given Ming-wai (Lau's son), Kimbie and our children assets worth more than HK$100 billion so that they have something to rely on."

Forbes Magazine ranks Lau, aged 65, as the fourth-richest person in Hong Kong with a net worth of US$15.1 billion or about HK$117 billion. Lau is the controlling shareholder of Chinese Estates.

Annual rental income of The One in 2013 was HK$352 million.

Kimbie Chan in response to an inquiry: "I would like to thank Mr Lau. Mr Lau and I will be staying in Hong Kong for the Lunar New Year. Mr Lau's health is very good and thank you for your care."

The One, opened in 2010, is a 23-story shopping mall at 100 Nathan Road.

Before The One was built, the site was home to a commercial property called Tung Ying Building built in 1965.

Chinese Estates acquired the property during the down-cycle in 2003 for $1.1 billion and invested $2.5 billion to rebuild the property into The One.

In December 2014, Chinese Estates sold The One to Lau in a deal worth $7.78 billion and said the firm intended to pay most the proceeds as a special dividend to shareholders.

In June 2015, Chinese Estates declared a special interim dividend of $2.6 per share and Lau, who held a 74.99 percent stake in the company then, received $3.72 billion. Thus Lau acquired The One for only about $4 billion.

Last month Chinese Estates sold a residential site at 12 Shiu Fai Terrace in Mid-Levels East to Chan for $1.05 billion and several retail properties at Lowu Commercial Plaza in Shenzhen to his son, Lau Ming-wai, for $500 million.

The sale was seen by some as Lau's plan to divide his personal wealth among family members.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that Lau has reserved $10 billion in cash, evenly split between Chan and Lau Ming-wai for legal purposes in case anyone wants to challenge Lau's will.

Last November Lau announced in newspapers that he had broken up with former girlfriend Yvonne Lui Lai-kwan in 2014.

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