Boost for HKTV amid supplies scramble

Top News | Stella Zhai and Bloomberg 11 Feb 2020

Shares of Hong Kong Television Network surged on rising local demand for daily supplies, while Chinese hot-pot stocks suffered after members of the same family were confirmed to have the coronavirus.

HKTV's stocks rose 26.18 percent to HK$6.70 after recording increases in both daily orders and merchandise value last month.

Sales surged on both HKTV's online shopping platform and offline business, with the average daily order number rising 64.7 percent year-on-year, or 19.8 percent month-on-month to 22,400.

The monthly gross merchandise value on order intake also increased by 49.6 percent from a year ago to HK$338 million.

The market capitalization of HKTV has risen to about HK$5.5 billion, exceeding that of its former rival Television Broadcasts, which has a market value of HK$5.34 billion.

The company said the increase in business volume may be due to the growth momentum brought forward from last year and that people in Hong Kong want to avoid crowded locations at the moment.

Customers have switched their shopping needs and increased their purchase frequency to online platforms, including HKTVmall, it added.

The company expects the growth momentum to continue through February as it has accelerated in the first nine days of the month, and so has the operating conditions, compared to last month, based on the business activities so far, said the company.

HKTV said it will adopt certain measures to improve the experience of customers, who have had long loading times and difficulties in checking out when popular products like masks are launched.

HKTV chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay has bought a face-mask machine for US$200,000 (HK$1.56 million), as well as other materials that would be enough for producing a million masks, from a supplier in Taiwan.

Shares of CEC International, the owner of local groceries and snacks chain 759 Stores, also soared as much as 47.1 percent before paring the gain to 45.1 percent and closing at HK$0.74.

In other news, major mainland hot-pot restaurant operator Haidilao International fell 4.84 percent to HK$30.50 after nine of 19 people who had joined a family and shared a large dinner last month were infected with the virus.

Haidilao's peer, Xiabuxiabu Catering Management China, lost 7.05 percent. Yihai International, which makes seasonings and sauce products for hot pot, dropped 2.7 percent to HK$46.50.

The hot-pot sector was a strong spot for Hong Kong's struggling stock market in 2019. Yihai was one of the best-performing stocks on the Hang Seng Composite Index last year with a surge of 1.39 times, while Haidilao rose 82 percent.

Both are near 2019's closing levels while Xiabuxiabu has skidded 22 percent this year, making it one of the index's biggest decliners.

stella.zhai@singtaonewscorp.com

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