Top 6 property tycoons lose $2.2b as shares dive

Updated: 2012-10-30 06:40

By Bloomberg (HK Edition)

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 Top 6 property tycoons lose $2.2b as shares dive

Construction work takes place at West Kowloon. The city's property tycoons' wealth has shrunk as government housing measures dragged down stocks. Jerome Favre / Bloomberg

The six richest property developers in Hong Kong lost a combined $2.2 billion in net worth on Monday as shares in their companies dived after the government imposed a property tax on overseas buyers.

The wealthiest man in Asia, Li Ka-shing, saw his net worth decline $748 million to $26.3 billion from Friday, as shares in Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd slid 4.7 percent at the end of trading in Hong Kong, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Henderson Land Development Co Chairman Lee Shau-kee dropped $462 million to $22.7 billion. New World Development Co founder Cheng Yu-tung slid $188 million to $17.3 billion.

The city ordered its third set of property curbs in two months after home prices almost doubled over three years to become the world's most expensive. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who vowed to halt a housing bubble when he ran for office this year, imposed the first property tax aimed at overseas investors, a 15 percent duty upon purchase, on Oct 26. A resale tax was raised by about 5 percentage points.

"It's time to sell" property stocks, Andrew Lawrence, Hong Kong-based analyst at Barclays Plc, wrote in an Oct 27 report. "The government has finally become serious about demand-side measures."

Other Hong Kong property magnates also suffered losses. Robert Kuok, who controls 55 percent of Kerry Properties, fell $202 million to $13.5 billion. Sun Hung Kai Properties co-chairmen Thomas and Raymond Kwok lost a combined $594 million to $15.8 billion. The brothers were charged with bribery in July by the city's Independent Commission Against Corruption. The Kwoks deny wrongdoing. A court hearing is scheduled for Jan 25.

The city's home prices are 65 percent higher than Tokyo's, the world's second-priciest place to buy a home, according to a study by Savills Plc published last month that compares prices in 10 global cities including New York and London.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world's wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 pm in New York. The valuations are listed in US dollars.

(HK Edition 10/30/2012 page2)