Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing is restructuring his empire and shifting his base to the Cayman Islands and away from the Chinese special administrative region.
His January 9 announcement came the same day that Forbes ranked him as Hong Kong’s richest man for the 17th consecutive year, with a total wealth of US$33.5 billion.
Li is best known in Vancouver for buying an 82.5-hectare parcel of land around False Creek for $328 million in 1988 along with partners, who included fellow Hong Kong tycoons, Lee Shau Kee and Cheng Yu Tung.
The group formed Concord Pacific, which redeveloped the site that had been home to Vancouver’s 1986 world’s fair, Expo ’86.
Li cashed out of Concord Pacific in the late 1990s and, in 2007, invested in Deltaport through his Hutchison Port Holdings.
Li’s biggest Canadian holding is his controlling stake in Husky Energy.
He was the largest single shareholder at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) until he sold his stake in 2005.
Li’s reorganization includes combining all non-property assets of his Cheung Kong (Holdings) and its subsidiary Hutchison Whampoa. This would create a new company, CK Hutchison Holdings, which Li wants to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE).
Li would then combine his property assets and create another new company, Cheung Kong Property Holdings, which would also be listed on the HKSE and be one of the largest property companies listed on that exchange, according to the South China Morning Post.
Both new companies would be incorporated in the Cayman Islands, where corporate laws are believed to be looser than in Hong Kong.
That paper cited a 70-page announcement that was filed with the HKSE as saying that the move aims to create shareholder value by enabling all of the group’s assets to be fully reflected and by chopping the “layered holding structure” between Cheung Kong and Hutchison.