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Billionaire Li Ka-shing's CK Asset sells luxury Mid-Levels project to Singapore fund for US$2.6 billion in surprise deal amid market wobble

General view of 21 Borrett Road at Mid-Levels in Hong Kong (Photo: May Tse/SCMP)

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Hong Kong's richest tycoon Li Ka-shing is selling one of Asia's priciest residential projects in the city to a Singapore-based wealth manager, surprising the market with one of the biggest deals amid a slump in the economy.

Li's flagship property company CK Asset Holdings agreed to sell its project known as 21 Borrett Road at Mid-Levels for HK$20.8 billion (US$2.6 billion or $30 billion) to pocket a HK$6.3 billion profit, according to a stock exchange filing late on Wednesday. The transaction is expected to be completed by March 2025, it added.

The buyer, LC Vision Capital 1, is an offshore fund founded by Sino Suisse Capital, a closely held money manager run by Albert Liu, former head of high net-worth client management for China at UBS Asset Management.

The 21 Borrett Road luxury project comprises 152 residential units, 242 car parking spaces and 31 motorcycle parking spaces. CK Asset had earlier contracted to sell four residential units and eight car-parking spaces to third-party buyers.

Billionaire Li Ka-shing with his son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, seen during CK Asset's annual dinner in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, in January 2020. Photo: Dickson Lee 

The transaction with Sino Suisse covers 148 unsold units, each with one accompanying car-parking space, and an additional 86 car and 31 motorcycle parking spaces, according to the filing. The units were priced at HK$62,000 per square foot, while the excess car and motor parking spaces were pegged at HK$5 million and HK$300,000 each, respectively.

"It is a very good deal for CK Asset," said Joseph Tsang, chairman of JLL in Hong Kong. "Although on the surface the average price tag is below what it sold previously at the project, it is not an easy job to find one single buyer to take all the remaining units at one go in this market, which is at the beginning of a downside cycle."

Hong Kong's real estate market has been hit hard in recent years by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 and social unrest throughout 2019. The ultra luxury market, which is mainly supported by mainland Chinese buyers, has been in the doldrums under more than two years of border shutdown and travel restrictions.

"Even if the borders reopen, we are not sure whether the mainlanders' money will flow back into Hong Kong's luxury housing market," said Tsang. "So at this moment, it is definitely a right decision to seal a deal, when you can find a buyer to pay a reasonable price."

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