Chong Hing Bank Ltd. (1111), the Hong Kong lender partly owned by the Liu family, rose to a two-year high in local trading after a report that shareholders will send a signal they’re ready to sell.
Shares of Chong Hing rose as much as 12 percent to the highest level since February 2011, and traded at HK$20.80, up 9.2 percent, at 10:49 a.m. That brings their gain this year to 28 percent, outperforming a 1.1 percent decline since December in the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index. (HSI) The Liu family may confirm its intention to sell Chong Hing, Apple Daily reported today, citing unidentified people.
Takeover speculation has mounted since November, when Lau Wai-man was named chief executive officer at Chong Hing to replace Liu Lit-chi, a member of the founding family who spent more than 50 years at the bank. Lau last month said Chong Hing is open to proposals from prospective buyers for all or part of the bank.
“We don’t have any information that needs to be disclosed for now,” Chong Hing said in an e-mailed reply to questions from Bloomberg News. “We are not aware of any specific reasons contributing to the share price movement today.”
The number of publicly traded family-run banks in Hong Kong has fallen to four from six more than a decade ago after the industry drew buyers including China Merchants Bank Co. (3968), which paid $4.7 billion in 2009 for the Wu family’s Wing Lung Bank Ltd. Bank of East Asia Ltd., Dah Sing Banking Group Ltd. (2356) and Wing Hang Bank Ltd. (302) are also owned by families.
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