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Guoco Group Halted in Hong Kong on Possible Privatization Plan

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Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Guoco Group Ltd., controlled by Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan, was halted from Hong Kong trading pending an announcement on a possible privatization plan, according to a filing to the city’s stock exchange.

Quek, 69, is executive chairman of the Hong Kong-based investment company, which is part owner of Malaysia-listed Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd. and Singapore’s Guocoland Ltd. Guoco has a 15 percent stake in Bank of East Asia Ltd., the biggest family-run bank in Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The shares, which started trading in Hong Kong in 1983, have declined 2.4 percent this year, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index has gained 18 percent. The stock fell 0.4 percent yesterday in Hong Kong to close at HK$70.50. The company reported a fiscal full-year net loss in August, compared with a profit in the previous 12 months.

Guoco reported a net loss of HK$1.29 billion for the year ended June 30, compared with net income of HK$4.16 billion for the previous 12 months as weaker financial markets trimmed profit from its property and financial units, according to its annual report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Tong in Hong Kong at stong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net