Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.’s biggest shareholder, Kwong Siu-hing, transferred part of her holdings in the Hong Kong developer to sons and co-chairmen Thomas and Raymond Kwok, according to the family trust.
Kwong, widow of Sun Hung Kai founder Kwok Tak-seng, gave 6.36 percent of the company’s shares each to the family trusts of Thomas and Raymond Kwok, she said yesterday in a statement.
The share transfer comes as the two brothers prepare to face trial in May for allegedly providing bribes to the city’s former No. 2 government official. Adam and Edward Kwok, sons of Thomas and Raymond, were appointed alternate directors of the city’s second-biggest developer by value last year following the arrest of their fathers.
Kwong was holding a 43.43 percent stake in Sun Hung Kai through the family trust for Thomas, Raymond and their families, as well as for the family of her eldest son Walter Kwok. Walter was removed as a beneficiary in 2010 following a dispute. Each of the families were to get a third of that stake.
After the Nov. 29 transfer, Kwong’s holding in Sun Hung Kai fell to 30.79 percent, according to filings to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The interests of Walter’s family weren’t affected by the transfer, according to the family trust, indicating that his family will continue to have an interest equivalent to a third of the original stake.
The transfer increased the net worth of Thomas and Raymond to $10 billion each, from $8.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The stock is down 16 percent this year, compared with the 7.2 percent decline in the Hang Seng Property Index, and a 4.4 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong.
The brothers and two other men are charged with conspiring to provide payments, loans and free use of apartments totaling more than HK$35 million ($4.5 million) to Rafael Hui, according to court documents. They were first arrested in March last year. The brothers have denied any wrongdoing.
Sun Hung Kai has been run by Thomas and Raymond since the ouster as chairman in 2008 of Walter Kwok.
The company in September set lower sales target for this year as measures by the Hong Kong government to curb an asset bubble slowed transactions. It’s seeking to sell HK$28 billion of homes in Hong Kong and China through June 2014, down from HK$32.9 billion a year earlier.
Barclays Plc in October joined UBS AG and Bank of America Corp. in forecasting a Hong Kong property slump, predicting home prices will fall at least 30 percent by the end of 2015 as income growth stalls and supply increases.