Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Billionaire Pan's Goldin Properties Soars After China Deal

  • Pan says he is looking for real estate in Hong Kong's Central
  • Goldin Properties raised $2.8 billion selling some assets

Billionaire Pan Sutong’s Goldin Properties Holdings Ltd. surged the most since 2007 in Hong Kong trading after the company raised $2.8 billion selling commercial properties.

The shares soared as much as 65 percent and closed before the holidays 54 percent higher at HK$11.98. Goldin Properties said Wednesday it sold one-fourth of its flagship commercial project in the Chinese city of Tianjin for 18 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) to a company owned by Pan and an unidentified, independent firm. Pan said the developer will use part of the proceeds to repay its existing debt, leaving room for more investment.

The billionaire said he’s looking to buy commercial properties in Hong Kong’s Central business district, undeterred by signs of a slowdown in the city’s economy. Office rents in Central are expected to rise 15 percent next year, according to BNP Paribas Securities, as demand from Chinese companies continues to increase. That is even as the slowest expansion in China’s economy in 25 years weighs on Hong Kong.

"For Central, the supply is always limited," Pan said in an interview in Goldin’s office at the International Finance Center in Central. "If there’s any property available in Central today, I would definitely go and bid."

Chinese Buyers

Hong Kong, which boasts among the most expensive office rents in the world, has become a sought-after destination for Chinese companies seeking to boost their global brands. Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. and China Life Insurance Co. bought office blocks in separate transactions worth a combined HK$18.35 billion ($2.4 billion) in mid-November, breaking previous records.

“I love Central a lot; now I have cash so I can think about it," Pan said. “When the market and the economy are turning sour, that’s a good time to buy. Even as the Fed raises interest rate three or four times next year, interest rates are still cheap."

Pan is estimated to have a net wealth of $10.8 billion, the richest man in Hong Kong after Li Ka-shing and Lee Shau-kee, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He decided against making a general offer to buy all the shares of Goldin Properties, according to a statement last week. Pan, who owns about 64 percent of the developer,
first notified the Hong Kong stock exchange he was considering taking it private in March.

Goldin Properties shares were halted Dec. 8 following a 30 percent increase in the price.

The shares have been on a roller coaster ride in the past 10 months, causing Pan’s fortune to swing by billions of dollars in a day. Pan reiterated he doesn’t care about the share price fluctuations because those are just numbers.

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