Li Ka-shing’s Two Biggest Companies Report Higher Earnings

Billionaire Li Ka-shing’s two biggest companies reported higher earnings during the first half, helped by gains from his telecommunications business in Europe and booming home sales in Hong Kong.

Flagship CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., whose businesses range from phone services to retail and utilities, reported on Thursday net income rose 7 percent to HK$15.9 billion ($2 billion) -- slightly below the average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. At Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd., underlying profit climbed 14 percent to HK$9.5 billion.

Read more: Gadfly column on Li Ka-shing

The results show Hong Kong’s richest man, whose wealth increased by $5.8 billion this year, benefiting from a pickup in the European economy and rising property sales at home. The tycoon said he’s "cautiously" optimistic about the future amid persisting geopolitical risks and renewed uncertainty on commodity prices.

Strength in the euro also bolstered profit gains at CK Hutchison’s telecom businesses in Italy and Austria. Three U.K. revenue rose 10 percent, and a slight drop in earnings was countered by gains in the pound. Overall, the 3 Group Europe telecom unit posted a 10 percent increase in first-half revenue, and a 33 percent earnings gain.

Li is expanding in the region, after the announcement last week that his companies agreed to buy German smart-meter company Ista International GmbH for $5.3 billion.

At the property unit, which plans to rename itself to CK Asset Holding Holdings Ltd. as it diversifies away from real estate, earnings were bolstered by “active” Hong Kong home sales, a stable Chinese housing market and the rising market value of Hong Kong prime office buildings, it said.

— With assistance by Daniela Wei, Emma Dong, Wai Yi Shawna Kwan, and Rebecca Penty

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