Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing meets the media at Harbour Grand Hotel in Hung Hom, Hong Kong, May 9, 2018, his last working day at the chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)
Li Ka-shing, who once held the title of richest man in Asia, wrapped up his last working day on Thursday, formally stepping down as chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings at the annual shareholders’ meetings. The business veteran reiterated his confidence over a smooth leadership transition and great prospects for the group.
This year’s annual general meetings for CK Hutchison and CK Asset were at noon and 2:30 pm at the Harbour Grand Kowloon hotel, Hung Hom – one of Li’s properties.
I think I’ve done the best of what I can. I feel very grateful..
Li Ka-shing, Business magnate, Hong Kong
After his retirement, Li will serve as a senior adviser to CK Group. He reiterated his confidence in his elder son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, who will take over the reins.
IN PICTURES: The 'Superman' retires
Li Ka-shing cast a vote of confidence when he bought more than 14.64 million shares of CK Asset last month, topping the list of insider buybacks in value terms during the period, boosting his shareholding stake from 31.48 percent to 31.82 percent.
Prices for both CK Hutchison and CK Asset have dropped since January as a slew of geopolitical incidents and Sino-US trade friction have roiled global markets.
READ MORE: Li bows out with no-nonsense flair
Victor Li, first right, elder son of billionaire Li Ka-shing, is seen standing as his father speaks to the media at Harbour Grand Hotel in Hung Hom, Hong Kong, May 9, 2018. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)
Li told shareholders that the business is in very good shape. He assured them he would not sell his shares but would buy more. Li has not sold a single share of CK Group in the past 20 years.
Taking questions from shareholders over uncertainty created by trade friction between the United States and China, Li’s successor Victor Li said the trade tension so far has not affected the group’s acquisition activities overseas. However, should the situation deteriorate, CK Group could also not be spared the fallout. He definitely did not want to see a full-blown trade war.
In a meeting with the press after the annual general meetings, Li Ka-shing said he believed interest rates in Hong Kong would increase in step with those in the US. He advised potential homebuyers to stay clear of speculative purchases, and closely watch the rising risks in the rate-normalization environment.
A crowd of shareholders – many of whom are gray-haired nannies and grandpas – filled up the whole meeting room for the last annual shareholder meeting Li would attend as chairman of the CK group.
The elder Li said he was very grateful for shareholders’ longstanding support. The 90-year old lingered for a long time after the meeting to take photos with shareholders.
“For the past 46 years, no shareholders have ever filed a complaint against me,” Li told the press, pledging to strive for more dividend payouts in future.
After announcing his retirement when releasing CK Group’s annual results in March, Li said he would dedicate his time to the Li Ka-shing Foundation.
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