Li Ka-shing’s 2 biggest firms post higher earnings

HONG KONG • 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 yesterday net income rose 7% to HK$15.9 billion (RM8.56 billion) — slightly below the average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. At Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd, underlying profit climbed 14% to HK$9.5 billion.

The results show things are looking up for Hong Kong’s richest man, whose wealth increased by US$5.8 billion (RM24.83 billion) this year as the European economy picks up and property sales rise.

Still, the tycoon said he’s “cautiously” optimistic about the future amid persisting geopolitical risks and renewed uncertainty on commodity prices.

At CK Hutchison, Li benefitted from an economic recovery in Europe, a region that the billionaire is expanding into after the announcement last week that his companies agreed to buy German smart-meter company Ista International GmbH for US$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. — Bloomberg