Hang Lung Properties and its parent company, Hang Lung Group, this month jointly announced the appointment of Kenneth Chiu as chief financial officer-designate and executive director with both of the Hong Kong-listed corporations.
The hiring brought Chiu, formerly CFO of Gaw Capital Partners, onto a pair of boards dominated by billionaire chairman Ronnie Chan and his vice chair son, Adriel Chan, as of 6 October, with the financial veteran currently serving as CFO-designate at both Hang Lung Properties and Hang Lung Group.
Now 46, Chiu, who is succeeding Ho Hau Cheong as Hang Lung’s top money person, will formally ascend to the CFO role on 1 March 2022, as the company, which is known for its chain of mainland commercial projects anchored by Shanghai’s Plaza 66, hopes to navigate slumping commercial leasing rates in China and a dynamic local housing market in search of fresh returns.
Since Chiu’s appointment was announced last week, Hang Lung Properties stock has risen from a low of HK$17.30 per share on 6 October to close on Tuesday at HK$17.70 per share with a market capitalisation of HK$79.64 billion ($10.2 billion).
A graduate of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Chiu also holds a Master of Science degree in finance from the London Business School, and is qualified as a chartered accountant in Hong Kong, England and Wales.
With 23 years of industry experience, Chiu served as chief financial officer at Gaw Capital Partners from 2013 until leaving the company recently, with his role there focused on finance and treasury functions. Chiu was also head of private credit investment in Asia for Gaw, and a member of the firm’s credit and valuation committees.
Before his move to Gaw Capital, Chiu was director of investments at Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, overseeing its real estate related investments in the Greater China region from 2007 to 2013. His career path also included serving at Deutsche Bank AG in mergers and acquisitions advisory, and at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen in audit and assurance.
In his new role, Chiu will receive HK$8.5 million ($1 million) per annum, with a discretionary bonus based on his performance, and will be granted the option to subscribe for 2,000,000 shares in Hang Lung Properties. He will also receive director’s fees as determined by the board.
Hang Lung Hopes for Better Days
With Chiu taking over finances at Hang Lung, Ho is set to retire from the company at age 62 after 13 years with the two entities.
The executive switch at Hang Lung was announced less than one month after the firm said it was ready to begin construction on a former US government residential site on Hong Kong’s exclusive Shouson Hill.
The Hong Kong-listed developer had picked up the residential site for US consular staff last September for for HK$2.56 billion, only to see that project nearly derailed by US-China political tensions.
With portfolios in Hong Kong and on the mainland, the developer saw rental revenue in its mainland portfolio climb by 33 percent year-on-year in local currency for the six months that ended 30 June, or 45 percent year-on-year in Hong Kong dollars, given renminbi appreciation.
Hang Lung’s Hong Kong portfolio, however, is expected to see a slow recovery. As of 30 June, rental revenue for the developer’s home city was down 12 percent year-on-year, from HK$1.9 billion to HK$1.6 billion.