Hong Kong

Shares of around 50 Hong Kong-listed companies were suspended from trading on Thursday, according to stock exchange filings, with many firms citing delays in publishing their annual results as the reason for the move, Reuters reported. Most of the companies involved are small-cap names, however, they also included some larger firms including embattled bad debt manager China Huarong Asset Management and solar energy firm GCL-Poly Energy.
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As Hong Kong residents move overseas to escape China's political crackdown, real estate companies see new opportunities in areas such as assisting with visa applications and brokering property transactions, Nikkei Asia reported. Interest in leaving Hong Kong is the highest since the lead-up to the former British colony's 1997 return to China, said Andrew Lo, a local emigration consultant who has worked in the industry for over three decades. "This is the biggest emigration boom in Hong Kong's history," he said.
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UA Cinemas, one of Hong Kong’s biggest movie-theater chains, abruptly shut down operations in the city, citing the pressure that the pandemic had on its business, Bloomberg News reported. It will cease operations in Hong Kong with immediate effect on March 8 and court proceedings to wind up the business have begun, the company said on its website on Monday. The demise turns Hong Kong’s third-largest cinema chain into one of the city’s most high-profile casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged businesses worldwide.
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Shares of Evergrande Property Services fell marginally on their Hong Kong debut on Wednesday, shedding initial gains as the spinoff of China’s second-largest property developer struggled to shake off worries about debt and competition, Reuters reported. Concerns about the financial health of its parent, China Evergrande Group, have clouded Hong Kong’s third-largest listing of the year, with China’s most indebted developer planning to use half the $1.8 billion raised for its own debt repayment.

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Premier Oil’s biggest lender, hedge fund Asia Research and Capital Management (ARCM), plans to auction $200 million of the energy producer’s debt ahead of a $530 million equity raise by the company, three sources told Reuters, Reuters reported. ARCM, which holds more than 15% of Premier’s debt instruments, would retain about $240 million of the company’s debt if the auction succeeds. The bid deadline is set for Friday, one of the sources said.

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One of Southeast Asia’s biggest conglomerates faces its gravest challenge yet as the pandemic roils Genting group’s collection of casinos, cruises and resorts, Bloomberg News reported. Cracks were already starting to show even before cruise operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd. said it would suspend payments to creditors. This week, the group holding company and a Malaysian unit could show some of their worst declines to earnings as second-quarter results are due.

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The Hong Kong-based cruise operator that spooked creditors this week by suspending all payments is still sailing a fully booked ship despite the crippling pandemic, in what may be one bright spot for the beleaguered firm seeking to revamp debt and raise fresh capital, Bloomberg News reported. About a month ago, Genting Hong Kong Ltd. restarted two- and three-day excursions around Taiwan, exclusively for residents of the island that’s seen success in containing the coronavirus outbreak.

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Genting Hong Kong, one of the territory’s leading cruise ship operators, has halted payments on debts of almost $3.4bn in the latest financial blow for an industry that has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, the Financial Times reported. The company, controlled by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay, said on Wednesday evening that it would “temporarily suspend all payments to the group’s financial creditors” and seek to restructure its debt.

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Swire Pacific: Hong Out to Dry

Pick five of the worst affected businesses by the pandemic, then put them in a portfolio. That neatly sums up the storied Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific. The businesses of the two-century-old British-controlled hong, including airlines, commercial real estate, hotels and marine services, have suffered, the Financial Times reported in a commentary. Once one of the largest constituents in the Hang Seng index, today it is the smallest. Swire — Taikoo in Cantonese — reported a net loss of HK$7.7bn ($1bn), its first half-yearly loss in more than a decade.

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Wigan Athletic’s former owner has said projected losses forced him to sell the club to the Hong Kong businessman who plunged it into administration just weeks after completing the purchase, the Financial Times reported. It is the first time Stanley Choi, who controls International Entertainment Corporation, a Hong Kong-listed hotel and casino operator, has spoken about his role in the sale process that preceded the club’s collapse, which has provoked fierce scrutiny of foreign ownership of English clubs.

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