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New World Development Chairman Cheng Yu-Tung. Photo: NWD

Translated by Andrew Vanburen from: 新世界發展: 暴风中的集資 (中文翻譯, 請閱讀下面)

CHENG YU-TUNG is a well-known figure in Hong Kong's high-flying property sector, and his moves -- typically textbook and conservative -- are closely followed by industry peers.

Born in 1925 in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, the Hong Kong billionaire has extensive property interests in both Hong Kong and neighboring Taiwan.

Hi wealth originally came from his Chow Tai Fook jewellery business and he has a good record of holding onto it -- and multiplying it.

Therefore, when his New World Development Co Ltd (NWD: HK: 17) and unit New World China Land Ltd (HK: 917) recently offered a two-for-one share financing deal to help raise cash, even as more and more EU nations teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, headlines were made.

The fund-raising strategy also comes not long after the group’s year-to-June results were released in which a shaky balance sheet was also exposed to public scrutiny.

Not including New World Department Store China Ltd (HK: 825) – which is also under the broad golf-esque umbrella of New World group – total net debt of Mr. Chen’s New World Development stood at 34.99 bln yuan, up 29.1% from a year earlier, while net debt of New World China shrank 2.7% to 8.46 bln.

NWS Holdings Ltd (HK: 659), a new creation of the New World group, shifted during the period from a net cash position to a net debt of 2.16 bln yuan.

On the surface, it appears quite clear that the reasons outlined above have prompted the group to reach out to shareholders at this time for fundraising.

However, upon closer inspection, a different story unfolds.

New World Development is armed with cash and deposits totaling over 24.09 bln yuan, a sum not only 2.09% higher than a year earlier, but significantly higher than the 6.63 bln yuan level witnessed in 2004 – just prior to its five-for-two stock swap carried out at the time.

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Mass Appeal: Cheng Yu-Tung, one of Hong Kong's best known property tycoons, is reaching out to shareholders in NWD's latest fundraising campaign. Photo: Guni Wudao

And over the past seven years, total net assets jumped 90.75% to 54.4 bln yuan as of the end of June 2011.

As can be seen from this trend, New World Development took advantage of the strong economic growth in Mainland China since 2004 to raise funds while the raising was good, an also managed to essentially double the size of their balance sheet into the bargain.

But it is also worth bearing in mind that the net worth of the Cheng family in 2004 stood at nearly 1.9 bln yuan.

And over the past seven eventful years, when the property sector was one of the top growth stories in the PRC – as well as 14 halves of dividend activity – this personal net worth had ballooned to over 3.58 bln yuan.

Concurrently, total issued shares over the period rose to the current pre-two-for-one offer level of 1.616 bln shares versus 1.219 bln seven year ago.

More importantly, Cheng’s pre-swap deal share holdings in 2004 in the company stood at 870 mln shares, a figure that has since been doubled.

According to the announcement at the time of the share offer in 2004, New World Development’s shares were priced at 8.7 yuan per. This would put Zheng’s personal assets held in the company at around 7.554 bln yuan.

Now this figure – prior to the latest two-for-one offer – stands at 11.993 bln yuan, when each share is valued at 7.42 yuan.

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Looking for a Boost: New World Development's recent share perfomance



On the surface, Cheng’s shareholding value in New World Development grew by some 4.44 bln yuan, which represents a better rate of return than the 23.85% earned by pure cash dividends over the period.

But we should not overlook the fact that if the costs of the share offers over the years are added in, Cheng paid some 1.025 bln yuan for the New World Development fundraising schemes.

In total, the Cheng dynasty poured between 4.6 bln to 5.1 bln yuan of its own money into the entire group to cover the costs of the share-swap fundraising activities.

Does this mean that these fundraising strategies and ones similar over the years will become (or already are) loss-leader positions meant to bring in more shareholders and boost land-bank accumulation capital?

Time will only tell.

But one thing is for sure.

With the volatile state of the PRC’s massive property sector, the propensity of the government to step in when the going gets rough, a slew of brokerages saying the high-flying sector is due for consolidation to weed out the infirm, as well as on-the-ground price declines for both residential and commercial real estate... the success (or failure) of Mr. Cheng’s latest fundraising campaign is worth following closely.

See also: 

TENFU: Tea For Two? Or Two Billion?

BAOFENG: Aiming To Crystallize New Orders With Swarovski 

 


新世界發展: 暴风中的集資

由香港知名商人鄭裕彤控股的新世界發展(017)及旗下的子公司新世界中國(917),最近分別提出二供一的供股集資計劃。

這在歐洲債務危機發生時,意義非比尋常。

新世界系兩間公司,均是於剛公布六月底止全年度業績後不久,即齊齊供股集資。若從新世界發展的業績報表顯示,該系除了旗下新世界百貨(825)屬於淨持現金外,包括該集團本身及新中的綜合淨負債,則達到349.92億及84.59億元,分別增加29.06%及減少2.72%。該系另一原本淨持現金的新創建(659),亦於期內變成淨負債21.61億元。表面上,這構成該系公司向股東伸手集資的基本理由。

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新世界發展在港經營多間酒店,灣仔君悅酒店便是該公司旗下一間較著名的酒店.  摄: 估你唔到

再進一步細看,新世界發展手持現金及存款多達240.93億元,不單較去年同期微增2.09%,亦比2004年度五供二集資前的66.3億元水平,大增逾2.6倍。資產淨值則由2004年供股前的544.05億元,大增至今年6月底時的1037.8億元,增幅亦達90.75%。這可以視為,新世界發展於2004年完成供股集資後,適逢經濟增長期,趁機將資產負債表倍增。

但是值得留意的是,鄭裕彤家族在2004年以約18.8億元,參與供股集資後,並無在之後近7年內,從股息分派中取回應佔的35.84億元,反而透過以股代息,將所持股數由2004年供股後約12.19億股,增加至最近供股前的16.16億股。這相比起鄭氏家族在2004年供股前所佔的8.7億股,股數已經倍增。

若以2004年宣布供股時的市價8.7元計,鄭氏家族應佔新世界的市值約75.54億元;到今次宣布供股時市價7.42元計,鄭家手上的新世界市值增至119.93億元。表面上,鄭家的股份增值44.39億元,比純收取現金股息再增值23.85%。但是實際上,若連同2004年鄭氏家族付出供股成本而言,實際上淨付出10.25億元。

如今鄭裕彤家族在今次供股中,還要出資約45.9億至51億元左右參與供股,即意味過去7年,該家族前後變相向新世界持續注資,豈非做了賠本生意?

不過該公司的財務總監及董事會成員向傳媒的說明,某程度說出原委。其一說明了,目前要從銀行尋求長期融資困難,並且需要付出相對高成本。假如要舉債融資,將會侵蝕利潤。供股所得,將會用於農地補地價及發展機會。邏輯上推論,即該公司很大機會預期樓市進入低迷時期,理論上補地價會因此向下,因此從股市取得資金補地價。

鄭裕彤的長孫,亦即該公司執行董事鄭志剛的說法,表明新世界發展有意再成為香港地產市場的主要參與者,亦在另一角度反映出,鄭家不甘於長期落後同業。但是在高息時期,唯有轉向家族及股東伸手。

鄭家新一代志向雖高,但是股東是否接受供股,這可以觀乎新世界發展的供股權首兩日已經有1.8億份轉手,佔公眾供股部份股數7.94億股中的22.7%,可見一班。供權轉手的比例較多,或反映出投資者對該系公司前景及管理層的意見及信心。從新世界發展的長線小投資者而言,由2004年至今收取現金股息才共2.53元,兩次供股均沽售供股權,每手1000股每股平均套現最多1元,總比參與兩次供股付出的財務成本少。

此外,在新世界系供股同時,鄭家打理數十年的私人公司周大福珠寶金行,竟亦尋求上市。同一家族多間上市公司在差不多時間集資多達數百億元,為全球股市少有。從另一角度看,企業要發展,在銀行及發債渠道尋求長期融資困難,轉向股市集資如今看起來,相對變得容易。這或對港股投資者而言,帶來重大啟示。

請閱讀:

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