HK builders slash debt, raise cash to buy more land

Developers expect further price falls as government releases more sites for sale

Published Thu, Sep 18, 2014 · 04:00 PM
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[HONG KONG] Billionaires including Li Ka-shing and Robert Ng have cut debt at their Hong Kong developers to near-record lows in preparation to buy land as prices fall, a signal the city's real estate gains may be coming to an end.

Cheung Kong Holdings brought its net debt-to-equity ratio down to 1.3 per cent as at June 30, the lowest since at least 1991, while Henderson Land Development's is at the lowest since 2007, according to Bloomberg data.

Sino Land has HK$29.7 billion (S$4.86 billion) available for land acquisitions after boosting its net cash position, reports BNP Paribas.

Developers, whose debt levels are now at their lowest in two decades, are on track to sell a record HK$150 billion of new homes this year, reducing inventories and boosting cash reserves to help replenish land holdings after average prices fell 34 per cent from last year. Prices may extend declines as Hong Kong's…

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