Property players, Temasek suffer paper losses of $1.1b

PROPERTY tycoons and Temasek Holdings have taken the biggest battering from the Government’s introduction of measures designed to prevent future dramatic price swings in the residential property market.

The paper losses incurred by the eight biggest tycoons as a result of the raft of market-calming measures announced yesterday – City Developments’ (CDL) Mr Kwek Leng Beng included – amounted to nearly $700 million.

And Temasek Holdings suffered a total paper loss in share value of some $396 million, after the valuation of its stake in CapitaLand fell at a stroke by $267 million and that of Keppel Land by $129 million.

Together, the tycoons and Temasek Holdings had to brave a total paper loss of some $1.1 billion, as traders stampeded out of the market on news that the Government was going to stop allowing developers from absorbing interest payments on loans extended to buyers of flats that are still being built.

It is also barring interest-only mortgages for uncompleted housing projects, and is pushing for more sites to be sold.

Among the tycoons, Mr Kwek – whose family controls 49 per cent of giant developer CDL – saw the heftiest loss on paper.

With CDL plunging 84 cents or 7.6 per cent to $10.24, the paper loss worked out to $328 million.

His cousin, Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan, who owns 78 per cent of fellow developer Guocoland, was similarly hit. This stake shrank $138 million, after its share price fell 20 cents or 8.2 per cent to $2.24.

Among the local tycoons, the family of Mr Chua Thian Poh had about $76 million lopped off the value of its 65 per cent stake in mid-sized developer Ho Bee Investment when its stock fell 16 cents or 10.3 per cent to $1.39 yesterday.

The value of the 40 per cent stake in Wing Tai Holdings, belonging to brothers Edmund Cheng and Cheng Wai Keung, was down $43 million, after the counter slipped 14 cents or 7.4 per cent to $1.76.

Mr Simon Cheong – president of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) – lost $25.5 million in the paper value of his 54 per cent stake in his listed real estate firm SC Global after it lost 12 cents to $1.56.

Banker Wee Cho Yaw was down $25 million on paper with his 29 per cent stake in United Overseas Land falling 11 cents to $3.51.

Foreign tycoons such as Malaysian sugar king Robert Kuok, who owns 34 per cent of upmarket developer Allgreen Properties through Kerry Singapore, were also left reeling.

With Allgreen closing 10 cents or 7.9 per cent lower at $1.16, Mr Kuok had a paper loss of about $54 million on his stake.

Hong Kong tycoon Peter Woo saw a $45 million drop in the 75 per cent stake in luxurious condo developer Wheelock Properties, which is owned by his Hong Kong-listed Wheelock and Company.

Source : Straits Times – 15 Sep 2009

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