BUSINESS

Husky Energy's main shareholder, Li Ka-shing, announces overhaul of conglomerate

01/09/2015 01:18 EST | Updated 03/11/2015 05:59 EDT
HONG KONG - Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, who has been Asia's richest person for nearly two decades and the leading shareholder in Canada's Husky Energy Inc., announced Friday a reorganization of his sprawling conglomerate into two new listed companies.

Li and members of his family control Hong Kong-listed Cheung Kong and its affiliate Hutchison Whampoa which together control a roughly 70 per cent Calgary-based Husky (TSX:HSE).

Through a series of stock transactions, which are subject to various approvals, the Hong Kong-based conglomerate will be reborn as a company overseeing all of its real estate assets and a second company for non-property businesses, including the Husky shares.

The 86-year-old Li said in a statement that the reorganization was a "watershed" moment which will result in better returns for shareholders. Investors dislike the existing corporate structure because it lumps together diverse businesses, making them hard to value.

The announcement also foreshadows a change in leadership, with Li expected to eventually hand the reins to his eldest son Victor.

Li has a fortune of $33.5 billion, according to Forbes. He is nicknamed Superman in Hong Kong for his money making abilities. His businesses operate in more than 50 countries and employ 270,000 people.