Markets Don’t Heave With Retirement of Ho
Investors seemed unfazed by the announced retirement of Hong Kong casino magnate Stanley Ho, with shares of two of his major companies seeing little turbulence Monday.
The stock price of his flagship SJM Holdings Ltd. closed down 1.7% Monday to HK$7.09 (90 U.S. cents) on the Hang Seng Index, while those for Shun Tak Holdings Ltd. were flat at HK$3.19.
Ho is stepping down as chairman and executive director of SJM after a general meeting on June 12, according to a company filing released last week to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The announcement follows news that another legendary Hong Kong tycoon, Li Ka-shing, chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. and CK Asset Holdings Ltd., had retired in March.
Ho will stay on as chairman emeritus of SJM, leaving the reins to daughter Daisy Ho. His fourth wife, Angela Leong, and current board member Timothy Fok, will be appointed co-chairpersons and executive directors, it said.
The 96-year-old Ho “has justifiably been acknowledged as the founding father of Macau’s gaming industry, which has for some time been the largest in the world in terms of revenue,” the statement said.
Under his leadership, the company and its subsidiaries achieved significant growth in the past decade, and Ho built a solid foundation for the company’s continuing growth in the future, it added.
In June, he stepped down as chairman of conglomerate Shun Tak Holdings — whose businesses entail hospitality, property and shipping — and was succeeded by his daughter Pansy Ho.
Stanley Ho fled to Macau during World War II to escape the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, then reportedly made his fortune smuggling luxury goods into China from Macau. He secured the only gambling license in the then-Portuguese colony in 1962.
The billionaire monopolized the gambling sector until 2002, when Macau liberalized the industry and opened doors to companies like Las Vegas Sands Corp., Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and Wynn Resorts Ltd., propelling Macau into the world’s largest gambling hub.
Gambling revenue in Macau, the only Chinese territory in which gambling is legal, has begun to rebound after being dampened by Beijing’s crackdown on corruption in 2014.
Gambling receipts for the first quarter this year rose 20.5% to 76.5 billion patacas ($9.36 billion) from a year earlier, according to data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
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Stanley Ho: Major Milestones
1921 (Nov. 25): Stanley Ho Hung-sun is born in Hong Kong into the Ho Tung family, one of the city’s most venerable and powerful clans.
1942: During Japanese invasion, flees Hong Kong for Macau.
1943: Sets up a kerosene company, which allowed him to profit greatly from postwar construction boom in Hong Kong.
1961: Founds the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM) with partners Yip Hon, Teddy Yip, and Henry Fok. Together they bid for and win Macao’s first gambling license.
1960s: Builds global portfolio, investing in Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Canada, and the U.K.
1972: Sets up Shun Tak Holdings Ltd., which acquires numerous properties in Hong Kong and Macau. It also owns TurboJET, which operates high-speed ferry fleets and is primary provider of naval transport between the two special administrative regions.
1989: STDM acquires Macau Jockey Club, Ho becomes chairman.
1999: Opens HK$233 million ($29.7 million) casino in Pyongyang, North Korea.
2009: Undergoes brain surgery, after which he would need to use a wheelchair. During his recovery, his family feuds over his fortune, an affair which was highly publicized and ends in 2011 with a truce.
2017 (June): Steps down as chairman of Shun Tak Holdings, leaving reigns to daughter Pansy Ho.
2018 (June): Retires from SJM, with daughter Daisy Ho succeeding him.
Compiled by intern Michael Xin
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