Li Ka-shing – Planning for Succession

Sukanto Tanoto, ranked by Forbes magazine as one of Indonesia’s 10 richest men, heads both the RGE Group of companies and the wide-ranging Tanoto Foundation, which directs funding to education, social welfare, entrepreneurship training, and community infrastructure-building projects. Mr. Tanoto has opened up his business and his foundation to the next generation by placing his adult children into key roles within both organizations. This focus on strategic succession planning finds parallels in that of Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest individual and, like Mr. Tanoto, a self-made success story.

Li Ka-shing, whose net worth totals in excess of $33 billion, heads Hutchison Whampoa Limited. The conglomerate employs more than a quarter of a million people across more than 50 countries around the world. It serves as a major operator of ports in 26 nations and a leader in container terminal operations. HWL additionally owns and operates more than a dozen premier hotels and holds interests in a wide range of commercial and residential real estate portfolios. It also maintains extensive interests in the retail, energy, telecommunications, and infrastructure sectors.

At the beginning of 2015, Li Ka-shing announced a major corporate restructuring in his global network of companies. He plans to consolidate all non-property holdings into a new Hong Kong-listed company to be called CKH Holdings, while his property-related concerns will be combined into CK Property. Financial magazines publicized this and related restructuring moves as indicative of strategic succession planning. Meanwhile, HWL will be bought out by Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong division. Cheung Kong is additionally set to buy out more than 6 percent of Husky Energy, a major Canadian oil company; that purchase will increase Li Ka-shing’s interest in Husky to 40 percent. In addition to easing succession on behalf of his sons, Victor and Richard, this strategy of simplifying and consolidating the overall corporate structure appears to follow the best interests of investors.

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