The rise in Macau casino stock values in 2016 has contributed to the growth in the fortunes of some of the sector’s best-known entrepreneurs, according to Forbes’ latest ‘Hong Kong’s 50 Richest People’ list, published this week.
Many of the people concerned hold their wealth largely via equity holdings in casino firms they founded or run.
Lui Che Woo (pictured), founder and chairman of casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, continues to be the richest gaming tycoon in the Hong Kong list. His net worth jumped 40 percent from an estimated US$8 billion in January 2016 to US$11.2 billion in January this year, Forbes said. Mr Lui climbed one position to 6th place on Forbes’ list.
Galaxy Entertainment saw its stock price increase 39.9 percent in 2016 from its value as of end-2015, according to Bloomberg data collated by GGRAsia.
A strong recovery by Macau’s casino sector in the last five months of 2016 helped push up share prices of the city’s casino operators by as much as 66 percent in year-on-year terms.
Pansy Ho Chiu King, co-chairperson of MGM China Holdings Ltd, has seen her personal fortune increase by an estimated 19.4 percent, to US$4.3 billion, according to Forbes. Ms Ho, a daughter of Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung Sun, went from 19th place in 2016 to 16th place in January 2017.
In 2016, Ms Ho sold 188.1 million shares in MGM China to the firm’s majority shareholder, U.S.-based casino operator MGM Resorts International. Ms Ho’s stake in MGM China has been reduced to 22.49 percent, while MGM Resorts’ stake increased to approximately 56 percent.
Ms Ho is currently Hong Kong’s second-wealthiest woman, according to Forbes. She is also managing director of Hong Kong-listed shipping and property conglomerate Shun Tak Holdings Ltd, which runs the TurboJet ferry operation serving routes between Hong Kong and Macau. The group also has significant real estate interests in Macau.
Angela Leong On Kei, fourth consort of Stanley Ho and an executive director of SJM Holdings Ltd, made one of the biggest jumps on the list. Ms Leong saw her net worth more than double to US$4 billion this year, from US$1.5 billion in January 2016, said Forbes. She went from 44th place to 18th position.
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, chairman and chief executive of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, saw his net worth decline by 8.9 percent year-on-year, to US$1.43 billion. Mr Ho, a son of Stanley Ho, saw his ranking among Hong Kong’s wealthiest people drop one position to 42nd, according to Forbes.
Melco Crown was the only Macau licensed casino operator that saw its stock price decline in full-year 2016. Its shares ended 2016’s final trading session priced at US$15.90, down by more than 5 percent in year-on-year terms.
The latest ‘Hong Kong’s 50 Richest People’ list by Forbes included other billionaires that, while owning diversified holdings, had a sizeable exposure to Macau’s casino sector.
Pollyanna Chu Yuet Wah, chief executive of Hong Kong-listed Kingston Financial Group Ltd, saw her net worth increase by 17 percent year-on-year to US$4.8 billion. She stood at 14th place in the overall list and became Hong Kong’s wealthiest woman, according to Forbes.
Financial services firm Kingston controls two Macau casino hotels – Casa Real on the peninsula and Grandview on Taipa. They offer gaming under the casino licence of SJM Holdings via a so-called service agreement.
Forbes says its annual list is compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and private databases. The net worth of the people on the list is based on share prices and currency rates as of January 6, it added.
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Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd