HONG KONG — Shares of Lifestyle International and Lifestyle China, which operate department stores across greater China surged on Wednesday, following the announcement that the Qatar Investment Authority is seeking $662 million to offload its stake.
The Hong Kong-listed Lifestyle International, which owns the Sogo chain, rose 3.69 percent in Wednesday morning trading while its spinoff Lifestyle China, which has a portfolio of department stores under the name Jiuguang in mainland China, leapt 17.34 percent. That compared with a 1.1 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.
The Qatari sovereign fund first took a stake in Lifestyle International in 2014, a time when the firm’s mainland China retail business had not yet spun off into a separate entity, becoming Lifestyle China.
Trading was halted for both stocks for the announcement, which posted that Bellshill Investment Co., a unit of QIA, was seeking to offload 371,122,958 ordinary shares or about 23.16 percent of the issued share capital of the company at 12 Hong Kong dollars per share.
Ceo and chairman Thomas Lau has agreed to purchase 280 million shares of Lifestyle International shares and 186 million of Lifestyle China shares, in addition to any additional shares not bought by the market.
For the year ended Dec. 31, Lifestyle International’s turnover rose 4.9 percent year-over-year to 4.89 billion Hong Kong dollars, growing in tandem with the broader market, while profit grew 79.6 percent to 2.87 billion Hong Kong dollars on the re-evaluation of investment properties.
In mainland China, it was a softer market. Lifestyle China’s business fell 3 percent year-over-year to 269.6 million renminbi although its top line improved 8 percent to 1.22 billion renminbi. Its two department stores — Shanghai Jiuguang and Suzhou Jiuguang — accounted for 92 percent of the business while its Dalian and Shenyang stores remained closed.
Bloomberg reported that the Qatar fund, which is also a shareholder in Tiffany & Co., is considering selling more assets and refocusing its efforts into its domestic market, quoting sources.