Articles: Double Stamp Duty

Webb on "Backchat" re the HK property market, rates and taxes
RTHK, 13-Dec-2018
Affluent Partners (1466) buys 12/F of Henan Building from Mr Chiu Ngai Hung
Company announcement, 23-Mar-2018
They are buying the BVI company that owns it, avoiding 8.5% Double Stamp Duty. However, the price of HK$70m is a 6.9% premium to the $65.5m valuation. No explanation is given for that premium.
Hong Kong's not-so-free economy
The US-based Heritage Foundation has, as always, ranked HK as the freest economy in the World. For once, the Government doesn't accuse foreign forces of interfering in HK's internal affairs. But this rosy view is not held by those who take the time to study the domestic economy. Here are a few things that Heritage may have overlooked. (4-Feb-2018)
Sale by CK Asset (1113) of floors in The Center avoids HK$3.4bn in stamp duty
Company announcement, 1-Nov-2017
They are selling the BVI company which owns the properties via various subsidiaries for $40.2bn. Double Stamp Duty at 8.5% would be payable if they were selling the properties directly. Contrary to media reports, the sale does not involve the whole building. Deals like this beg the question, what is the point of the Government's "Double Stamp Duty" except to penalise those who have not put their properties into companies? Incidentally, the Center is in Sheung Wan, not Central, just as Central Plaza is in Wan Chai.
Questions on Teamway (1239) and a bit of soccer
An HKEX decision last week led us to discover an inflated acquisition that looks like a cash extraction exercise, possibly to cover an earlier outlay of "earnest money". A sudden surge in profits of the acquired consultancy coincides with a Chinese takeover of troubled soccer team A.C. Milan, or Rossonori, which prints more red ink than black, and a deeply-subordinated loan to its Chairman. (22-Oct-2017)
Tai United (0718) sells 79/F of The Center for HK$738m
Company announcement, 21-Sep-2017
For completion on 28-Mar-2018. To avoid HK$62.7m in Double Stamp Duty at 8.5%, the transaction is structured as the transfer of the BVI company that owns the property, so no duty is payable.
Hanison (0896) may buy 21/F of Kings Wing Plaza, Shatin
Company announcement, 1-Jun-2017
The vendors and their owners are unnamed, but we can tell you that they are HKEI (1082), which owns 60%, and Finsoft (8018) which owns 40%. 2 weeks ago, Hanison signed MoUs to buy 20/F from Convoy (1019) and 22/F from Town Health (3886), so this completes the penthouse triplex. All 4 vendors are in what we call the "Enigma Network".
Hanison (0896) may buy 20/F, 22/F of Kings Wing Plaza, Shatin
Company announcement, 17-May-2017
The vendors are not identified, but we'll tell you that 20/F is owned by Convoy (1019) which bought it for HK$107.4m in Jan-2015, and 22/F (top floor) is owned by Town Health (3886) which acquired Faithful Sun Ltd in 2016. Both vendors are in what we call the "Enigma Network". The price is about HK$10k per gross sq ft, and quite sensibly, Hanison is buying companies which own the properties to legally avoid 8.5% double stamp duty. The 21/F in the sandwich is owned by Ultimate Elite Investments Ltd, which is 60% owned by HKEI (1082) and 40% by Finsoft (8018), two other members of the Enigma Network.
HKET (0423) buys Kodak House property from Leong Ka Chai
Company announcement, 31-Mar-2017
By buying Honley Ltd, which owns the property, the parties avoid 8.5% Double Stamp Duty on a property transfer and instead pay 0.2% on the share transfer.
Aurum Pacific (8148) buys 21/F, Henan Building from Mr Chiu Ngai Hung
Company announcement, 11-May-2016
They are buying the BVI company that owns the property, avoiding 8.5% Double Stamp Duty. However, the price is 12.5% above the independent valuation, and no explanation is given for that premium.
Evershine (8022) buys 15/F & 16/F of Henan Building from "an individual"
Company announcement, 24-Mar-2016
Evershine is buying 2 BVI companies which own the properties, avoiding 8.5% Double Stamp Duty. It fails to name the vendor, but our records show the companies are owned by Mr Chiu Ngai Hung.
Skyway Securities (1141) buys 2 Lincoln Road from Central Wealth Financial (0572) at HK$403mCWF announcement
Company announcement, 4-Mar-2016
Skyway is buying the BVI shell that owns the house via a HK subsidiary, avoiding 23.5% or $94.7m in Buyer's Stamp Duty (15%) and Double Stamp Duty (8.5%). CWF completed the purchase of the HK subsidiary on 30-Nov-2015. CWF reveals that the ultimate vendor then is a substantial shareholder of Skyway and an Executive Director of Skyway is sister of that person. So that person must be Lam Hoi Sze, brother of Lin Yuehe, Chairman of Skyway since 1-Mar-2016. CWF will become a 9.31% shareholder of Skyway.
China For You (0572) buys 19 Cumberland Road, Kowloon
Company announcement, 2-Feb-2016
CFY is actually buying a HK company for HK$117m, which owns the property with a mortgage of up to HK$117m. The property is valued at $240m. The vendor, Eternal Vantage Investment Ltd, is owned by a "merchant" whose name is not disclosed, but she is the niece of the vendor in another acquisition announced on 17-Aug-2015. Eternal Vantage obtained a loan facility of HK$200m from Skyway Securities (1141) on 19-Nov-2015. Transferring the company avoids 23.5% in Buyer's Stamp Duty and Double Stamp Duty on the house. Instead they pay 0.2% on the value of the shares.
Nuns in the property habit
The Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres will pay HK$390m for a vacant Kowloon residential site opposite their private hospital. The site changed hands in January for just $298m, and half of it was acquired in 2010-11 for $76.4m. We trace the history of the site. (20-Nov-2015)
AMCO United (0630) buys property from GET (8100)Circular
Company announcement, 6-Oct-2015
Actually it is buying a BVI company, Bonus First Group, which owns Unit 503, 5/F Wing On House, for HK$62m in cash, conditional on a placing of new shares via Gransing Securities to pay for it. BFG agreed to buy the property for $53.9m on 8-Aug-2015, but it must have paid HK$4.58m in Double Stamp Duty at 8.5%. This completed on 30-Sep-2015, 6 days before the sale of BFG. There will be no stamp duty on the transfer of the BVI company.
China For You (0572) buys 2 Lincoln Road at HK$400m gross
Company announcement, 17-Aug-2015
The property is valued at HK$400m but they are buying the HK company that owns it, Metro Victor, with bank debt of $190m, for HK$210m net, of which $80m is in cash and the rest is a 2% 2-year note. The corporate transfer saves 23.5% in Buyer's Stamp Duty (15%) and Double Stamp Duty (8.5%) that anyone but a permanent resident without a home would pay. Instead they will pay 0.2% on the HK shares, or HK$380k. Metro Victor was owned by Hang Fat Ginseng (0911) until 2-Apr-2012, before its IPO. The sale then valued the property at HK$237m.
G-Resources (1051) buys 17-19/F of Axa Centre from CSI Properties (0497) for HK$780m.
Company announcement, 11-Aug-2015
The deal includes 10 car park spaces. CSI arranged 3 BVI subsidiaries to agree to buy one floor each from another subsidiary more than 2 years ago, so there will be no stamp duty payable on their transfer, inside another BVI shell, to G-Resources, avoiding 8.5% or HK$66.3m of Double Stamp Duty.
Realord (1196) buys Cyberport house from co-founders of Moiselle (0130) for HK$225m
Company announcement, 10-Apr-2015
Actually it is buying the HK company which owns the property, so the stamp duty will be 0.2% rather than 15% Buyer's Stamp Duty and 8.5% Double Stamp Duty, a saving of 23.2%.
Qualipak (1332) sells 7/F, China United Centre, to Mission Capital (1141)MC announcement
Company announcement, 16-Feb-2015
Another transaction in the "Chung Nam Network". Of the HK$90m price, $79.9m is satisfied with 850m new shares in Mission Capital, or 11.70% as enlarged. MC at last disclosure is 9.19% owned by HEC Capital, 9.25% owned by Freeman Corp (both being network hubs) and 29.68% by Paul Suen Cho Hung. The transfer of the BVI property owner avoids $7.65m of double stamp duty.
Joseph Lau to buy property shell from Chinese Estates (0127), avoiding HK$669.8m Double Stamp Duty
Company announcement, 12-Dec-2014
The property is valued at HK$7.88bn, but he is buying the BVI company that owns it. This avoids 8.5% Double Stamp Duty, an interventionist Government tool which many can legally avoid, unless they need to buy bare property without a corporate wrapper.
ICube (0139) buys 15/F China United Centre in shell from Qualipak (1332)Qualipak announcement
Company announcement, 28-Nov-2014
Both companies are in what we call the "Chung Nam Network". By transferring the BVI shell they avoid HK$7.82m of Double Stamp Duty at 8.5%.
Kong Yunming v Director of Social Welfare
HK Court of Final Appeal, 17-Dec-2013
A landmark case on Articles 25, 36 and 145 of the Basic Law. As Justice Bokhary notes: "It will be noticed at once that these guarantees of equality are not confined to permanent residents. Article 25...speaks of all residents...". This ruling thus has implications for the proposed Buyer's Stamp Duty and Double Stamp Duty, which both discriminate against non-Permanent Residents. It adds support to our view that the proposed duties are unconstitutional.
Webb on 'Backchat" re the proposed stamp duties
RTHK, 29-Nov-2013
The proposed laws on Buyer's Stamp Duty, higher rate and longer period of Seller's Stamp Duty, and Double Stamp Duty are still in LegCo Bills Committees. The show discusses whether they should be withdrawn.
K C Chan is satisfied - are you?
The Minister says they have achieved their goal, whatever that is. Apparently freezing up the market is a Good Thing. 15% Buyer's Stamp Duty and 8.5% Double Stamp Duty are still not law and will not be payable if the law is not passed. We urge readers to write to the LegCo bills committees to demand that they veto the proposals. (28-Jun-2013)
Double Stamp Duty: Webb to speak at CanCham, Wednesday 3-Jul
Company media release, 26-Jun-2013
Seats are still available for a breakfast organised by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce next Wednesday, at which a panel of legislators, property experts and free-market advocates will lead a discussion of the Government's proposed doubling of stamp duty, which, like the 15% "Buyer's Stamp Duty" and the higher rate and duration of "Special Stamp Duty" has not yet become law. Hit the link to sign up.
Second submission to LegCo on DSD
This morning's session with public delegations, in which a junior civil servant was fielded, leaves a number of fundamental policy questions to be answered by the principal officials. Here they are. (13-Jun-2013)
Avoiding double stamp duty
A HK$1.6bn deal announced yesterday neatly demonstrates how the proposed Double Stamp Duty will drive higher-end transactions into the corporate transfer market, while freezing up the low end with prohibitive taxation. We'll be speaking against DSD in LegCo tomorrow. (12-Jun-2013)
Double stamp duty
We explain the fallacy in the proposed so-called "demand-side" measures announced on Friday. Higher transaction costs reduce volumes, not prices, and affect both buyers and sellers. We ask whether this is really worth trashing HK's reputation as a free and open economy and what this meddling is trying to achieve. (25-Feb-2013)
3 web sites closed in spam inquiry
New York Times, 12-Mar-2002
Court shuts down website selling bogus domain names ".USA," ".BRIT," deceptively marketed as useable
US Federal Trade Commission, 11-Mar-2002

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