Henderson Land cuts rents by up to 60 per cent as HK issues SOS to support businesses, protect jobs

14-Feb-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Henderson Land Development, run by Hong Kong’s richest tycoon, is reducing rents for its tenants by as much as 60 per cent, joining its peers easing the strain on local businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The developer, which owns retail space in more than 20 shopping malls across the city including IFC Mall in Central, will lower base rents for retailers, caterers and education institutions in its locations by 20 per cent to 60 per cent this month, it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The group is particularly concerned about the our tenants, medium and small business owners in particular, and hope the relief measures would help them power through the tough period,” it said. The landlord will also allow education institutions, including tuition centres and kindergartens affected by class suspensions, to defer or settle payments in instalments, it added.

The decision follows in the footsteps of industry peers and some of the city’s largest financial institutions, who have rolled out relief measures to mitigate the impact on local businesses. government data this month may show more job losses as the viral outbreak led to a slump in retail sales and tourist arrivals amid border controls and quarantine measures.

Sun Hung Kai, NWD, LKF Group fulfil ‘social responsibilities’, cut rents in response to viral outbreak

Before Henderson’s move, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Lan Kwai Fong Group and New World Development announced rent cuts for their tenants late Wednesday in response to a Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po’s blog for the city’s biggest landlords to “fulfil their social responsibilities” to support businesses and prevent job losses.

Henderson Land is controlled by Lee Shau-kee, whose $30.4 billion fortune has exceeded the wealth of Li Ka-shing, according to Forbes Asia’s ranking.

Link Reit, Asia’s largest real estate investment trust, has continued to do marketing for its tenants but it has stepped up cleaning and sanitation and has arranged more people to control the flow of people on its sites, the company said on Tuesday.

Four in 10 Hong Kong hotel staff may lose jobs as coronavirus outbreak deters visitors

Hong Kong’s job market will be facing increasing pressure, Chan said in his blog on February 9. The latest unemployment figures to be released in mid-February will very likely to rise from 3.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, he said in his call for landlords to do their parts for the economy.

Hong Kong’s gross domestic products shrank 1.2 per cent in 2019, the first contraction in a decade, damaged by months of anti-government protests. Chan has warned that the economy could slip further into a recession this year amid the coronavirus outbreak as the city confirmed more than 50 cases of infection and one death.

In all, the disease has claimed at least 1,360 lives and infected more than 60,000 worldwide, mostly in mainland China. This has developed into the biggest health scare in decades, surpassing the tally during the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003.

Retail sector sales plunged 19.4 per cent year-on-year in December, the statistics department said on February 4, in addition to a 23.7 per cent drop in November. The business environment for retail trade has become even more difficult recently, with the threat of the coronavirus infection heavily weighing on inbound tourism and local consumption sentiment, an official said.



Category: Hong Kong

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