MTR Corporation (0066) chairman Rex Auyeung Pak-kuen said the company will launch 16 property projects in the next six years, offering around 22,000 units, while also revealing the company was facing heavy financial pressures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
MTRC is still in discussions with the government about the proposed comprehensive residential and commercial development atop Siu Ho Wan Depot in Lantau Island, he said at the annual general meeting. The project is expected to provide around 14,000 private and public home units in the medium to long term.
The company has obtained the Consent Scheme for Phase 8 of Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O and plans to apply to the scheme for Phase 10 of Lohas Park and the project atop the Tai Wai Station, which are expected to offer a batch of small- and middle-sized units, said property director David Tang Chi-fai.
Auyeung said risks brought about by the global economic slowdown, rising unemployment rates and decreases in tourism have heavily impacted the company's financial condition and also predicted these negative impacts could last longer.
MTRC's passenger revenue and advertising revenue both slid amid the pandemic, while the company also needed to provide rent relief for commercial tenants at MTR stations, he said, adding that a weak economy may also impact the valuation of its investment properties.
When asked whether MTRC's dividend distribution would be impacted by the outbreak and social unrest, Auyeung said the board would maintain its current dividend policy, which depends on the company's business performance, capital expenditures, and financial conditions. The company declared a final dividend of 98 HK cents last year, totaling HK$1.23 per share for 2019.
Auyeung mentioned that the company has expended railway projects in China, Europe and Australia, and stressed that the financial situation was still stable.
Meanwhile, MTRC appointed Bunny Chan Chung-bun as an independent non-executive director (INED) of the board.
Chan has over 30 years of experience in the garment industry and is the founder and chairman of Prospectful Holdings. He is also an INED of Li Ning (2331), Great Harvest Maeta (3683), Speedy Global (0540) and Glorious Sun Enterprises (0393). Chan is currently a member of the Hong Kong delegation to the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China and the Council for Sustainable Development.