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SHK Properties to cut February mall rents 30-50% due to virus

Hong Kong developer says size of discounts will depend on individual circumstances

SHK's New Town Plaza shopping mall in in Hong Kong: The property developer is giving its tenants a discount on rent for February.    © Reuters

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Sun Hung Kai Properties said on Wednesday the company will lower the basic rents for February paid by tenants in its Hong Kong shopping malls by 30% to 50% to help ease the impact on their businesses from the deadly coronavirus epidemic.

The company, Hong Kong's most valuable property developer that owns about 12 million sq. feet of retail space in the city across a diverse portfolio of shopping malls, said it will lower the rents based on the circumstances of individual tenants, it said in a statement.

"The group is particularly attentive to the catering sector that employs lots of front-line staff," it said, adding that it'll pay attention to how the epidemic progresses before responding with any other "appropriate measures."

SHK acknowledged the impact on its own business from the virus outbreak, saying property sales and occupancy at its hotels were affected to an extent, without disclosing more details.

The virus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan before rapidly spreading across the world, has thrown normal life in Hong Kong in disarray, shutting schools, transport links and various establishments. Nearly 45,000 people have been infected by the new coronavirus so far, while more than 1,100 people have died, according to mainland authorities.

Shares of SHK rose 1.2% in Hong Kong on Wednesday, while the city's benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 0.9%.

-- Benny Kung

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