According to Bloomberg, Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing, is looking to make gold investments.
The Chinese born, Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist is considered to be the richest person in Asia and the richest person of Chinese descent in the world. Forbes estimates he is the 11th richest person in the world with a net worth of $27 billion in U.S. dollars. Two of his sons are believed to be billionaires in their own right.
His primary operating company is Hutchison Whampoa Limited, owner of the mobile phone network, Three.
CEF Holdings Ltd., a venture between Li Ka-shing’s flagship company and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, is looking to acquire gold assets after a slump in prices created buying opportunities.
“Long term, gold is a good place to be,” CEF Chief Executive Officer Warren Gilman, 53, said in an interview in Hong Kong.
Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd, controlled by Li, Asia’s richest man, and CIBC each own 50% of CEF. The venture is focused on owning gold mining companies globally.
Gilman previously co-founded Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s (CIBC) global mining group and was later vice chairman of the bank’s CIBC World Markets.
“I was a little uncomfortable making investment in gold at $1,700 and $1,800 an ounce,” Gilman said yesterday. “The correction we’ve had this year from my perspective is great because we can hopefully fulfill that objective of making some gold investments.”
Li, 85, has an estimated net worth of $27 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
CEF Holdings was established in 1974 by Cheung Kong and CIBC, Gilman said.
“It’s tougher and tougher to find economic gold deposits in safe jurisdictions,” Gilman said. “You see mine supply struggling to keep up with demand long term. That’s a great recipe for higher prices in the longer term.”
Ka Shing is known to have a penchant for hard assets and owns infrastructure, shipping, energy and real estate assets, but it is not known if he owns physical gold. Li Ka Shing charity foundation is called the “Heart of Gold” and has recently been extended from Mainland China to Hong Kong.
It is likely that he does, as most very wealthy people, especially in Asia, own some physical bullion for financial insurance purposes. Increasingly, high net worth individuals and family offices are investing in gold as means to protect wealth from currency devaluations.