Li Ka-shing to overhaul vast corporate empire

Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing announced a sweeping reshuffle of his vast business empire Friday, combining assets from multiple sectors under two new listed companies and paving the way for his retirement.

Cheung Kong Holdings, in a statement filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange, said it will separate its property-related firms from Li's other global assets.

The current flagship company of Cheung Kong Holdings will be changed to CK Hutchison Holdings while all property related business will be controlled under a new firm called CK Property, which will be listed in the future.

Li's Hutchison Whampoa, which has been trading on the city's bourse since 1978 and controls his telecoms, utilities, ports and retail assets, will be delisted, a move seen to streamline Li's empire.

The lively 86-year-old said the company's restructure will also pave the way for the future, when asked whether he was making the changes to prepare to pass the company to his eldest son Victor.

"The tracks have been laid down, everyone has a goal, it's a good thing for the company's foundation," Li, who said he had no timetable for his retirement, told reporters Friday.

"I have worked for so many years, I will definitely retire someday," he said, adding that he would like to see the company's successor do well.

Li had been Asia's richest man since 2012, but was surpassed by China's Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma in December, Bloomberg News reported.

Li, who is worth $28.2 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, started out in business as a plastic flower-maker.