Jun 22, 2016

    Li Ka-shing, Soros warn of Brexit impact


    LI KA-SHING, one of Asia's richest men, called on Britain to remain in the European Union (EU), warning a vote to leave would have a "detrimental" effect on the entire continent.

    With just a day to go before the historic ballot, Mr Li, who has vast investments in Britain, told Bloomberg TV there would be no winners.

    He said he would keep his business interests whatever the result.

    The interjection of Mr Li - dubbed Superman in Hong Kong because of his investment acumen that has built him a US$28 billion (S$38 billion) fortune - comes as opinion polls put the "Leave" and "Remain" camps tied ahead of the vote tomorrow.

    In the interview aired yesterday, he said: "If Brexit happens, it will be detrimental to the UK and it will have a negative impact to the whole of Europe."

    Global markets went into a tailspin last week after some polls suggested the country would leave the EU. But they have soared, along with the pound, since surveys over the weekend pointed to a vote for the status quo.

    The 87-year-old Mr Li

    is one of the biggest investors in Britain.

    His flagship CK Hutchison group generated almost US$3 billion of its total US$8 billion earnings - before interest and taxes - from Britain last year.

    His warnings were supported by billionaire speculator George Soros.

    Writing in The Guardian, Mr Soros - who made a billion pounds out of Britain's collapse from the Exchange Rate Mechanism 24 years ago - warned of a Black Friday.

    "Sterling is almost certain to fall steeply and quickly if 'Leave' wins the referendum.

    "I would expect this devaluation to be bigger and also more disruptive than the 15 per cent devaluation that occurred in September 1992."

    He warned Britain would be in a worse position this time as the Bank of England interest rates could not be cut much further, whereas they were at 10 per cent in 1992.