Tencent delivers early hongbao, awards 100 shares to some employees for efforts during Covid-19 pandemic

Peggy Sito
·3-min read

Tencent Holdings, whose market value has surged 131 per cent from a low in March last year, has gifted some of its employees 100 shares each as a reward for their efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Shenzhen-based online gaming group and owner of WeChat announced the offer, called “Together Award”, to eligible employees, according to a spokesperson. They are vested ownership and come with a 12-month lock-up period. The 100 shares are worth HK$73,650 (US$9,500) based on Monday’s closing price.

The company’s value rose to HK$7.35 trillion on January 25 – when its shares closed at an all-time high of HK$766.50 each – from a low of HK$3.2 trillion on March 18 last year. At its all-time high, Tencent was the most valuable company on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

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It reported a net profit of 38.5 billion yuan (US$5.9 billion) for the three months through September 30 last year. That was ahead of a consensus average of 30.8 billion yuan among analysts tracked by Refinitiv.

The company is due to release its fourth-quarter earnings on March 24. Analysts expect its revenue to come in at 131.8 billion yuan for the December quarter, a 24.6 per cent year-on-year increase, according to Refinitiv. Its net income probably grew about 29 per cent to 32.85 billion yuan.

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The shares are a one-time special payment to eligible employees, according to the company spokesperson, who declined to elaborate on the criteria or total number of employees qualifying for the payment. It was aimed at appreciating employees who have contributed to building the company’s business during the Covid-19 pandemic last year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The news went viral on local social media on Monday, and some employees confirmed to the Post that they had been awarded the shares.

Tencent was founded in 1998 and listed in Hong Kong in June 2004. It raised HK$1.55 billion selling a quarter of its shares to the public at HK$3.70 each.

Its current worth of HK$7.15 trillion has made co-founder Pony Ma Huateng the second richest person in China with a personal wealth of US$72.3 billion, behind the US$88.8 billion amassed by Zhong Shanshan, the founder of water bottling group Nongfu Spring, according to Bloomberg data.

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