CLSA renews office lease with Swire Group, defying parent's reported order to cut ties with company that drew China's ire

Xie Yu
Pearl Liu
September 26, 2019 10:38 AM SGT
Financial Times
Swire Properties' parent, Swire Group, which owns Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific, has drawn Beijing's ire after airline staff took part in the protests that have rocked the city since June.
Rick Gould, CLSA's chief executive, in an email to staff on Wednesday, said the Hong Kong brokerage had renewed the lease for its more than 70,000 sq ft offices at One Pacific Place. The email was obtained by the South China Morning Post, but CLSA declined to comment when approached about details of the lease.
Swire Properties, however, confirmed that the lease had been renewed. "We can confirm that our lease agreement with CLSA for their tenancy at One Pacific Place has been extended," the company said in an emailed statement. "Swire Properties values our long-standing relationship with CLSA, with the firm having a long-term tenancy at our two major office portfolios of Pacific Place and Taikoo Place," it added.
CLSA has leased office space at One Pacific Place since 2000, Swire Properties said. The brokerage currently occupies office space covering three-and-a-half floors.
The brokerage, acquired by Citic in 2013, was under pressure to move out of One Pacific Place, because Swire Group had upset Beijing, according to the Financial Times.
Sources at CLSA, however, said the brokerage was unlikely to defy Citic. If the firm was under pressure to leave One Pacific Place, it had no option but to comply, a senior manager speaking on condition of anonymity said.
The Chinese central government was critical of how Cathay Pacific handled its staff and management during the Hong Kong protests, and accused the airline of not acting quickly enough to discipline staff who took part in or supported the demonstrations.
Following news that two airline pilots had been involved in the protests and the leak of passenger information by two ground crew, China's aviation put unprecedented pressure on the airline, citing safety and security concerns. Rupert Hogg, the airline's chief executive at the time, and...