March 28, 2018 / 10:53 AM / a year ago

Tencent president sells $55 million worth of company shares

FILE PHOTO - Martin Lau, President of Tencent, meets with the press in the Finnish game company Supercell headquarters in Helsinki, Finland June 21, 2016. Lehtikuva/Seppo Samuli/via REUTERS

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The president of Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), Asia’s most valuable listed company, has sold 1 million of his shares in the company at a premium of 5.4 percent to Wednesday’s closing market price, according to a regulatory filing.

Martin Lau sold the shares in Tencent, whose stock more than doubled in value in 2017, at an average price of HK$434.36 ($55.35) apiece, reducing his stake to 0.48 percent from 0.49 percent, the stock exchange statement said.

The sale comes after Tencent’s largest shareholder, Naspers Inc (NPNJn.J), last week sold a 2 percent stake for $9.8 billion, the first time in 17 years it had reduced its stake.

Tencent lost more than $51 billion in market value in two days last week on news of Naspers’ share sale and also management’s warning of margin pressure. The plunge came despite the company reporting better-than-expected profits.

Its shares closed 4.63 percent lower at HK$412.2 on Wednesday, lagging a 2.5 percent drop in the benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI.

The fall sent Tencent out of the club of companies valued at more than $500 billion, though with a market capitalisation of $499 billion, it is still the most valuable listed company in Asia and the fifth globally .

($1 = 7.8474 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Mark Potter

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