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Malaysian group drops plan to acquire Taipei 101

Malaysian group drops plan to acquire Taipei 101

Taipei, March 6 (CNA) Taiwan's government on Friday confirmed that Malaysia's IOI Group has abandoned its plan to acquire the Ting Hsin International Group's stake in Taiwan's landmark Taipei 101 building. Emile Chang (???), acting executive secretary of the Investment Commission, said his office will return the proposal to the IOI Group and no longer assess the deal. A Bloomberg report published on Friday also said the Malaysian conglomerate had backed out of the deal to spend NT$25.14 billion (US$800 million) on Ting Hsin's 37.17 percent stake in Taipei Financial Center Corp., which operates the 508-meter-high skyscraper. The report said the Malaysian company is not expected to extend a three-month (share sale agreement) period the two parties established with Taiwanese regulators after it expired on March 5. Amid rising scrutiny over the prospects of a foreign entity controlling Taipei 101, the Malaysian company, which submitted its proposal last December, is expected to file for the return of the NT$700 million it paid as a deposit. Ting Hsin, meanwhile, rejected a government proposal to buy back Ting Hsin's stake in Taipei 101 at the original purchase price of NT$13 per share. Ting Hsin spokesperson Ted Chia (???) said the proposal was tantamount to a seizure of private property by the government. Chia emphasized that the government called on Ting Hsin to sell its stake in Taipei 101 and that Ting Hsin agreed in the best interest of the skyscraper. He also urged the public to avoid fixating on whether Ting Hsin would sell a 7 percent stake to a government-controlled enterprise to give the government majority control of the property. More important, Chia said, was that the 37 percent stake was disposed of in a way that all of the shareholders could arrive at a consensus on what was best for the development of Taipei 101. In addition, Chia said Ting Hsin paid NT$13 to acquire the Taipei Financial Center stake in 2009, exceeding the estimated market value of NT$7 per share at the time.
After Ting Hsin has managed the property for more than five years, the share price should now be determined by the market, Chia said. Chia reiterated that selling back the shares at the original price would put the government in a "difficult position" because it was in effect expropriating a private asset. The spokesman said that despite food safety violations committed by Ting Hsin subsidiaries, the four Wei brothers who head the company remains committed to developing and investing in Taiwan. Three Ting Hsin food processing companies were implicated late last year in selling edible oils that contained ingredients unfit for human consumption, tarnishing the group's reputation and sparking a public backlash against the conglomerate.
Because of the group's public relations woes, it was denied additional credit by domestic financial institutions and forced to relinquish the chairmanship of Taipei Financial Center and sell its stake in the property company. (By Han Ting-ting, Huang Chiao-wen and Ted Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-19 02:09 GMT+08:00