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Taipei 101 may allow equity firm to purchase stake

Taipei 101 may allow equity firm to purchase stake

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) The board of directors of Taipei Financial Center Corp. (????????, TFCC), which operates Taiwan's iconic skyscraper Taipei 101, agreed Wednesday with a plan by U.S.-based private equity firm Blackstone Group to explore the possibility of acquiring a stake in the landmark building. The announcement by the TFCC came after international business wire services reported a day earlier that Blackstone has been in talks with Taiwanese conglomerate Ting Hsin International Group (????) to buy the 37.17 percent stake in Taipei 101 owned by Ting Hsin. In a statement, the TFCC said an inspection by Blackstone into Taipei 101's books will be conducted under local law. The TFCC said that during the upcoming due diligence, the company will try its best to protect its business secrets and honor any non-disclosure agreements it has signed with its business partners. Ting Hsin's stake in Taipei 101 makes it the second-largest shareholder behind only the 44.35 percent jointly held by government-invested ventures including Mega Financial Holding Co. (???), First Financial Holding Co. (???) and Hua Nan Financial Holding Co. (???). However, the conglomerate has faced calls from the public to dispose of its stake in Taipei 101 after Ting Hsin's reputation was tarnished by a series of food scandals last year involving the group and its subsidiaries. In late 2014, Ting Hsin signed an agreement with Malaysia-based business group IOI Properties Group Bhd to dispose of the stake it has in Taipei 101. But IOI dropped its plan for the acquisition in March this year amid rising concerns that the Malaysian group is backed by funds from China. According to a Reuters report, Blackstone has assured the Taiwan government that it will not use funds from China to finance the acquisition. Taiwan's Investment Commission said that as long as Blackstone submits its application with the commission to acquire the stake, the agency will ask the U.S. firm to clarify the source of the funds it will use for the acquisition. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said that if the acquisition deal goes through, more foreign investors are expected to follow suit at a time when the country has been suffering a decline in foreign investment. According to the MOEA, foreign investment in Taiwan for the first nine months of this year dropped 8.01 percent from a year earlier. (By Lin Meng-ju and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-09-26 08:09 GMT+08:00