Itochu of Japan wants to buy stake in Taipei 101

Japanese trading house wants to take over Ting Hsin's 37.2-percent stake

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Itochu wants to buy a stake in Taipei 101. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Japanese group Itochu Corporation (伊藤忠) was applying to buy the iconic Taipei 101, Taiwan’s tallest building, the government’s Investment Commission (投審會) said Friday.

The offer of US$600 million (NT$17.8 billion) is actually for the stake of 37.2 percent currently owned by Ting Hsin International (頂新), the Taiwanese group blamed for a number of tainted oil scandals which rocked the island over the past four years.

If approved, it will be the first time that a foreign company holds a major stake in Taipei 101, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported. A previous attempt at an investment by Malaysian group IOI Properties faltered in 2014 after allegations that Chinese capital might have been involved.

The Investment Commission, a unit of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said the review process of Itochu’s application had already started and might be completed in February or March after consideration by all relevant government departments.

Last November, media reports already mentioned the Japanese group’s interest for the building, but even at the last board meeting of the year, no further developments had been reported, the Apple Daily wrote, adding that Itochu had chosen to go straight to the Investment Commission with its bid.

Itochu is considered to be Japan’s second-largest trading company, behind Mitsubishi Corporation, and started out as a textile trader with a presence in China dating back more than a century.