IOI Properties: ‘No China investors’

Source: The Sun

PUTRAJAYA: IOI Properties Group Bhd is hopeful that its plan to buy a substantial stake in Taipei 101 will go through as its chairman Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng believes that Taiwan's reluctance is more to do with ensuring that China investors do not take a stake in Taipei's most famous landmark.

"All I can tell you is none," executive chairman Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng stressed when asked if there were any China investors in IOI Properties that could have given Taiwanese authorities a reason to block the deal.

Speaking to reporters after the company's EGM here yesterday, Lee said the group is still waiting for a decision from the Taiwanese authorities.

IOI Properties has proposed to buy a 37.17% stake in Taipei Financial Center Corp (TFCC) for RM2.74 billion, which owns the Taipei 101 skyscraper.

Lee believes Taiwan will continue with its policy of welcoming foreign investors, despite receiving opposition from the Taiwan public over the foreign shareholding in Taipei 101.

"Taiwan is an open market, certainly they welcome foreign investors to invest in the country (Taiwan), once they know we're genuine investors, (and) no Chinese participation on our investment, I think they will approve it.

"The relationship between Taiwan and Malaysia is very cordial with a lot of investment from Taiwan in Malaysia and now probably Malaysia should go there and invest as well," he said.

IOI Properties had said its proposed stake in the venture did not include managing the owner of Taipei 101.

Taiwan's Investment Commission, on the other hand, has said that it will "strictly review" the deal after the Taiwan government had expressed strong opposition to foreign control of the landmark.

Lee declined to comment on what would happen if the acquisition fails, saying that the group has to be positive.

"Let them (Taiwan authorities) process first, we should not have a negative thinking, we must (be) positive," he added.

According to Lee, the Taipei 101 acquisition will be funded internally and through bank borrowings.

Meanwhile, at yesterday's EGM, IOI Properties received shareholders' approval for a renounceable rights issue of 539.84 million shares at an issue price of RM1.90 per rights share on the basis of one rights share for every six existing IOI Properties shares held.

It is expected to raise up to RM1.03 billion from the exercise, of which RM500 million will be used for capital expenditure, RM200 million for investment opportunities and RM324.8 million for working capital.