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Saturday August 8, 2009

Hap Seng unit buys into Menara Citibank owner

PETALING JAYA: Hap Seng Realty (KL City) Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd, has acquired a 50% stake in Inverfin Sdn Bhd, the owner of Menara Citibank in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

According to a company filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the 50% adjusted net asset value of Inverfin as at Dec 31, 2008 was RM235.39mil.

The vendors are CapitaLand Ltd that holds 30% in Inverfin and Amsteel Corp Bhd, which has a 20% stake.

Menara Citibank, previously known as Menara Lion, is parked under Inverfin. The remaining 50% stake in the company is held by Menara Citi Holding Co Sdn Bhd.

CapitaLand’s 30% stake comprises three million ordinary shares while Amsteel holds 2,000,001 ordinary shares in Inverfin.

According to Hap Seng Consolidated group managing director Datuk Edward Lee Ming Foo, the purchase was in line with the company’s corporate strategy to expand the its property holding and development division.

“Demand for prestigious office space in the heart of the Golden Triangle has not waned despite the global economic downturn.

“Based on our experience in the market, we expect demand to remain robust, if not improve, while supply is naturally kept limited in super-prime areas such as these,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The 50-storey Menara Citibank has a net lettable area of about 68,000 sq m.

“The unique propositions of Menara Citibank offer potential for rental growth as well as capital appreciation.

“This will bode well for the group in terms of sustained recurring income and long-term value for its property division,” Lee added.

Menara Citibank will be the second major acquisition by Hap Seng.

In 2004, it bought the 22-storey MUI Plaza from the MUI Group. The company spent some RM60mil on the purchase, including refurbishing the building.

A CapitaLand statement said the consideration of RM145.1mil for its Inverfin stake would be wholly satisfied in cash and was subject to a post-completion adjustment of the net asset value of Inverfin at the completion date, which is expected to be in November.

It further said the completion of the sale was subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions set out in the agreement. Upon completion, Inverfin will cease to be an associated company of CapitaLand.

In response to queries from StarBizWeek, a CapitaLand spokesman said the divestment of the company’s stake in Menara Citibank was in line with its proactive portfolio management, which included asset enhancement and strategic investment and divestment decisions.

“Malaysia remains one of CapitaLand’s key markets in South-East Asia and the company continues to have a presence in the commercial, retail, residential, serviced residence and real estate financial services sectors in the country.

“The real estate market has immense underlying potential. The Government’s pro-business policies have presented many opportunities for international real estate companies like CapitaLand to leverage on its multi-sector and multi-local strategy.

“Riding on this positive backdrop, CapitaLand will continue to strengthen its footprint in Malaysia,” he added.

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