Wed, Nov 17, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Prudential buys Taipei property for headquarters

INSURANCE INDUSTRY The building will be the firm's Taiwan headquarters and is part of its plans for expansion in this market, a company official said

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

After doing business in Taiwan for 15 years, Prudential Financial Inc, a US-based insurance company, announced yesterday that it has bought a building in Taipei to set up its country headquarters, which will be formally opened in May or June, a company official said.

"The property acquisition shows our confidence in the Taiwan market," Philip Tung (董季華), senior vice president and chief financial officer at Prudential Life Insurance Company of Taiwan Inc, told a press conference yesterday.

The building -- the Der Yunn Financial Center -- located on Nanjing East Road, Section 5, was constructed by Der Yunn Construction Co (德運建設) and completed in October last year. It consists of 12 above-ground floors and five basement floors, offering a total gross floor area of 6,556 ping (21,667m2), with total office space amounting to 4,694 ping (15,513m2).

Elsewhere in Asia, Prudential also has headquarters in Japan and South Korea.

Calvin Wang (王治平), managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle International Property Consultants, a broker hired to negotiate for the property, said the two companies have signed a purchase memorandum and will sign an official contract within the next three weeks.

The cost of the 12-floor building will be announced then, Wang said. But according to Lin Tsai-yu (林財于), chairman of Der Yunn Construction, the total cost of the building is NT$2.78 billion.

Prudential began to shop for a headquarters in Taiwan at the beginning of the year, when the company made plans to expand in the market, Tung said.

Currently, Prudential has more than 700 employees in Taiwan, including 500 insurance consultants and 200 "rear-service" staff with annual premium income of NT$6 billion, he said, adding that the figure is expect to jump to NT$10 billion in a near future.

"We believe the property will help us to gain our customers' confidence and trust, as well as enhance our company image," Tung said. "Of course, the building is a good investment for us."

More multinational companies are expected to purchase office buildings. Eight such deals were conducted last year, and the number may increase to 10 to 12 this year, Wang said.

"This deal shows the market is ready for a sustained wave of institutional buying. The time is right and there are some great opportunities available in the Taipei market," Wang said.

Last month, Andrew Liu (劉學龍), managing director of the Taipei branch of CB Richard Ellis Ltd (CBRE), said several institutional investors were exploring profit opportunities in Taiwan's large office buildings, industrial land and high-end residential properties.

CBRE itself is in the midst of five deals valued at NT$30 billion in the greater Taipei area, Liu said at the time.

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