Mon, Feb 25, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Shin Kong Life eyes Agora Garden

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽), a subsidiary of Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控), and 12 competitors have expressed interest in acquiring the Agora Garden (亞太會館) hotel in Taipei City's Xinyi District (信義), auctioneer DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (戴德梁行) said yesterday.

"So far, we've shown the property to 12 potential bidders, although we don't know for sure who will actually show up and place bids," said a manager at the international real-estate consultancy who requested anonymity.

Potential bidders for the property, which is set for auction on March 28, must put down a deposit of NT$400 million (US$12.7 million) between March 20 and March 26 to secure entry to the auction.

A floor price of NT$6.9 billion has been set for the 14-story Agora Garden hotel and the minimum bidding unit has been set at NT$40 million, the manager said.

The five-star hotel, which sits on a 2,468 ping (0.82 hectare) lot of land, has a total floor space of 12,458 ping, with 213 guest rooms and an occupancy rate of 80 percent on average during the past three years, the auctioneer said.

After Shin Kong Life Insurance said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that it would bid for the property, market watchers expect the deal's closing price to jump to as much as NT$8 billion, a report in the Chinese-language Economic Daily said on Saturday.

The board of Shin Kong Life Insurance also announced that the company, headed by chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進), had allocated some NT$10 billion for real-estate investments this year, media said on Saturday.

Wu was upbeat about the prospects for Taipei's luxury home property market and predicted that land prices for luxury property could soon jump to NT$3 million per ping, media reported.

According to Shin Kong Financial spokesman Victor Hsu (許澎), the insurer's assets under management were NT$1.4 trillion, of which 8 percent were budgeted for real estate investments.

Should Shin Kong win the bid for Agora Garden, it will retain the hotel's present management until projects for luxury homes mature, Hsu said.

Shin Kong was also to bid today for a 300 ping parcel of land on Hangzhou S Road in Taipei City.

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