Sat, Jan 22, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Cathay Life wins auction for prime estate

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

The nation’s top insurer was the winner in yesterday’s auction of two floors in a Grade A office building in Taipei.

Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), a subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), acquired the 6th and 7th floors of the Taipei Financial Center building (台北金融中心) for NT$1.58 billion (US$53.7 million), 6.5 percent higher than the asking price, said auction organizer DTZ (戴德梁行), an international real estate service provider.

The move marked the insurer’s second real-estate portfolio expansion this month after it won in the bidding for the 13th and 14th floors of the same building on Jan. 11.

The latest bid, measuring 1,178 ping (3,887m2) in the newly revamped building on Dunhua N Road near Taipei Songshan Airport, translates into NT$1.28 million per ping, compared with NT$1.36 million per ping for the previous auction.

Eagle Lai (賴一毅), an associate manager at DTZ, said that the price was lower because the property was located on the lower floors of the building.

Lai refused to reveal the number of bidders, but said more than 10 firms, including major domestic life insurance companies, collected bidding documents.

The outcome of the auction reaffirmed strong demand for commercial property in prime locations as liquidity remains high and capital costs are low, a real estate analyst said.

Howard Ou (歐人彰), vice president of asset management at Sinyi Realty Co (信義房屋), said three auctions had already been held for the building’s primeholdings, attracting total investment of NT$5.07 billion, or more than NT$1 million per ping.

“The results lend support to a bullish Grade A office market this year, with rental rates finally emerging from the shadow of the global financial crisis,” Ou said by telephone.

Real rental rates for the building hover between NT$2,500 and NT$3,000 per ping, about the same for Grade A office buldings in Xinyi District (信義), due to its proximity to the airport and the mass rapid transit system, Ou said.

The building currently houses the Taipei office of the Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia (東亞銀行) and China Ocean Shipping Group (中國遠洋集團).

Cathay Life, which holds a 40 percent stake in the building, could earn a 2.6 percent return on its newest investment, Ou said.

Cathay Life issued a statement later yesterday estimating its return on investment at 3 percent.

Yuanta Financial Holding Co (元大金控), whose subsidiaries were the owner of the 6th and 7th floors, which come with 19 parking spaces valued at NT$3.5 million each, could add NT$0.1 to its earnings per share this year.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top