Thu, Mar 17, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Namchow mulls plans to auction off Taipei plots

EXPANSION:The nation’s main supplier of edible oils intends to fund its expansion plans in China with the sale of more than 9,000m2 of prime land in the capital

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Namchow Chemical Industrial Co (南僑化工), the nation’s main supplier of edible oils, detergents and frozen dough, aims to auction five plots of land later this year to finance expansion plans in China, company executives said yesterday.

Namchow chairman Alfred Chen (陳飛龍) said the company intends to raise at least NT$3.03 billion (US$102.55 billion) from the plots located in Datong District (大同), Taipei City.

With a total area of 2,809 ping (9,270m2), the plots currently house the company’s headquarters and northern operation offices, Chen told a media briefing.

Most of the property is idle after the company moved production to Taoyuan County in 1992, he said.

Chen, whose company also produces ice cream products, juices and cookies through subsidiaries, and markets the products of Nabisco, Kellogg’s and Haagen-Dazs in Taiwan, is upbeat the luxury tax would not affect the upcoming auction.

“While the levy will weigh on the market, it will not suppress real demand for real-estate properties,” Chen said.

The government plans to tax short-term property transactions, subjecting real estate resold within two years of purchase to a 10 percent luxury levy. The tax rate would rise to 15 percent of the trading value if the property were sold within one year of purchase.

Namchow has yet to set a date for the auction, which first needs to obtain approval from shareholders, company general manager Kevin Lee (李勘文) said. The company will call a shareholders’ conference for April 29 on the sale plan, he added.

The proceeds will be used to strengthen production facilities in China, where Namchow ranks as the second-largest maker of edible oil products, Lee said.

The 60-year-old company plans to spend US$102 million building a factory in Shanghai between this year and 2015 to meet growing demand, Lee said.

“We need a new production line in three years as existing plants in Tianjin and Guangzhou are already running at full capacity,” he said.

Namchow entered China in 1996 and the market generated about 60 percent of the parent’s total revenue of NT$9.6 billion last year, Lee said.

The company also plans to spend US$30 million in Taiwan in the next two years to turn its Taoyuan and Tainan plants into tourism factories, Lee said.

The investment comes in line with the government’s effort to promote the amalgamation of local industry with culture and tourism, he said.

International real-estate consultancy DTZ (戴德梁行), which will organize the auction on Namchow’s behalf, said potential buyers could file rezoning requests and turn the plots into a residential complex.

“Land plots of such a scale are increasingly rare in the capital,” DTZ general manager Billy Yen (顏炳立) said.

He expects the auction to draw heated competition as the market remains awash with idle funds.

Namchow shares closed up at its 7 percent daily limit yesterday as the disposal of the property purchased four decades ago is expected to yield a sizable profit.

Shares of Namchow closed limit-up at NT$42.8 on the local bourse, outperforming the benchmark TAIEX’s 1.09 percent rise.

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