Sat, May 26, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Firms snap up property in Taipei in profits drive

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Life Insurance Co (台灣人壽) yesterday said it had bought an office building in Taipei, as the firm continues efforts to seek satisfactory returns for shareholders.

In a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange after the closure of the local bourse, Taiwan Life said it had purchased the Imperial Hotel (華國大飯店) building in the city’s Zhongshan District (中山) for NT$4.6 billion (US$155.1 million).

The sum fits with appraisals made by Hua Hsin Real Estate Appraisers Firm (華信不動產估價師事務所) and by Integration Appraisers Jointed Firm (中聯不動產估價師聯合事務所), the filing showed.

Taiwan Life said the building has a land area of 769.56 ping, or 2,544m2, and a total floor area of 6,683.12 ping, or 22,092.95m2. With a total area of 7,452.68 ping, the sum is equal to NT$617,200 per ping.

The company said it would lease the building back to the Imperial Hotel, given the growing scarcity of full office buildings in prime locations in Taipei.

Taiwan Life, however, did not specify in the exchange filing how much annual fixed income it expected to receive from tenants.

The Chinese-language Web site udn.com reported yesterday that the deal would create a 3 percent rate of return, or NT$138 million in rent each year, citing an estimate made by Taiwan Life’s real-estate investment division.

Shares of Taiwan Life ended 0.61 percent lower at NT$16.35 yesterday before the investment was announced. The stock has dropped 6.84 percent so far this year, underperforming the benchmark index’s 0.01 percent decline over the same period.

Taiwan Life’s latest move came after its peers increased investments in quality real-estate in Taiwan, especially in the Taipei area, when investment in local stock markets looked risky recently due to market concerns over the government’s capital gains tax plans.

On Tuesday, Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) said it would buy Prince Motors Group’s (太子汽車) Tucheng (土城) plant in New Taipei City (新北市) for NT$4.39 billion.

Meanwhile, Horizon Securities Co (宏遠證券) announced yesterday that its shareholders had approved a company plan to sell its headquarters building in Taipei to better utilize the company’s assets.

The stock brokerage said in a separate filing that it planned to sell the second to seventh floors of its office building on Xinyi Road, as well as its 60 parking spaces in four basements, which have a total value of NT$1.34 billion.

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