Wed, Aug 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Itochu becomes the top foreign owner of iconic skyscaper

Staff writer, with CNA

Japan’s Itochu Corp has become the biggest foreign shareholder of the company that operates Taipei 101 after completing its acquisition of a 37.17 percent stake.

Itochu acquired scandal-ridden Ting Hsin International Group’s (頂新集團) entire stake in Taipei Financial Center Corp (TFCC, 台北金融大樓) for US$665 million.

The Japanese company is now the second-largest shareholder in TFCC after the Ministry of Finance, which has a 44.35 percent stake through three government-invested financial groups.

TFCC is to hold an extraordinary meeting next month to elect new board members to replace Ting Hsin’s five representatives, Taipei 101 spokesperson Chiang Pei-lin (蔣珮琳) said.

Tsin Hsin’s representatives would be replaced with those from Itochu, the ministry said.

In addition to the five seats, there are seven seats held by the ministry-led consortium of Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控), First Financial Holding Co (第一金控) and Hua Nan Financial Holding Co (華南金控), and one seat held by CTBC Bank Co (中國信託銀行).

Itochu is also eying the position of vice chairman of the board of directors, which is held by the consortium, local media reported, but the ministry said it was not aware of any such plan.

As an international company, Itochu is expected to bring its management expertise to TFCC, which should help improve Taipei 101’s operations, the ministry said.

TFCC chairman Chou Te-yu (周德宇), who took the helm in December 2015, is to reach the end of his tenure in December, Chiang said, adding that whether Chou would keep his position would be decided at next month’s board meeting.

Ting Hsin, which had been buying TFCC shares from minor shareholders since 2009, decided in 2014 to dispose of its entire stake and other assets after it became embroiled in a major food safety scandal.

Ting Hsin turned to Itochu after its talks with private equity fund Blackstone Group LP and Malaysian investment company IOI Properties Group Bhd failed.

The deal with Itochu was signed in December last year, freeing Ting Hsin of its TFCC assets, but it still owns two companies in Taiwan, Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全食品) and Taiwan Star Telecom Corp (台灣之星).

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