Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ministry says Ever Rich secured rights in legal bid

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday defended Ever Rich DFS Corp’s exclusive right to operate duty-free shops at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, saying the company secured the right in a legal bid.

Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Chang Chiu-chuen (張邱春) told the legislature’s Transportation Committee that Ever Rich won the bid to operate duty-free shops in Section C of the airport’s second terminal by offering 18 percent of its annual revenue as royalties.

The terminal’s Section D shops are run by Tasa Meng Corp (采盟免稅商店), which pays 19 percent of its annual revenue as royalties.

Both firms are also required to pay an annual rent, Chang said.

The bid was conducted in accordance with the regulations stated in the Statute for Promoting Private Participation in Public Construction (促進民間參與公共建設法), Chang said.

He said that contractors for the airport’s duty-free shops are normally given six years of exclusive operating rights. However, the review committee decided to give Ever Rich 12 years because the firm had invested more than NT$2 billion (US$61.5 million) in the project.

The committee said it would have been difficult for Ever Rich to make any return on investment within six years.

Last year, Ever Rich and Tasa Meng paid NT$2.013 billion and NT$498 million in royalties and NT$498 million and NT$61 million in rent respectively.

The controversy surrounding Ever Rich’s qualifications came in the wake of a report in the Chinese-language China Times yesterday quoting prosecutors as saying the company won the bid by bribing the family of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Ever Rich issued a statement yesterday denying the allegations, saying all charges leveled against the company were “groundless.”

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