KMT to put last controversial asset to bid

PUBLIC BIDDING::The Central Investment Co said that a fourth attempt to find buyers would go through a public bidding process and help the president fulfill a 2005 pledge

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Jan 05, 2011 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will open its remaining controversial party asset, Central Investment Co, to a fourth public bid on Jan. 25 in an attempt to fulfill one of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) promises. Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, said the party would no longer run any businesses.

The KMT failed in its three previous attempts to sell the company, in 2006, in February 2009 and in June last year. The company has a net worth of about NT$20 billion (US$619 million) and is the last of the KMT’s most controversial assets, following the sale of its Institute on Policy Research and Development building, three media outlets and its former headquarters.

Central Investment Co chairperson Huang Yi-teng (黃怡騰) said yesterday that there were five firms that obtained bidding documents for the company last month and that it would find its bidder through a public bidding process.

Huang declined to reveal the identities of the bidders, but said the company would categorically reject Chinese investors to avoid unnecessary political associations and any companies with bad records.

Unloading illicit assets was a major promise made by Ma when he first assumed the KMT chairmanship in 2005. The KMT sold the building housing the Policy Research and Development for NT$4.3 billion and three media assets — China Television Co (CTV), Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC) and the Central Motion Picture Co (CMPC) — to the China Times Group for NT$9.3 billion in 2005.

Ma had promised in December of 2009 that the party would propose a final solution to the illicit party assets issue, but he emphasized that did not mean the KMT would no longer have any assets.