Japanese company becomes major shareholder in Taipei 101

Taipei, A Japanese firm is now the biggest foreign shareholder in the company that operates the iconic Taipei 101 building, having completed the acquisition of a 37.17 percent stake.

The Japanese company Itochu bought the 37.17 percent stake from the scandal-stricken Ting Hsin International Group at a cost of US$665 million.

With the completion of the deal, Itochu is now the second largest shareholder in the operating company Taipei Financial Center Corp. (TFCC), after Taiwan's Ministry of Finance (MOF), which holds a 44.35 percent stake through three government-invested financial groups.

According to Taipei 101 spokesperson Chiang Pei-lin (???), TFCC will hold an extraordinary board meeting in September to elect new board members to replace Ting Hsin's five seats on the board.

In addition to those five seats, the board comprises seven seats held by the MOF-led consortium of Mega Financial Holding Co., First Financial Holding Co. and Hua Nan Financial Holding Co., and one seat held by CTBC Bank.

The finance ministry said Itochu will now take over Ting Hsin's five seats with the acquisition of the Taiwanese company's stake in TFCC.

Itochu is also eying the position of vice chairman of the board of directors, which now is held by the government-led consortium, according to local media reports, but the MOF said it was not aware of any such plan.

As an international enterprise, Itochu is expected to bring new expertise in management, which will help improve the operation of Taipei 101, Taiwan's tallest building, the MOF said.

TFCC Chairman Chou Te-yu (???), who took the helm in December 2015, will reach end of his tenure in December 2018. Chiang said, adding that it will be decided at the board meeting whether Chou should remain in that position.

Ting Hsin, which had been buying up shares in TFCC from minor shareholders since 2009, decided in 2014 to dispose of its 37.17 percent 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 and Malaysian investment company IOI Properties Group Bhd failed.

The deal with Itochu was inked in last December, freeing Ting Hsin of its TFCC assets but it still owns two companies, Wei Chuan Foods Corp. and telecom operator Taiwan Star Telecom Corp. in Taiwan.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel