Malaysia’s IOI Properties files to buy 37.1% of Taipei 101

By Enru Lin ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Investment Commission (���f�|) said it has received Malaysia-based IOI Properties Group’s application to buy a 37.1-percent stake in Taipei Financial Center Corp. (TFCC), which operates Taipei 101. The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission yesterday said it received an application from the buyer on Dec. 19. It has not received an application from Ting Hsin International Group (���s����), which holds the shares. According to the Statute for Investment By Foreign Nationals (�~���H��������), Ting Hsin must apply for permission to sell the shares to a foreign entity, said Investment Commission Executive Secretary Chang Ming-pin (�i���y). Review for the stake-sale deal won’t begin until both sides submit their materials in full, Chang said. He said the screening will consider the public interest and social expectations, and that the deal must be approved unanimously by the commission. The Investment Commission will also consult the Ministry of Finance (�]�F��), the Financial Supervisory Commission (���޷|), the Central Bank of the Republic of China (�����Ȧ�) and other relevant government units during the process, he said. The Mainland Affairs Council (���e�|), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (�~�泡) and the National Security Bureau (���w��) will scrutinize the financial backgrounds of the Malaysia group’s shareholders, Chang said. If Chinese capital is on the shareholders list, the sale will not be approved. Ting Hsin, under financial pressure after becoming implicated in food fraud, has announced plans to sell its skyscraper stake to the Malaysia-based IOI Properties for about NT$25.1 billion (US$795 million). Its proposal has encountered some explicit and high-profile objections, including that of Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (�i���M), who said shares in the landmark building should stay with domestic investors. Central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (�^�a�n) said that if no law mandates that the shares remain with domestic investors, ��we should see if there is another way�� to ensure it.

Rule of Law Applies: Wang Ying-chieh Taipei Chamber of Commerce Director-General Wang Ying-chieh (������) yesterday urged central authorities to review the case in accordance with the law. Taiwan is a democracy governed by the rule of law, and the principle should hold even when reviewing a transaction proposed by Ting Hsin, he said. The government can mete out sentences to Ting Hsin for its actions in the food industry, and the public can exercise its right to boycott the conglomerate’s products. But the government cannot practice law in a way that bends the law, because that is White Terror, he said. A failure to abide by the rule of law in the Ting Hsin sale will affect the investment climate and the willingness of foreign business interests to consider Taiwan, Wang said.