Business

China tycoon to buy GSH Plaza


One of China's richest men is buying a commercial building in the heart of Raffles Place.

Mr Ji Changqun, a Nanjing businessman behind Hong Kong-listed company Fullshare, will pay $725.2 million for the holding company of GSH Plaza, formerly known as Equity Plaza.

The seller of the holding company, Plaza Ventures, is a consortium led by a unit of GSH Corporation, which is controlled by popiah magnate Sam Goi.

GSH Corporation holds 51 per cent, partners Vibrant DB2 has 35 per cent and TYJ Group, Mr Goi's private investment vehicle, has a 14 per cent holding.

The consortium purchased the 28-storey building in 2014 from Keppel Land and Alpha Investment Partners for $550 million and is spending about $100 million on refurbishment, said GSH Corporation chief executive Gilbert Ee.

It should obtain its temporary occupation permit in one to two months, he added.

Mr Ee told The Straits Times yesterday that while the company had originally bought the building for the long term, the offer was very attractive and "allowed us to realise fairly good returns".

He added that the other partners were keen to accept the offer, as the profit margin was in excess of 20 per cent.

What differentiated the buyer was also his speed, said Mr Ee. "We had other interested buyers, but this guy was faster.

"He was very decisive, he knew exactly what he wanted. If it went on, there could have been a higher offer but he was quite keen on the transaction."

Fullshare has caught the attention of the Hong Kong stock market for its soaring share price in the past three years.

Its success has propelled Mr Ji to China's rich list, with Forbes naming him the country's 25th wealthiest person last year.

Its last transaction here also made headlines.

It bid $169,000 a month for the site of the former Bottle Tree Park in Yishun - double the bid of the previous company running a rustic, kampung-like leisure park on the land.

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