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Hong Kong Link REIT Postponed Over Legal Uncertainties

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

21 December 2004


The Hong Kong Housing Authority has been forced to abandon the sale of some $30 billion in government-owned real estate through the listing of the Link Reit until legal uncertainties surrounding the listing - which was due to take place on Monday - have been resolved.

"We will strive to clear all the legal impediments and upon their conclusion, we will prepare for a re-launch of the Initial Public Offering as soon as practicable," announced Michael Suen, Chairman of the Housing Authority on Sunday night.

The listing of the Link Reit – the world’s largest initial public offering of a real estate investment trust – was initially scheduled for December 16. However, this was scuppered by a last minute judicial review of the sale by two Hong Kong public housing residents who argued that the Housing Authority breached government regulations.

While the challenge was rejected by the Hong Kong court, a subsequent ruling left the door open for an appeal, throwing the whole listing process into doubt.

"Since we do not know whether the applicant will appeal to the Court of Final Appeal and how the court will rule, the uncertainty remains. If we proceed to list, this may not be in the best interest of either the investors or the market," noted Mr Suen.

The bankers who arranged the sale, which includes HSBC, Goldman Sachs and UBS are said to be arranging an alternative deal, whilst investors who have already bought shares in the trust are being refunded.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore investment, offshore stock exchanges, and hedge funds is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report9.asp

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