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Back to business for developer Chinachem

HONG KONG: Property investor and developer Chinachem Group yesterday (May 3) launched its third Hong Kong hotel, underlining its active return to business after winning a legal battle over the ownership of the estate of its former chairman, the late Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum.

Director Joseph Leung Wing-kong, said the group was now a potential bidder in the auction of four sites expected over the next three months.

"We may join the land auctions. It will depend on the prices of the sites," Leung said.

The group's 432-room L'Hotel Island South is the first hotel completed in the Aberdeen industrial district since the Planning Department relaxed the land use of industrial sites in the area in 2001.

Last week, the privately held company leapt back into the spotlight by putting flats up for rent at the controversial 24-storey residential tower at 129 Repulse Bay Road, a building that has been in mothballs for the past eight years.

On Feb 2, the High Court ruled that an estimated HK$100 billion (RM41.41 billion) fortune left by Nina Wang belonged to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, denying the validity of a will possessed by businessman Tony Chan Chun-chuen.

The recent activity has had commentators speculating that Chinachem could be interested in a public listing, but executive director Dr Kung Yan-sum insisted yesterday there was no timetable for such a move. "We are not necessarily going to go public," he said.

Sylvia Chung, Chinachem's general manager for hotel development and operations, said on May 3 the standard room rate at L'Hotel ranged between HK$700 and HK$800 a night.

She expects the occupancy rate to exceed 80% by year-end.

"We believe about 40% of our guests will be business travellers, while the others will come for leisure. About 30% to 40% of the guests will be from the mainland," she said.

Chinachem is the largest privately run developer in Hong Kong, having developed more than 300 residential and commercial projects.

Its luxury Repulse Bay development offers 100 serviced or rental apartments, which range from 1,800 to 7,700 sq ft and are available from HK$90,000 to more than HK$400,000 a month. – South China Morning Post

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