The family of Truong My Lan – the founder of Van Thinh Phat Group, has reportedly sold a prime Grade A office building in the heart of Hong Kong to an entity associated with Taiwanese technology magnate Steve Chang, founder and chairman of Tokyo-listed cybersecurity firm Trend Micro Inc.
The deal, reported by Mingtiandi, an Asian real estate news platform, was closed at a sum of HK$6.4 billion (approximately $820 million).
The property in question, the Nexxus Building, located at 77 Des Voeux Road Central in Hong Kong, was previously under the ownership of an entity managed by Lan's daughter and Eric Chu – Lan’s husband.
This sale comes after property values in Hong Kong's Grade A office sector have seen a substantial decline, dropping by 34 per cent since 2019, according to a report by JLL. The building, which soars 22 stories high, was valued at over HK$9 billion towards the end of 2022.
Alex Leung, director of Survey at CHFT Advisory and Appraisal in Hong Kong said, "We estimate that the entire building's value has decreased by about 30 to 35 per cent compared to its peak in the fourth quarter of 2018."
This transaction follows legal troubles for Truong My Lan in the major case involving Van Thinh Phat, which is still under investigation in Vietnam.
Mingtiandi also noted that the Lan family's Hong Kong real estate portfolio once boasted a valuation of up to HK$16 billion (over $2 billion), including the Nexxus Building, which was acquired from a joint venture between Morgan Stanley, Gaw Capital Partners, and Pamfleet (now Schroders) for HK$3.6 billion in 2009.
In a related development, ownership of the Nexxus Building shifted from Elizabeth Chu, Lan's daughter, to Carol Wang Ting Hsuan of Taiwan, matching addresses with the Ming Yi Foundation and Flow Inc., both established by Steve Chang.
In other asset movements, Eric Chu sold a 132-room hotel in Hong Kong's Tin Hau area for HK$470 million last June, marking a 41 per cent loss from its purchase price.
The same month, Chu offloaded a prestigious Peak district house for HK$300 million, taking a 36 per cent hit. Chu's remaining Hong Kong assets include the Wellington office tower in Sheung Wan, acquired in 2017, alongside several luxury residential properties, totalling an approximate value of HK$5 billion.
Furthermore, Viva Land, a real estate conglomerate linked to Van Thinh Phat, has sold the Hotel Telegraph (formerly SO/Singapore) to an entity related to Sunray Woodcraft Construction, controlled by Tan Teng Huat's family, for about SGD 170-180 million ($125 million - $133 million).
Acquired by Viva Land in May 2022 for SGD 240 million, this sale might result in a loss of around SGD 70 million, or 30 per cent.
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