Vietnam’s highest building, valued at $770mn, on verge of being acquired: report

May 09, 2015 | 09:29
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The highest building in Vietnam is reportedly being acquired at a price much lower than the US$1.05 billion investment of its South Korean owner.

Two investors who have shown interest in acquiring the Keangnam Landmark 72 tower, located in Hanoi, have been told by a South Korean court that the property is valued at 830 billion won, or $770 million, according to the East Asian country’s media.

Goldman Sachs and the Qatar Investment Authority have reportedly sent their respective acquisition proposals to Colliers International, the New York-based real estate consultancy in charge of the sale of the 72-story building, English-language The Korea Economic Dailyreported on April 20.

Keangnam Landmark 72, fully known as the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, was developed by Seoul-based Keangnam Enterprises, which is in troubled waters at home over corruption scandals, at a cost of $1.05 billion.

The complex, consisting of one 72-story office tower with the height of 350 meters and two 48-story residence towers, opened in October 2011.

Keangnam Enterprises still owes bank loans totaling 530 billion won ($48.62 million), according to Vietnam’s newswire VnExpress, which cited South Korean media.

Former head of the firm Sung Wan-jong killed himself in mid-April over a corruption scandal involving many top South Korean politicians.

Keangnam Vina, which operates the Hanoi skyscraper, was allegedly involved in window dressing of the accounting books to hide mounting debts during its construction, according to The Korea Economic Daily.

Goldman Sachs plans to set up a special-purpose company to take over the building as the largest shareholder, whereas the Qataris offer to buy the whole property at $800 million for long-term ownership, The Korea Economic Daily said in the same April 20 report.

Keangnam Vina chairman Lee Hyo Jong has recently told VnExpressthat the Keangnam scandals back in South Korea would not affect its operations in Vietnam.

Keangnam Vina has also committed itself to protecting the rights, interests, and assets of those who bought apartments or rent premises and offices at Keangnam Landmark 72 as per Vietnamese law.

The Vietnamese unit of Parkson, Malaysia's largest department store chain, used to run a store at Keangnam Landmark 72, but shut it down out of the blue earlier this year.

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