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Friday, August 15, 2008

Menara Citibank up for sale?

INVERFIN Sdn Bhd, the owner of Menara Citibank in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, has put its asset up for sale and shortlisted three bidders, sources say.

The bidders are a local listed entity, a private equity fund and a Korean fund. A decision may be made next week.

Inverfin may fetch between RM760 million and RM910 million for the 758,608 sq ft building, based on a bid price of between RM1,000 and RM1,200 per sq ft.

Inverfin is 50 per cent owned by Menara Citi Holding Co Sdn Bhd, a unit of US bank Citigroup. Singapore's CapitaLand Ltd holds another 30 per cent, while Amsteel Corp Bhd has the rest.

"The building could fetch between RM1,000 and RM1,200 per sq ft. The parties are looking at the terms and conditions of the deal now," the source said.

Citibank Bhd declined to comment, while the Lion group did not respond to Business Times' query at press time.

The 50-storey building, built in 1994 by the Lion group, was previously called Menara Lion. It is located at the heart of the city centre, close to the Petronas Twin Towers.

In 2000, the Lion group sold half of the building to Citigroup for RM75.25 million, or RM543 per sq ft, to pare debt.

The building, which is fully occupied, houses Citibank's local branch, Lion group offices, oil and gas company Talisman, Japan Airlines and the Tourism Board of Thailand, among others.

Citigroup has been selling assets worldwide to raise funds since taking a huge hit from the US subprime mortgage meltdown. Earlier this year, it sold its Japan headquarters to Morgan Stanley in a deal said to be worth US$445 million (RM1.5 billion).

It was also reported that Citigroup is selling two Manhattan office buildings to SL Green Realty Corp for about US$1.58 billion (RM5.3 billion).

In India, Citibank was reported to have sold more than half a dozen flats in Mumbai.

By New Straits Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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