Silence on Cathay deal
THE Provisional Airport Authority yesterday resisted pressure to say how much Cathay Pacific had paid for the land to build its headquarters at Chek Lap Kok.
At the last full meeting of the Airport Consultative Committee's current session, most members attacked the authority for refusing to disclose terms of the deal reached with Cathay on its $3.5 billion project.
Dennis Lau Wing-kwong said: 'Why can't the price of the Cathay building's land be released if that of the airport railway is?' Fung Shiu-wing said: 'It should not be work in a black box. The prices of all land leases in Hong Kong are made public for the sake of fairness.' Kan Fook-yee asked whether the authority had offered better-than-market terms to the airline and that was why the amount was being kept secret.
Mr Kan moved a motion at the end of the meeting protesting at the refusal to reveal the deal, but it failed as there was no quorum.
The authority's corporate development director, Clinton Leeks, told members Cathay's bid was the best of several, with a 'very competitive' amount bid for the land lease premium.
He said the premium would not to be disclosed because of an agreement reached between the authority and Cathay.
'We have satisfied our board,' Mr Leeks said. 'We have a very good deal and Cathay also believe they have a good deal for their future.
'But the position we have taken is that some of the information [members] want is commercially sensitive.
'We have to draw a balance between the amount of information we can give publicly and how we can best protect the interest of the public in achieving the commercially prudently operated airport,' he said.
Mr Leeks also said the deal could enable the authority to start negotiations with other airlines. At least 90 hectares of land were ready to be leased.
The site could not be compared with that of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation in Kowloon, because it was a totally new site, he added.
'We have very limited market information as to what value in terms of the market that land should be disposed of for,' Mr Leeks said.