Beijing lifts land deal ban on PCPD
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Pacific Century Premium Developments (PCPD) has regained the right to buy and sell land in Beijing after a ban imposed by the city government seven months ago.
In an announcement on Thursday on its official website, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Land and Resources said PCPD - chaired by Richard Li Tzar-kai - and its subsidiaries were allowed to take part in land sales, but no reason was given.
In March, Beijing, Shanghai and seven provinces - Zhejiang, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Guangxi, Jilin and Ningxia - identified developers who had delayed construction work on 18 sites as part of the central government's plan to cool off the market.
The government is concerned that developers are using the delays to profit from short-term speculation and do not even intend legitimate development. PCPD was the only developer prohibited from land deals at the time.
PCPD, through a subsidiary, acquired a high-end residential site at Gongti Beilu in Beijing for 510 million yuan (HK$590.45 million) in 2006, and was required to start construction work by September 2007.
However, in October last year, the subsidiary was sold to Shui On Construction and Materials for US$118 million, generating a profit of HK$235 million for PCPD.
The local government fined the subsidiary and suspended PCPD's right to buy and sell sites in March.
The news that PCPD had regained bidding rights came just days after the Ministry of Land and Resources and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development jointly announced on Monday that developers would be banned from bidding for more sites if they had had land idle for more than a year, or had transferred sites or developed them in breach of existing agreements.
The ministries also said local governments should set aside at least 70 per cent of land supplies for public housing or smaller flats. Those who fail to meet the target will be barred from offering land for luxury housing, they said.