Lai Sun Development Co is to buy a 2.25 per cent stake in red chip Cosco Pacific, the Hong Kong arm of the mainland's biggest shipping group, in a cash deal worth $477.04 million. The purchase is the second deal struck between the Lai Sun and Cosco empires in recent weeks and reflects the greater links being forged between the two groups. Earlier this month, Cosco bought a 20 per cent stake in Lai Sun Hotels International, 54 per cent owned by Lai Sun Development. The two companies have since said they are reviewing the possibility of managing hotels in China for Cosco's mainland parent, China Ocean Shipping Co. Lai Sun, controlled by Lai Sun Garment (International), said the purchase would not only diversify the earnings base of the group but would also pave the way for future business co-operation opportunities between Cosco and Lai Sun in China and Hong Kong. Lai Sun is buying the stake from Cosco Investments, which holds the 20 per cent stake in Lai Sun Hotels. The cost of the latest deal represents not more than 3 per cent of Lai Sun's consolidated net tangible assets.