SOFT drinks company Yeo Hiap Seng (Hongkong) is selling its headquarters building in Tuen Mun as it cuts back its Hongkong operations. The 16-storey Yeo Hiap Seng Building, at Ho Tin Street, is expected to fetch at least $250 million. General manager Wan Ting-kwong said the company was talking to two prospective buyers, including a Taiwanese-funded firm. If the negotiations proved fruitless, he said, the company planned to sell the building, which has a gross floor area of more than 400,000 square feet, by private tender. Mr Wan said the company intended to move to Sha Tin, where it aimed to buy a 100,000 sq ft floor space. A fall in business since the company's franchise from Pepsi-Cola International to bottle and distribute Pepsi and 7-Up ended in 1991 has prompted the sale, for which Richard Ellis is the agent. Yeo Hiap Seng sold the Schweppes franchise to Swire Bottlers, along with its plastic bottle and returnable bottle production lines. Mr Wan said the lines were no longer cost-effective. Since then, said Mr Wan, the company had gradually trimmed its workforce to 150, compared with some 600 at its peak. Since the closure of its franchise operations, Yeo Hiap Seng's sales have fallen sharply. Mr Wan said the company now concentrated on sales of its own-brand drinks, and it was seeking opportunities to buy distribution rights to other drinks. He said the company was keen to develop business in China and planned to set up more production facilities on the mainland. Hainan, Shanghai and Yunnan were among the locations being considered. Yeo Hiap Seng is already involved in an equal joint venture in Guangzhou to produce soya-bean milk products. It plans to produce other drinks at the plant. A soft drinks plant in Guangzhou began producing some of Yeo's products early this year under a franchise agreement. Yeo's drinks and products are mainly imported from its Singapore-based parent group to Hongkong, or through Hongkong to China.