The controlling shareholder of property and hotel owner Top Glory International Holdings is seeking to take the company private at a cost of HK$1 billion, the latest in a spate of privatisation attempts. The offer amounts to a 48.6 per cent discount to Top Glory's net asset value of HK$1.44 per share on December 31 and may fall foul of shareholder approval. Cofco (Hong Kong), a vehicle of state-owned China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import & Export Corp, said yesterday it planned to buy 1.37 billion shares it did not own in Top Glory at 74 HK cents a share. The offer, which values Top Glory at HK$2.44 billion, is the latest deal by listed companies seeking to unlock value and boost returns at a time of depressed real-estate and stock market valuations. Also on the privatisation trail is Kerry Properties, while conglomerate Wheelock and Co privatised Realty Development Corp in February and Henderson Land Development attempted in vain to take Henderson Investment private in January. Top Glory, which owns properties in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and the Gloria hotel chain in China, claimed to be the latest victim of depressed property and stock markets. 'After thorough consideration of the current market situation and the uncertainty cast by Sars, we firmly believe the proposal is for the benefit of all shareholders,' Top Glory chairman Zhou Mingchen said. Cofco, which owns 58.94 per cent of Top Glory, said its offer price represented an 85 per cent premium to Top Glory's last closing price of 40 HK cents on April 22 and about 70 per cent on the average closing price last year. Top Glory sought to update the asset value on its property assets through a revaluation. 'It is believed that there would be a diminution in value of the group's property interests. The Hong Kong property market has been depressed for some time and the emergence of Sars in Hong Kong and China has created further uncertainty, especially for the hotel industry,' Top Glory said. However, last month the company exuded confidence about the property sector in Hong Kong and China in its annual report. It said the country's World Trade Organisation trading status would spur demand for hotel rooms. Cofco is consolidating its Hong Kong operations. It raised its stake in main-board-listed edible oil firm Cofco International by acquiring Top Glory's entire holding of 21.52 per cent in the company for HK$844.09 million in January.