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Swire sells 6.48m shares of HAECO


SWIRE Pacific last night sold 6.48 million shares in Hong Kong Aircraft and Engineering Company (HAECO), raising $246 million to finance property and industrial projects.

Shares were sold through London brokerage Casenove late last night for $38 each, a 6.17 per cent discount to yesterday's close in Hong Kong.

The sell-down represents a 3.5 per cent slice of HAECO and means the hong now holds 27.62 per cent of the aircraft firm.

Combined with subsidiary Cathay Pacific, it still has a 52.66 per cent holding in HAECO.

Confirming the deal, which went through in London, Swire group public affairs manager Nick Rhodes said: ''Together, Swire and Cathay have always held something between 50 per cent and 60 per cent and there is no magic formula saying it must be 56.1 per cent.

''It does fluctuate and the two will sell if they need to raise cash.

''HAECO's price is obviously attractive but really this is a means of raising finance for Swire in other areas of the group - financial commitments in the property division and industries division.

''So this is an opportune way of raising some finance for the group.'' The two companies are committed to retaining a controlling 50 per cent-plus share in HAECO, he said.

After expenses, Swire will net some $244.5 million from the sale.