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Hong Kong courts

HMV store in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay faces eviction over HK$273,000 in unpaid rent at Telford Plaza shopping mall

  • Landlord MTR Corporation is taking legal action and seeking repayment by Wednesday
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2018, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2018, 8:41pm

A Hong Kong HMV store is facing eviction from its Kowloon Bay premises after failing to pay rent on time or secure backing from a bank, according to court documents.

The city’s railway operator, the MTR Corporation, is seeking at least HK$273,300 (US$34,850) in unpaid rent and other fees from HMV Marketing Limited.

The MTR Corp owns Telford Plaza shopping centre, where the store is located.

Court papers made available on Thursday show the rail company wants to reclaim the first-floor property due to HMV’s inability to fulfil its contractual obligations.

According to a writ filed by solicitors Deacons, HMV entered into a new three-year contract on July 3.

A condition was that the record and entertainment products retailer set aside a deposit with a bank as a guarantee of its ability to pay the rent. The firm was also supposed to ask the bank to produce a letter of guarantee for the MTR Corp.

But despite five requests since July, HMV had not been able to produce the document, the writ said.

The Kowloon Bay branch has also failed to pay a range of fees owed for November, including air-conditioning charges, management expenses and promotional costs. The outstanding amount totalled HK$273,300 as of Thursday, the writ said.

HMV looks to the future with mix of online video streaming, physical shops

The MTR Corp will be seeking interest on repayments if the music chain does not pay up by Wednesday.

According to its website, HMV has seven outlets across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The company’s three-storey flagship store in Causeway Bay also houses a cafe.

Established in 1921 in London, HMV almost went bankrupt in Britain five years ago and had to suspend trading in its shares and call in an administrator to restructure its business, due to stiff competition from online retailers.

Future of Hong Kong's six HMV stores in balance as it calls in administrators

Its Hong Kong and Singapore businesses were in 2013 bought out by AID Partners Capital Limited, a private equity firm directed by local businessman Kelvin Wu King-shiu. AID three years later sold the Hong Kong arm to filmmaker China 3D Digital Entertainment.

However, just months after the sale, HMV closed its then flagship store in Central. There has since been a shift from selling CDs and DVDs to more lifestyle products such as earphones and toy figures.

China 3D Digital Entertainment is part of a Hong Kong-listed entertainment empire co-directed by businessman Stephen Shiu Jnr. The company has now been renamed HMV Digital China Group.

HMV Digital China Group would not comment on Thursday.