Chinese firms' $55.5m land deal allowed

By Anne Gibson property editor anne gibson@nzherald co nz

The  Overseas Investment Office granted consent for China Merchant Holdings (Pacific) to sell 4.5ha at Chatham Hill, Gulf Harbour.
The Overseas Investment Office granted consent for China Merchant Holdings (Pacific) to sell 4.5ha at Chatham Hill, Gulf Harbour.

One of China's biggest road toll businesses has permission to sell land around Auckland to an associated company in a $55.5 million deal.

The Overseas Investment Office granted consent for China Merchant Holdings (Pacific) to sell 4.5ha at Chatham Hill, Gulf Harbour and 10.9ha in Matua Rd, Huapai, to associated China Merchants Properties Development.

The vendor says it is the largest toll road company listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading.

The OIO decision said buyer and seller were connected and both owned by the Government of the People's Republic of China.

"The transaction reflects an intragroup transfer," the OIO said.

"The rationale is to transfer the target's property development activities from the vendor, whose core business is developing toll roads, to the applicant whose core business aligns with those activities."

Sensitive land often includes farmland or property near rivers, the sea or lakes.

China Merchants Holdings (Pacific) says it is Singapore-listed and "is a leading toll road company focused on investing in and managing toll roads in the People's Republic of China".

"Currently, the company invests in and operates four toll roads totalling 367 kilometres. They are located in Zhejiang province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guizhou province in the People's Republic of China.

"These roads form the main component of the national and provincial road networks.

"Besides the core business in toll road, CMHP is also involved in property development in New Zealand," the business says.

The company has a big property development business, active in the greater Auckland area via subsidiary Universal Homes which has been going more than 50 years "and enjoys a respectable reputation and prestige in the New Zealand property market and among local communities".

"The company develops, builds and sells approximately 150 to 200 houses a year and is one of the largest residential property developers in New Zealand," the business says.

China Merchants Holdings (Pacific)

• Listed on Singapore's stock exchange.
• Has HK$12b ($1.8b) assets.
• Major toll road business.
• Owns NZ's Universal Homes.
• Consent for big land deal.

- NZ Herald

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