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Possible en-bloc deal in the pipeline

SHANGHAI'S real estate market may soon see another en-bloc property transaction as CITIC Capital Holdings Ltd was said to be close to acquiring a high-end residential project in downtown Jing'an District from Macquarie Group.

CITIC Capital, an investment arm of China's largest financial conglomerate CITIC Group, is still in talks with the Australian bank and might pay about 250 million yuan (US$36.6 million) for the 16,000-square-meter City Apartments, a serviced-apartment development located at the intersection of Yan'an Road and Shaanxi Road.

"The deal has been under discussion for quite a long time and has very high chances to be completed," confirmed an industry insider who preferred not to be identified. He declined to comment on the price, however, as the deal hasn't been done.

Macquarie bought the 90-unit residential project in September 2005 for 400 million yuan and was reported to have slashed prices to some 300 million yuan to attract potential buyers, according to earlier media reports.

If the deal is sealed, it would be the second building acquisition in the city this year after the recent acquisition of POS Plaza by Shanghai Lujiazui (Group) Co.

The state-owned real estate giant, through two of its subsidiaries, acquired the office building on Century Avenue from South Korea's POSCO Engineering & Construction Co for 1.76 billion yuan, Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Co, a listed subsidiary of Lujiazui group, said in a statement last month.

That deal ended a long drought for en-bloc investments in the city since late last year when a global financial crisis and a slowing domestic economy began to bite into the real estate sector.


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