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August 28, 2009

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CNPC real estate deal raises doubt

CHINA National Petroleum Corporation did not deny that it purchased eight apartment complexes and two office buildings in downtown Beijing at less than half of the market price.

News of the purchase spread quickly on the Internet after a prospective home buyer told CCTV on Wednesday that his request to purchase an apartment in the third phase of Sun Star City was refused by a saleswoman. She said it was due to the CNPC deal.

Netizens have questioned where the money came from and the reason behind CNPC's purchase.

A senior executive of the parent company of publicly listed PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas company, told Beijing Morning Post on Wednesday that more details would be available after exchanging information with China Petroleum Huayou Beijing Service Corporation, the company's logistics subsidiary and alleged buyer of the properties.

"I have read some reports on the issue and am exchanging views with Huayou for the specific details," the executive, who asked not to be identified, told the newspaper.

The alleged deal became public after it was first reported by a real estate Web portal on November 9 claiming CNPC had paid about 8,000 yuan (US$1,171) per square meter for apartments in Beijing's Chaoyang District.

The district is home to the majority of foreign embassies and China headquarters of global companies and organizations in Beijing.

The market price in the district was more than 20,000 yuan per square meter.

The purchase of all the properties was reportedly for 2.06 billion yuan, which included the eight apartment complexes, two office buildings and two underground garages.

According to CNPC's Website, Huayun paid 9,476 yuan per square meter as a package price for the third phase of Sun Star City at Chaoyang's Siyuanqiao in March, much lower than its anticipated price of 23,000 yuan per square meter.

Online registration data showed the A and B buildings of the third phase as well as two underground garages had been sold and their land-use rights had been mortgaged by Huayou, according to a CCTV program, Oriental Horizon, on Wednesday.


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