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Court Approves Hong Kong Property Investment Trust


Hong Kong's highest court has cleared the way for the sale of public property including 150 shopping centers and almost 80,000 parking spaces.

The property will be sold to investors as shares in what is known as the Link real-estate investment trust.

The sale was delayed more than eight months after an elderly public housing resident challenged the deal, claiming it violated the city's housing codes.

After the court dismissed the case Tuesday, Hong Kong's housing secretary, Michael Suen told reporters no further delays were expected, although a new date for the public offering has not been set. "I haven't got a time table except to say that we will be doing it in earnest and hope to achieve it in the shortest possible time," he said.

Some of the proceeds from the estimated $3 billion offering are earmarked for the government's public housing authority.

Meanwhile, the Singapore-based Raffles Hotel chain has just been sold for a reported $860 million to a U.S. private equity firm, Colony Capital.

The sale covers 41 hotels in 35 countries, including Raffle's flagship property in Singapore, a 118-year-old hotel named after the city-state's founding father, Sir Stamford Raffles.

Colony Capital insists it will protect the legacy of the landmark hotel, which was designated a national monument in 1987.

In other news, Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile won a bidding war for Britain's bankrupt MG Rover.

The Chinese firm offered a reported $90 million for the iconic British company. Nanjing will shift some of MG Rover's operations to China but says it will still produce some cars in Britain.

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