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ICELANDIC BUYER PULLS MACAU DEAL scmp.com

Icelandic investment group and insurer Sjova-Almennar Tryggingar have cancelled plans to purchase the sixty-eight unit Tower Four of One Central Residences for HK$782.74 million or HK$4,410 per square foot and walked away from a 30% deposit.  

The insurer had been looking for a new buyer in the second half of last year before it completed the deal, as Iceland was among the countries worst hit by the global credit crunch.  The balance was due before the delivery of the units at the end of this year.

According to a managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle in Macau, many buyers had shown interest in the project and were willing to take it over at HK$3,800 to HK$4,000 per square foot. Owners needed to spend about HK$700 to HK$800 per square foot to furnish the units, as they would be bare upon delivery, he added.

Units at One Central Residences, launched for sale in the second half of 2006, fetched more than HK$8,000 per square foot when the market peaked in 2007. But selling prices have dropped to between HK$4,800 and HK$5,000 per square foot in the secondary market.  

"Taking up the properties by cancelling the sale-and-purchase agreement will provide an opportunity for the group to realise an attractive return and ... to benefit from the positive outlook of the property market," Shun Tak said in a statement. He expected Macau's property market to catch up with the Hong Kong and Zhuhai markets soon.  If this were true it would certainly benefit the likes of LVS which has a bunch of apartments to unload at Four Seasons.

MACAU LOGS 10.45 BILLION SURPLUS macaudailytimesnews.com

Macau had a positive budget balance of around 10.451 million patacas at the end of May, according to The Macau Daily Times. This figure represents a decline of 35% over the same period of last year.   There were some positive signs, however; public revenue for the YTD rose 0.8% year-over-year.

The gambling sector is reported to have contributed 15.32 billion patacas through the direct taxation of 35%.  Total current expenditure reached 10.89 billion patacas for the first five months of the year, up by 111% over the same period of last year.