Huang Xiangmo’s Yuhu Group has left millions of dollars on the table after the Chinese billionaire opted for a quick and discreet sale of his North Sydney office tower rather than a high profile sales campaign.
The sale of the 15-storey tower at 20 Berry Street for $114 million was conducted privately between Yuhu Group and local developer Sarkis Nassif, of Holdmark Property Group.
An official sales agent was not engaged.
The contracted settlement period was just three weeks, compared with a typical settlement time of around two months.
Yuhu Group is linked to exiled Chinese billionaire and property tycoon Mr Huang, who was its chairman until he handed over the reins to his 25-year-old son, Jimmy Huang.
Mr Huang senior, who is under investigation by the NSW corruption watchdog, has been transferring assets out of his name since the Australian Taxation Office began asking questions about his affairs in 2016.
Several private groups from China were interested in acquiring the North Sydney property but they would have required approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board, which can take up to six weeks from when a deal is agreed.
The offer from the local developer, without a due diligence period and immediate exchange, is understood to have been the drawcard.
Industry sources say “a lot was left on the table” and that Yuhu Group could have reaped between $125 million and $140 million had it not rushed the sale.
That’s about $27 million more than the $113.9 million paid by Mr Nassif for the office tower.
Mandarin International Investment, which was previously wholly owned by Mr Huang, bought the 20 Berry Street property in 2015 for $59 million.
A corporate filing last February stated that Mr Huang transferred the shares in Mandarin International to his son after his Australian residency visa was revoked.
The Tax Office has told the Federal Court it may seek bankruptcy orders against Mr Huang, after raising concerns he had transferred assets out of his name last year and removed himself as a beneficiary of family trusts which hold the Yuhu Group assets.
A fortnight after his visa was cancelled Mr Huang offloaded his half share in One Circular Quay, a luxury waterfront apartment and hotel project at Sydney’s Circular Quay, and Jewel, a mixed-use development on the Gold Coast, for $575 million.
Yuhu Group was also close to finding an off-market buyer for its Eastwood Shopping Centre but a potential sale was scrapped after developer Poly pulled out after undertaking due diligence.
The Berry Street sale comes after The Australian Financial Review revealed Mr Huang was planning to sell the property off market in an unusually tight timeframe of just two weeks.
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