Construction at a 10 billion yuan (HK$12.44 billion) site on Shanghai's Bund is likely to be delayed as two prominent developers - Fosun International (0656) and SOHO China (0410) - fight for control.
Fosun filed a lawsuit in May against SOHO China and two other firms - Shanghai Zendai Property (0755) and Greentown China Holdings (3900). The three parties were alleged to have violated Fosun's pre-emptive acquisition rights of the Bund plot.
The first hearing of the case was held on Thursday in Shanghai.
Following the hearing, Fosun's chairman Guo Guangchang told mainland daily The Economic Observer that SOHO China chairman Pan Shiyi had offered 500 million yuan compensation to his firm.
Writing in his blog yesterday, Pan denied such an offer was ever made. "Fosun, as the first investor [on the plot], has no money to fund the acquisition of the remaining 50 percent," Pan said.
Fosun owns 50 percent of the plot and the rest is held by SOHO, which bought the rights from Zendai and Greentown.
"We have spent a lot of resources in the plot. Why did he [Pan] insist on grabbing the controlling right?" Guo said.
Both firms are seen as being reluctant to share the site.
Guo said Pan had earlier proposed that two identical towers be built on the site so that each firm could be responsible for one of the structures.
But Guo had objected to the idea as he thought such a plan was unlikely to be approved by Shanghai authorities. GRACE CAO