News roundup: Hong Kong’s Discovery Bay ferry firm seeks a 60 percent fare hike, and other headlines

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For PropertyGuru’s news roundup, Discovery Bay ferry firm has asked the Hong Kong government to approve a 60 percent fare hike despite years of bailouts and subsidies. In other headlines, Hotel 101 of DoubleDragon Corp. is set to go public with an equity value of USD2.3 billion, while Malaysia is considering extending its ongoing rail project closer to Thailand’s border.

Discovery Bay ferry firm seeks 60 percent fare hike amid years of taxpayer bailouts, subsidies

Discovery Bay Transportation Services has asked the Hong Kong government’s Transport Department to approve a 60 percent hike in ferry fares, citing a poor financial position despite years of taxpayer bailouts and subsidies, according to a report in HKFP.

If approved, single adult journeys to the Lantau residential area from Central will rise from HKD46 to HKD73.6 for non-resident Octopus card users. For registered residents using Octopus, fares could also rise by 60 percent from HKD33.5 to HKD53.6.

Free travel for children under 1 accompanied by an adult will be maintained, though those aged 65 and over, and children aged 1 to 11, may also see fares rise.

According to a Western District Office document, the transport firm cited “rising operating costs and declining patronage” amid an unsatisfactory financial position despite government support measures.

The Office said that the Transport Department “will take into account various factors, including the financial position of the operators, operating costs, forecast of changes in revenue and return, past performance of the ferry services and public acceptance of the ferry fare adjustments” when reviewing the fare request.

The proposal came three months after Discovery Bay sought to relaunch its brand with a city-wide “Live to Discover” campaign.

The Philippines’ Hotel101 set to go public in USD2.3 billion listing

Hotel101, the Philippines-based hotel-operations division of DoubleDragon Corp., is merging with publicly listed British Virgin Islands-based JVSPAC Acquisition Corp., an entity created in January as a “blank check company.”

The deal allows Hotel101 to list on the NASDAQ stock exchange. It’s expected to have an equity value of USD2.3 billion, according to DoubleDragon in CoStar.

The company plans to fund the global expansion of the Hotel101 chain, which is the hotel brand of DoubleDragon’s hotel division, Hotels of Asia.

Hotel101 is known for its “condo hotel” rooms which are identical, standardized rooms designed to drive efficiency and value. Individuals own the units, who can opt to list them as hotel rentals on Hotel101’s booking platform.

Blank-check companies are publicly traded companies designed as vehicles to merge with or acquire other companies.

Hotel101’s deal is expected to close in the second half of this year; the company has procured HBNB as its NASDAQ symbol.

Malaysia considers extending rail to Thailand’s border

Malaysia is considering extending its ongoing MYR50 billion (USD10.6 billion) rail project closer to the border with Thailand, as it seeks to reduce economic competition with its neighbour.

In a report in Bangkok Post, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the government is “open” to connecting the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) to existing or planned Thai rail infrastructure.

Thailand has been promoting a so-called Land Bridge, with ports in the provinces of Ranong and Chumphon linked by a road and rail network. It is seen as a way to create a new trade route that would bypass Malaysia’s most lucrative shipping route in the Malacca Strait. The mega-project is expected to require an investment of at least THB1 trillion.

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].