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CalPERS approves principles for governance practices in Japan The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), the nation's largest public pension fund, based in Sacramento, Calif., has approved a set of principles that call for significant changes to corporate governance practices in Japan. CalPERS has more than $4 billion invested in Japan and wants to strengthen the director-shareholder relationship. Other changes include putting an end to cross-shareholding and improving disclosure.

"The Japanese market will become more attractive to investors only if it adopts a corporate governance standard that is more representative of shareholders interests," says Charles B. Valdes, chairman of CalPERS' Board of Administration. CalPERS has $24 billion of its $130 billion asset portfolio invested internationally.

C&W gets first international real estate concern granted by India Continuing its expansion into Asia, Hong Kong-based Cushman & Wakefield Worldwide, an association of seven of the world's leading real estate service firms, has announced the opening of two new offices located in New Delhi and Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. Cushman & Wakefield India Pvt. Ltd. is the first international real estate concern granted permission by India to operate domestic offices as a wholly owned subsidiary. The firm will be offering its clients research, advisory, agency and residential services.

"India has emerged has as one of the world's largest markets," says John Coppedge, senior managing director for C&W in Europe and Asia. "As new entrants flood the many different sectors of the economy, there has been an increased demand for quality real estate services."

Olympus Real Estate and Park Plaza buy interest in KHL With an interest in Australia, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Park Plaza International LLC, a full-service hotel company and Olympus Real Estate Corp., a national real estate investment firm based in Dallas, have acquired a major stake in Kemayan Hotels & Leisure Limited (KHL) of Sydney, Australia.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, which is subject to a KHL shareholder vote this month. Park Plaza, with financial support from Olympus, will increase its ownership interest in KHL from a current 13.1% to approximately 45%. The transaction is valued at $16.4 million with Olympus and Park Plaza earmarking a significant portion of their Asia Pacific expansion under KHL. Both Olympus and Park Plaza will remain privately held companies and KHL, which is publicly traded in Australia, will more appropriately reflect the group's combined hotel, tourism and leisure activities, along with its own major hotel branding strategy.

Brennan Beer Gorman designs new 600-unit luxury resort New York-based Brennan Beer Gorman, an international hospitality design firm, has announced the start of construction on Fantasy Beach Resort in Hurghada, Egypt. The $240 million resort is being developed at Abu El Makhedag Bay near the Rea Sea on 67 acres. With 600 units being built in two phases, the first phase currently under way includes a two-story, 200-unit hotel with beachfront villas and a walkway to the ocean. Fantasy Beach is scheduled to open in June 1999 and is being developed by Cairo-based Group Cleopatra, an Egyptian manufacturing company.

Hong Kong tourism industry year-end results decrease Hong Kong Tourist Association's tally of the total number of visitor arrivals for 1997, compared to 1996, showed a drop of 11.1% from 14.7%. In 1997, 10.4 million visitors arrived in Hong Kong and in December alone, the city witnessed 842,939 tourists, a decrease of 26.3% from December 1996. Canada, in particular, registered an exceptional increase for 1997, up 48.2% from 1996.

The World of ResidenSea, a 250-unit, 86,000 gross-ton luxury vessel, has sold 53 of its 250 apartments on board the world's first residential community at sea. The amount of sales to date has reached $100 million.

The project is a unique new ship designed to accommodate spacious apartment homes and guest suites to create an exclusive community and the first of its kind in the world. Oslo, Norway-based ResidenSea Ltd., an international commercial developer, has targeted a sales goal of $550 million. The company has selected the German shipyard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG of Kiel as the builder of the residential vessel and signed a letter of intent in November 1997 to secure financing for the project. The agreement is set to close in spring 1998.

"By achieving $100 million in sales, we have reached an important milestone for the company. This confirms the power of the product and our confidence in projections that we will sell the remaining 199 apartments before the delivery of the vessel," says Fredy M. Dellis, CEO at ResidenSea Ltd. "We are now in the process of closing the final building contract with the shipyard, as well as working upon completion of the financial arrangements."

Upon completion of the community, the ship will sail continuously around the world and residents will be able to stay in their apartments at any time of the year.

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