Real Estate

Country Garden to Gain $428m From Wanda Unit Stake Sale

 

Troubled Chinese developer Country Garden said it is selling a small stake in a Dalian Wanda unit to reduce its offshore debt.

Country Garden said the sale of its 1.79% holding in shopping mall operator Zhuhai Wanda Commercial Management to Dalian Wanda Group should bring about $428 million, which would go towards restructuring of its offshore debt.

The deal helped Country Garden’s shares rise by 3% in trading on Thursday. The stock was also lifted after Country Garden, which has defaulted on $11 billion worth of offshore bonds, made a recent payment of 800 million yuan to onshore bondholders, according to a filing late on Wednesday.

 

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Country Garden, China’s biggest private property developer, is among a long list of companies in the sector that are either working on debt restructuring proposals or have presented them to creditors after having defaulted on offshore debt.

Dalian Wanda Group – the largest Chinese developer of commercial real estate – has also been under severe stress amid the liquidity crunch in the sector though it has not defaulted on any bond payments.

In particular, investors were focused on whether it could successfully negotiate with investors in Zhuhai Wanda, including Country Garden, who were promised that 40 billion yuan in shares would be bought back if the unit failed to complete an IPO in Hong Kong this year.

Zhuhai Wanda manages 494 malls in China. It does not own the assets, however.

On Tuesday, Dalian Wanda reached an agreement with those investors, which also include private equity investor PAG, for them to reinvest in Zhuhai Wanda at the end of the year after they were paid back what they had spent on their original stake.

The new agreement will mean that the combined stake owned by PAG and other existing investors in Zhuhai Wanda will climb to 60%. That compares to an earlier level of 21%, according to Zhuhai’s IPO application documents in June.

Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin’s stake – held through Wanda Commercial and another company – will fall to 40% from around 79% previously.

Country Garden said that it had opted to sell its stake in Zhuhai Wanda now given “significant uncertainty” around a future exit. It added that it would book a 160 million yuan loss on the sale.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

ALSO SEE:

 

China’s Wanda in Deal With Investors to Avoid $4bn Repayment

 

China’s Dalian Wanda May be Next Property Giant to Fall

 

China’s Property Sector Will Remain Weak For Years: Goldman

 

 

Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.

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