Friday, 22 June 2012 15:07
HONG KONG: Chinese developer Sunac China Holdings agreed on Friday to pay 3.37 billion yuan ($529.52 million) in cash to buy stakes in property projects owned by debt-laden luxury home builder Greentown China
A cash crunch following two years of austerity measures from Beijing to cool home prices is forcing property developers to offload projects to prop up balance sheets.
Hangzhou-based Greentown China, which focuses on the upscale homes targeted by Beijing's crackdown on prices, was the first major developer to start selling projects. Its shares have risen 58 percent in Hong Kong in the last month.
Sunac and Greentown said in filings to the Hong Kong stock exchange that Sunac was spending the money to take a 50 percent interest in a joint venture with Greentown, tentatively called Shanghai Sunac Greentown Holding.
The joint venture will buy nine projects held by Greentown in the cities of Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Tianjin. The projects consist of high-rise apartments and low-rise villas, as well as a stake in a villa golf-course development.
Greentown will have two seats on the board of the joint venture, while Sunac will have three. The property developers said they would invest equal amounts of capital in the venture if it needs further funding.
Trading in the shares of Greentown and Sunac was suspended in Hong Kong on Friday. The companies have requested for trading to resume on Monday.
The deal comes two weeks after Greentown said it planned to raise HK$5.1 billion ($657 million) by selling stock and convertible bonds to Hong Kong-based conglomerate Wharf Holdings .
Home prices in China declined for the eighth straight month in May.
Evergrande Real Estate, the second-largest Chinese developer by sales, on Friday vehemently denied allegations levelled by a short seller, Citron Research, that the home builder used accounting tricks to mask insolvency
Copyright Reuters, 2012