Sunac, Wanda seal China's largest property deal

Dalian Wanda to Sell $9.3 Billion in Hotels and Tourism Stakes

Sunac to buy Wanda projects for $9.3b

Dalian Wanda has not explained its thinking behind the sale, but the firm is heavily in debt.

Sunac's 15 acquisitions since the start of previous year included a deal with technology company Legend Holdings Corp (聯想控股) that spanned 42 property projects across 16 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou, Bloomberg data showed.

"This cooperation will add a large number of prime land reserves and property assets for the company at a reasonable cost", Sunac said in a statement on Tuesday, citing reasons for the deal.

Sunac plans to spend US$9.3 billion (RM40 billion) on 76 hotels and a majority stake in 13 other projects from Wanda, a Chinese conglomerate principally involved in property and leisure markets.

The 91% stake in Wanda cultural and tourism projects, located across the country from the northern city of Harbin to Kunming in the south, will fetch 29.58 billion yuan. The two parties are expected to sign an agreement on the deal by the end of this month.

Developers spent a record 96.7 billion yuan ($14 billion) in the second quarter on acquiring competitors or their assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. But given its larger assets of 771.3 billion yuan, the debt-to-asset ratio of 70.6 per cent is on par with the industry average and the 86.7 per cent for Sunac China.

Sunac, whose shares in Hong Kong were suspended from trading ahead of what it said would be a "very substantial acquisition" announcement, declined to comment further.

The deal marks Sun's biggest gambit, building on a spree totaling more than $12 billion over the past year as Sunac expands beyond its core focus on residential real estate.

Analysts said if Wanda continues to apply for the relisting as a "property company" it would be hard to get approval due to China's property market clampdown.

Wanda said it can earn more by managing properties than owning them.

But China is likely to see more such deals as companies are forced to pay the piper for rapid expansion, said Michael Every, senior Asia-Pacific strategist for Rabobank.

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