China Evergrande Boosts Stake in Rival Property Developer Vanke

  • Evergrande buys 161.9 million Vanke shares listed in Shenzhen
  • Transaction takes Evergrande’s stake in Vanke to 8.3%

China Evergrande Boosts Vanke Stake

China Evergrande Group, the country’s largest property developer, increased its stake in rival China Vanke Co., renewing concerns about a potential battle for control.

The Guangzhou-based developer bought 161.9 million Shenzhen-listed Vanke shares between Aug. 16 to Nov. 9, Evergrande said in a filing to Hong Kong’s stock exchange after the close of trading on Wednesday, boosting its stake to 8.3 percent. Evergrande has spent about 18.8 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) buying shares in Vanke, it said.

Evergrande, controlled by Chinese billionaire chairman Hui Ka Yan, has been on a debt-funded buying spree in the past year. It built up its land bank in China and plans to inject assets into Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Real Estate & Properties Group Co., a property company listed on the Chinese mainland.

Vanke shares jumped 8.6 percent in Shenzhen on Wednesday, the most in more than six weeks, after Caixin magazine reported Evergrande and other investors may have further boosted their holdings in the Chinese real estate developer.

Little-known Baoneng Group emerged as Vanke’s largest shareholder late last year, prompting an outcry from the property developer’s management. In its earnings statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange in August, Vanke said uncertainty over its ownership had affected operations.

Vanke’s Hong Kong-listed shares have fallen 10 percent this year, while its Shenzhen-listed stock is up 20 percent. Evergrande shares have slumped 22 percent in 2016, paring last year’s 117 percent increase.

— With assistance by Lisa Pham, and Emma Dong

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