Chinese property firms Greenland, Macrolink seek overseas growth

SINGAPORE/LONDON Tue Jan 7, 2014 10:37am EST

SINGAPORE/LONDON Jan 7 (Reuters) - China's Greenland Holding and Macrolink announced on Tuesday property deals worth more than $2 billion from Britain to South Korea as Beijing's efforts to rein in housing prices force Chinese firms to try their luck overseas.

The deals come as the Chinese government steps up measures to cool the country's real estate sector, which has seen prices soar in major cities.

State-owned Greenland Holding Group Co said it would invest 1.2 billion pounds ($1.97 billion) in two schemes in London in its first foray into Britain.

It is buying the site of London's oldest brewery, the 7.75 acre Ram Brewery in south-west London, from property investor Minerva. The site, which has permission for apartments and shops, is expected to be worth 600 million pounds when completed.

In a second deal Greenland will invest 600 million pounds to build apartments on a 3,700 square metre site in London's Canary Wharf financial district, it said.

In a separate announcements, Macrolink Real Estate Co Ltd said it planned to invest almost 900 million yuan in property ventures in South Korea and Malaysia.

Beijing-based Macrolink's Hong Kong unit is setting up a joint venture with a South Korean partner with a total investment of 200 million yuan, with plans to acquire a land in South Korea's Jeju island for about 340 million yuan, it said in a filing on the Shenzhen stock exchange.

"Setting up an overseas venture is part of our strategic plans to go global," Macrolink said. "There will be some challenges in future, but the company will make prudent decisions to minimise risks."

Macrolink also plans to acquire a piece of land for 300 million yuan in Malaysia's Iskandar economic zone, home to the Legoland theme park. It will also set up a real estate firm in the southeast Asian country for 50 million yuan.

Major Chinese developers that have been looking outside China include China Vanke Co Ltd, Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd and Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd . They have been investing in real estate projects from Los Angeles and London to Sydney and Pattaya as part of diversification plans.