Developer Evergrande raises China Vanke stake

HONG KONG, Aug 15 (Reuters) - China Evergrande Group has raised its stake in larger rival China Vanke Co Ltd to 6.82 percent, becoming Vanke’s third largest shareholder, the latest move in an acquisition spree by the property development company.

Evergrande, the second biggest property developer by sales in China, purchased another 2.14 percent stake in Vanke for 5.46 billion yuan ($822.54 million), it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Monday.

Vanke, China’ biggest home builder, is already fending off a potential bid from financial conglomerate Baoneng Group, which has a 25 percent stake.

Evergrande, with a market value of $9 billion, entered the fray on Aug. 4, when it bought 4.68 percent stake in Vanke for $1.4 billion.

Evergrande has been on a buying spree, investing in other real estate groups as well as companies involved in banking and solar energy. Last week, for example, it raised its stake in goods trading company Langfang Development Co Ltd to 15 percent. Earlier this year, it took over smaller rival China Calxon Group.

Vanke’s Shenzhen-listed shares rose as much as their 10 percent daily limit on Monday, while its Hong Kong-listed stock gained 2.7 percent. Shares in Guangzhou-based Evergrande closed 1.7 percent higher.

“Vanke is one of the largest property developers in China with strong results. The acquisition is an investment of the group,” Evergrande said in its statement.

$1 = 6.6380 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Meg Shen. Editing by Jane Merriman