* Evergrande say sale will help it focus on property business
* Evergrande has China’s second-biggest corporate debt pile
* Assets sold to unlisted Chinese firms
* Evergrande’s shares up 1.5 pct in early trade (Add context on Evergrande debt, share move)
HONG KONG, Sept 28 (Reuters) - China Evergrande Group , the nation’s No.2 real estate developer, said it was selling non-core assets including interests in grain, oil and dairy products for 2.7 billion yuan($405 million), to enable it to focus on its property business.
Evergrande did not specify further how it plans to use the funds.
The move comes after Evergrande, which has China’s second-biggest corporate debt pile, has invested $2.2 billion in the larger rival Vanke, putting Evergrande in the middle of a high profile corporate battle for control.
This has triggered speculation among analysts that it could be considering a costly play for all of Vanke as well as warnings that the investment in Vanke will undermine efforts to control its debt growth.
The homebuilder had borrowings of $57 billion at the end of June.
The assets were all sold to unlisted Chinese companies. Evergrande shares’s rose 1.5 percent in early Wednesday trade to HK$5.45, outpacing a 0.5 percent fall in the benchmark index .
Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
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