Dalian Wanda amends Sunac property deal after China curbs funding

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese commercial property conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group altered a deal with Sunac China 1918.HK announced a week ago, after banks scrutinized their credit risk, by bringing in another developer Guangzhou R&F Properties 2777.HK.

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In a joint announcement, Wanda said it would sell 77 hotels in China to Guangzhou R&F Properties for 19.9 billion yuan ($2.95 billion), and a total of 91 percent equity in 13 tourism projects to Sunac China 1918.HK for 43.8 billion yuan.

Chinese banks have been told to stop providing funding for several of Wanda’s overseas acquisitions as Beijing tries to curb the conglomerate’s offshore buying spree, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Sunac Chairman Sun Hongbin also confirmed to local media that banks had started reviewing the company after its deal with Wanda, and the company was in communication with the lenders.

The total price of the updated deal is around the same at 63.7 billion yuan, still the second-largest deal ever in China’s real estate industry. Under the original deal Wanda would have sold to Sunac 76 hotels for 33.6 billion yuan and the stake in the tourism projects for 29.58 billion yuan.

“All three parties are winners,” Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin told a press conference. “Wanda is definitely a winner, through this transfer, (we will) lower debt significantly, and collect a large amount of cash.”

He said that after the deal, Wanda’s property unit Wanda Commercial’s debt would drop to 200 billion yuan from 400 billion last year, and its cash would increase to 170 billion yuan from 100 billion yuan.

Sunac will also no longer borrow 29.6 billion yuan from Wanda to fund the deal, and it will take over a total of 45.4 billion yuan in loans held by the tourism projects.

Sunac’s Sun said the adjusted deal would help the company’s liquidity and lower its debt level, adding the firm had “ample” cash flow with 90 billion yuan of cash on hand.

The Tianjin-based developer’s net gearing could have surged to over 400 percent under the original deal, analysts have said.

R&F, which now owns 24 hotels around the world, said the deal would help boost returns for its hotel business.

“Both Sunac and Wanda were under capital pressure, the adjusted terms will benefit both,” CRIC analyst David Hong in Hong Kong said.

Writing by Clare Jim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Susan Thomas