* Lifts housing starts target by 45.2 percent
* Anticipates substantial supply growth by year-end
* (Add details and company’s outlook)
HONG KONG, Aug 3 (Reuters) - China Vanke Co (000002.SZ), the country’s biggest listed property developer, on Monday said it expected to see a greater supply of new homes later in the year in a robust market, and said it would revise up its 2009 target for housing starts.
The Chinese developer, which posted a 22.5 percent rise in first-half profit to 2.5 billion yuan ($366 million), said housing supply was expected to increase significantly as corporations began to accelerate the pace of project development and as enterprises’ investment appetite gradually returned.
“Market supply is expected to grow substantially at the end of 2009. By that time, the issue of insufficient new housing supply will be alleviated,” said president Yu Liang. Beijing’s policies to stablise the property market, a relaxed credit policy and strength in the stock market had led to a quick rebound in the mainland property market, Vanke said.
The property market is a major component of China’s economy, accounting for a quarter of all investment.
Vanke revised upwards its housing starts target for this year by 45.2 percent to 5.85 million square metres, from an initial target of 4.03 million square metres, to meet demand from end-users.
In June, Vanke said it was raising its 2009 housing starts target at least 30 percent, after receiving a sales boost from Beijing’s economic stimulus measures, to match the 2008 level of 5.23 million square metres.
Vanke, which bought 15 new projects during the six-month period, said it sold 3.49 million square metres of apartment space worth 30.8 billion yuan ($4.51 billion) in the first half of 2009, increases of 31.2 percent and 25.7 percent respectively from a year earlier.
Its cash and cash equivalents totalled 26.9 billion yuan at the end of June, up 6.9 billion yuan from the end of 2008, with a net debt ratio of 10.7 percent. The company said it was considering equity financing at an appropriate timing. (US$1=HK$7.75=6.831 yuan) (Reporting by Joy Leung, writing by Donny Kwok; Editing by Chris Lewis)