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China Evergrande boosts stake in rival property developer Vanke

Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 10:53

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China Evergrande Group, the country's largest property developer, increased its stake in rival China Vanke Co, renewing concerns about a potential battle for control.

[SHANGHAI] China Evergrande Group, the country's largest property developer, increased its stake in rival China Vanke Co, renewing concerns about a potential battle for control.

The Guangzhou-based developer bought 161.9 million Shenzhen-listed Vanke shares between Aug 16 to Nov 9, Evergrande said in a filing to Hong Kong's stock exchange after the close of trading on Wednesday, boosting its stake to 8.3 percent. Evergrande has spent about $2.8 billion buying shares in Vanke, it said.

Evergrande, controlled by Chinese billionaire chairman Hui Ka Yan, has been on a debt-funded buying spree in the past year. It built up its land bank in China and plans to inject assets into Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Real Estate & Properties Group Co, a property company listed on the Chinese mainland.

Vanke shares jumped 8.6 per cent in Shenzhen on Wednesday, the most in more than six weeks, after Caixin magazine reported Evergrande and other investors may have further boosted their holdings in the Chinese real estate developer.

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Little-known Baoneng Group emerged as Vanke's largest shareholder late last year, prompting an outcry from the property developer's management. In its earnings statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange in August, Vanke said uncertainty over its ownership had affected operations.

Vanke's Hong Kong-listed shares have fallen 10 percent this year, while its Shenzhen-listed stock is up 20 percent. Evergrande shares have slumped 22 per cent in 2016, paring last year's 117 per cent increase.

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