Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co is close to reaching an agreement to sell two Australian luxury property projects – one in Sydney and one on the nation’s Gold Coast, according to people familiar with the matter.
The buyer is of Chinese origin, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. A deal could be announced in the coming days, the people said. Beijing-based Wanda declined to comment yesterday.
The sale would be part of a wave of disposals Wanda has signed in recent months to raise money amid rising Chinese government scrutiny of how it financed overseas investments over a decade of expansion into luxury real estate and entertainment from Sydney to London and Hollywood. The company’s hotel unit, which in November said it was reviewing its property projects from Sydney to Chicago, sold its interests in the One Nine Elms project on the south bank of London’s River Thames, according to a filing late Tuesday in Hong Kong.
Wanda had said in August that it wasn’t in talks to sell its Australian projects, following a report in the Australian Financial Review that parties were discussing a sale of the Circular Quay tower and Jewel resort projects.
Guangzhou R&F Properties Co, one of China’s top 20 developers by contracted sales, agreed to pay about $3bn for the 77 Wanda hotels in July, stepping in to ease financing for the conglomerate’s sale of tourism and theme park projects to rival developer Sunac China Holdings Ltd. R&F has also agreed to buy Wanda’s luxury hotel and homes project in London’s Nine Elms district, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified.
Shares in Wanda’s hospitality unit Wanda Hotel Development Co surged as much as 15% in Hong Kong trading before closing at HK$1.38, up 3.8%. Wanda Hotel owns 60% stakes in each of the Australian projects, a regulatory filing shows.
Units of the real estate-to-entertainment group agreed in 2015 to buy Gold Fields House at Sydney’s Circular Quay for A$414.7mn ($330mn) and nearby Fairfax House for A$73mn. Plans had included a 185-metre (607-foot) tower and a 160-room five-star hotel. Development costs at A$1.2bn for the Circular Quay project and A$900mn for the Jewel complex on the Gold Coast, according to the group’s website.
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