Wanda to sell off $9.3 billion in tourism assets to tackle debt

Trader works at a brokerage. Reuters

Dalian Wanda said it was selling 91% of 13 tourism projects, which are typically made up of theme parks and leisure complexes.

The surprise sale gives Wanda possible revenue to pay down debt that has soared during an aggressive expansion into entertainment, tourism and other consumer businesses.

The deal marks Sun's biggest gambit, building on a spree totaling more than $12 billion over the past year as Sunac expands beyond its core focus on residential real estate.

Among the projects included in the deal were the Nanchang Wanda City, which the company opened previous year and that Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin had talked up as a competitor to Disneyland Shanghai.

Just a week ago, Wang was guest of honour at a banquet hosted by Yunnan province's Party Secretary when the billionaire revealed a 32 billion yuan (US$4.7 billion) plan to create a city-size project combining health care services, holiday resort and business facilities.




The CBRC had expressed concerns about the level of debt taken on by some of China's biggest groups, against a background of skyrocketing debt at corporate level.

"This cooperation will add a large number of prime land reserves and property assets for the company at a reasonable cost", Sunac said in a statement on Tuesday, citing reasons for the deal.

Wanda is among conglomerates including Fosun International Ltd., HNA Group Co. and Anbang Insurance Group Co. whose loans are under government scrutiny after China's banking regulator asked some lenders to provide information on overseas loans to the companies, people familiar with the matter said in June.

Sunac shares halted trading in Hong Kong on Monday, pending an announcement of a "very substantial acquisition", according to a regulatory filing. "The proceeds from the sale will be used to pay off loans". Four years later, it snapped up Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion.

THE Najib administration has been spared major blushes - but only by Beijing's reluctance to endorse Dalian Wanda's proposed massive investment in Bandar Malaysia two months ago.

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