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Cash-strapped Chinese developer Shimao sells stake in asset to state-owned partner

Randy Mancini 4 Jan 24
Shimao Group in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: The logo of property developer Shimao Group is seen on the facade of Shimao Tower in Shanghai, China January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

January 25, 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese property developer Shimao Group joined smaller peer Agile Group to sell its stake in a Guangzhou complex to state-owned partner China Overseas Land & Investment (COLI) in a push to reduce its debt.

Shimao, which held a 26.7% stake in the Guangzhou Asian Games City, the same as Agile, said late on Monday it sold its holdings to joint venture partner COLI for 1.84 billion yuan ($290.65 million). Agile made a similar announcement earlier in the day.

Shanghai-based Shimao, which has defaulted on a trust loan and extended some asset-backed securities payments this month, has said it would consider selling some of its properties to lower its debt.

COLI’s stake in the Guangzhou Asian Games City will increase to 73.3% from 20% after the deals, it said in a separate filing on Tuesday, adding the purchases were good opportunities for it to “further strengthen its property development business”.

The Guangzhou Asian Games City is a residential and commercial complex with a total construction floor area of 5.9 million square metres.

Regulatory curbs on borrowing have driven China’s property sector into crisis, highlighted by China Evergrande Group, once the country’s top-selling developer but now the world’s most indebted property company.

Beijing has taken steps to restore stability, including making it easier for state-backed developers to buy up distressed assets of indebted private firms, a source has said.

Last week, Shimao said it had sold a commercial land in Shanghai for 1.06 billion yuan to a company owned by the Shanghai municipal government.

Shimao shares rose 3% on Tuesday, while COLI eased 1.1%. Shares of Guangzhou-based Agile dropped 2.2%.

($1 = 6.3306 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Himani Sarkar)