Business / Companies

Institutions lend support to Dalian Wanda listing

By XIE YU (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-17 08:18

Institutions lend support to Dalian Wanda listing

The 108th Wanda Plaza opened in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang province. Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties has already received $2 billion worth of purchase commitments from cornerstone investors. ZHU YINWEI/CHINA DAILY

Healthy appetite allows company to fix share price at top end of range

Healthy interest from global institutional investors has given Dalian Wanda Commercial the much-needed leeway to fix the initial public offer price for its shares at the top end of the indicative range, capital market sources said on Tuesday.

According to sources, the recommended price of the shares offered for sale by Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties in Hong Kong is HK$48 ($6.19), and is at the upper end of the indicative range of between HK$41.80 and HK$49.60.

Dalian Wanda Commercial, the property development arm of mainland conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, had earlier said it plans to raise funds from the capital market by selling 600 million shares in Hong Kong. At the current offer price, which needs to be ratified by the company's board of directors, the total capital raised by the company will amount to HK$28.8 billion, making it the largest IPO in Hong Kong this year.

The transaction, if it goes through, will also be the largest ever listing by a real-estate company globally, trumping the 2010 debut of Singapore's Global Logistic Properties Ltd, according to the United States-based analytics firm Dealogic.

But success for the company's IPO is still far from assured, considering the lukewarm response it has received from HK investors. Most of the investors have developed cold feet on mainland property sector investments, especially on companies that specialize in residential projects, due to their high debts and slow sales, especially in the second-tier cities.

But the lure of the government push for urbanization is too great an opportunity for investors, particularly the institutions, to ignore.

"Institutional investors are more favorable to Dalian Wanda than individual investors," said Francis Kwok, marketing director of Hong Kong-based Bright Smart Securities.

"Earlier the market sentiment about Wanda was a little low because of a general bearish attitude toward mainland-based property firms. The flat Hang Seng Index this year is also making people more reserved about new offerings," he said.

International investors, however, take a different stance, as they make decisions based on medium- to long-term consideration. Given that Wanda is the largest commercial property developer in the mainland, the company has its attractions, Kwok said.

Top executives said that the proceeds will be mainly used to finance the development of 10 projects-the Wanda Plazas (residential-commercial complexes) spread on the Chinese mainland.

"Wanda has been closely sticking to the national policy and seizing the opportunities brought by rapid urbanization. We are leading and pushing forward consumption upgrading based on China's urbanization trend ..." the company said in its prospectus, highlighting that experimental consumption has surpassed 50 percent of Wanda Plazas' lease area, up from 32 percent in 2011.

"Wanda's business mode has its competitive advantage. It is different from traditional developers that buy land and sell houses. It is a large owner and operator of shopping malls and will be a direct beneficiary of the emerging middle-class consumption in China," Kwok said.

To better tap consumers, the company is also planning to develop a domestic e-commerce platform through a joint venture with Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and search engine major Baidu Inc

Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties has already received $2 billion worth of purchase commitments from cornerstone investors including China Life Insurance, Ping An Insurance, Kuwait Investment Authority, and the American hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management.

On the mainland side, China's stocks rallied to a three-year high, sending the Shanghai Composite Index past the 3,000 level on Tuesday, on speculation the government will further ease monetary policy to support the economy after manufacturing data trailed estimates.


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