Wanda Commercial Properties raises $3.7b

By Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-23 23:18:02

Largest IPO in Hong Kong in 2014

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, strikes a gong during the debut of the company at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Photo: CFP

Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd, the commercial property arm of conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, held its Hong Kong IPO on Tuesday, the biggest public listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since AIA Group's $20.5 billion IPO in 2010.

Wanda shares fell as much as 8.8 percent from HK$48 ($6.19) during intraday trading before picking up and closed at HK$46.75 per share, 2.6 percent below the offering price. The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 0.3 percent on Tuesday.

Wanda, led by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, raised about $3.7 billion after pricing its IPO near the top of its marketing range.

Despite the weak performance on its debut day, analyst said Wanda Commercial Properties Co has strong brand value and unique business model to underpin its share prices.

"In China, Wanda is the only company capable of opening a series of plaza chain complexes in a vast number of cities. Its brand value and uniqueness guarantee its value," Wu Chenhui, an analyst with chinaiol.com, told the Global Times Tuesday.

On October 31, Wanda just opened its 100th Wanda Plaza, in Kunming in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Li Yaolin, a senior analyst with Guangzhou-based Kingswick Research Center, said that Wanda has actually shaped Chinese urban consumption behavior through its continuous upgrades over the years.

"From a single shopping mall at the beginning, Wanda Plaza gradually evolved into a commercial complex constantly expanding to include new elements such as hotels, apartments, office buildings, cinemas, and residential buildings. Such integration enhanced the value of Wanda products," Li told the Global Times in a phone interview Tuesday.

However, one major concern that worried investors and forced Wanda, which first planned to raise as much as $6 billion, to cut the size of its planned offer by at least one-third is the huge bond and loan debt that the company incurred during the past 10 years.

As of June 2014, Wanda's debt totaled around 180 billion yuan ($29.27 billion), said its prospectus released in September.

"Bond and loan debt issue is faced by 90 percent of China's property developers. For a company of Wanda's scale, it is not surprising that it faced huge debt," Li said, who believed Wanda's debt issue is common among property developers.

In China, there are investors who closely follow the footsteps of Wanda across the country. Their active purchasing meant that Wanda did not have to sell its property in the open market and this has allowed Wanda to recuperate substantial capital before the construction of its projects actually begins, Li said.

The media generally tends to compare billionaire Wang Jianlin with Jack Ma Yun, founder of Alibaba Group and China's richest man, and predicted Wang would be richer than Ma once Wanda's commercial properties and cinema arms got listed.

But Wang said at a press conference in Wuhan on Saturday that he treats Ma as a friend rather than a competitor.

Wang admitted that e-commerce heralded by Ma's Alibaba Group is eating away at the off-line retail business.

But he said that e-commerce only has an impact on bag-style shopping, referring to goods that can be purchased in shopping bags or packages.

"Bag-style shopping only accounts for one-third of total consumption. Travel, culture and catering accounts for two-fifths. So Wanda began a few years ago to cut down bag-style shopping to under 50 percent on its sites and now we want it to be under 20 percent," Wang said.

"The biggest risk to Wanda's ratings is a sharp and sustained property market correction, which will result in tighter liquidity due to working capital outflows. Wanda has limited flexibility in deferring construction expenses for its capital expenditure and properties already sold. However, a market shock in China in 2008 was short-lived," global rating agency Fitch Ratings said in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times on Tuesday.

Wanda Cinema Line received approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission for a share offering on the mainland A-share market on November 28.

The movie theater company hopes to raise up to 2 billion yuan. Its A-share listing was also expected to be completed before the year-end, said media reports, helping raise capital to accelerate Wanda's expansion in entertainment.

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