Wanda exits Australia, USA next

Wanda exits Australia, USA next

Thu, 01/02/2018 - 12:52
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Wanda Jewel

Wanda's Jewel will become a highlight of the Gold Coast skyline. Image: Dalian Wanda Group

Dalian Wanda Group has completed its exit from the Australian property market and is seeking to sell its last remaining international assets, development sites in Los Angeles and Chicago.

The company confirmed this week it had sold its Sydney and Gold Coast projects for a cash and debt assumption package worth $1.13 billion.

Wanda announced to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange via its Wanda Hotel Development Company subsidiary that it would receive $315 million in cash for the assets, while AWH will take on an $815 million loan over the projects.

The residential and hotel developments were sold to AWH Investment Group, the Australian subsidiary of Chinese property giant Yuhu Group.

At Gold Coast, Wanda’s Jewel proposal, expected to be completed by next year, comprises a five star hotel and two luxury apartment towers.

Prior to the sale announced this week, Wanda held a 55 per cent stake in the project, with China’s Ridong holding the remaining stake, which will also be sold to Yuhu.

In Sydney, Wanda paid $415 million for a prime development plot at Circular Quay in early 2015, with a two-tower luxury hotel and apartment project scheduled to be built by 2021.

The hotels proposed to be built at both projects will remain under the management of Wanda's Wanda Vista hotel brand, the company said.

Wanda said it would use the proceeds from the sale to repay loans and settle transaction costs.

“The company considers that the disposal represents an opportunity for the group to realise its investment in both Gold Coast project and Sydney project, and would benefit the group by strengthening the liquidity and financial position of the group,” Wanda said in a statement to the HKEX.

Wanda’s exit from Australia comes after the Chinese government imposed new restrictions on the types of international investments it would allow domestic companies to enter.

The company also recently sold its stake in a London development, known as One Nine Elms, earlier this month, for about $109 million.

It is also seeking suitors two assets in the US, including a Beverly Hills development site where the diversified conglomerate had previously planned to establish a new headquarters for its entertainment division.

The Chicago asset is the $US900 million Vista Tower, a hotel, office and apartment complex in downtown Chicago.

A report earlier this week from Bloomberg indicated Wanda had spent $US2.1 billion in acquiring the assets.

“After the disposal of the group’s project in London … and, if the commercial opportunity arises, the proposed disposal of the group’s project in America, the company has no intention to terminate, downsize and dispose of its existing businesses in China,” Wanda said.