Dalian Wanda, the Chinese property group, has announced plans for a clutch of new acquisitions and the formation of a financial holding company, as it extends efforts to branch out from real estate.
The privately held company, which in December listed its commercial property arm in Hong Kong, said yesterday that it would make six more acquisitions in non-property sectors this year — half of them domestic and the other half foreign — as part of a major reorganisation of its businesses.
According to the plans, posted on its website, the financial holding company is to be one of four “pillars” or business units, and reflects optimism about the financial sector in spite of the stock market gloom of the past four weeks.
“Wanda will complete acquisitions of banks, security and insurance companies, and form the Wanda financial group with the existing Wanda Investment Company,” the company said.
Michael Cole, at Mingtiandi, an online real estate information service, said: “It looks like they’re betting that the stock market crisis will be a blip, and that the government will get this under control.”
The Wanda finance arm will focus on “internet plus” finance, according to Wang Jianlin, Wanda’s chairman, using a government-favoured buzzword aimed at encouraging integration of offline business with online ecommerce.
In June, the company took its first steps in this direction when it raised $800m through crowdfunding for a series of shopping plazas, by offering a guaranteed 12 per cent return generated by rentals of completed developments.
Wanda, China’s largest commercial-property developer, plans to reorganise four key business areas — finance, entertainment, commercial property and ecommerce — into the four key pillars, according to its statement. Analysts said the move was probably aimed at more initial public offerings. “This looks like a manoeuvre to create more IPOs,” said Mr Cole. “My guess is that more divisions means more possible stock listings.”
Privately held Wanda, owned by Mr Wang and his family, raised $3.7bn from the Hong Kong listing of its commercial real estate arm last year.
Earlier this month the company announced plans to raise up to Rmb12bn ($1.9bn) through another share offering in China , aimed at funding five projects under way on the mainland, where its mixed-use Wanda Plaza developments are familiar sights in cities.