A company in which Hong Kong-listed mainland developer Sun Man Tai Holdings has a 50 per cent share is to take control of troubled Pearl Oriental Holdings, according to Sun Man Tai chairman Qian Yong Wei. Mr Qian said yesterday China Wan An Group would acquire a 29.9 per cent stake in Pearl Oriental from Wong Kwan, who owns 50.17 per cent of Pearl Oriental, and avoid making a general offer. The takeover, if realised, will see Mr Wong become the second-largest shareholder of the troubled property company. The shares of Sun Man Tai and Pearl Oriental have been suspended from trading since December 7. Mr Qian said China Wan An was half-owned by Sun Man Tai with the remaining interest held by mainland merchants. He said the acquisition bid was launched because Hong Kong's property market had bottomed out while Sun Man Tai might inject some mainland property projects into Pearl Oriental for future development. Mr Qian added the company would also talk to Pearl Oriental's creditors for debt restructuring. In February, Sun Man Tai entered talks to acquire a 98 per cent stake in a residential project in Changning district, Shanghai for HK$156 million. However, the company has since terminated the deal, citing the global economic downturn and the knock-on effects of the September 11 attacks in the United States. Sun Man Tai also holds a Shanghai residential project for long-term investment. Pearl Oriental made a loss last year of HK$1.11 billion, or 8.3 HK cents per share, while the stock closed at five HK cents before its suspension last week. At June 30, its indebtedness was about HK$1.38 billion. In July, the company saw its luxury residential property on The Peak, The Genesis, repossessed by the Bank of East Asia.