Mainland developer Greentown China Holdings halted trading in its shares yesterday pending a statement concerning the future of its joint ventures with Sunac China Holdings. A senior executive told the South China Morning Post the statement would be published tomorrow, declining to give further details. That will follow a unilateral announcement on Wednesday by Sunac to buy the 50:50 joint ventures for 15.5 billion yuan (HK$19.4 billion) including 4.2 billion yuan in debts, following the recent termination of an agreement reached in May for the Tianjin-based luxury home builder to buy 24.3 per cent of Hangzhou-based Greentown. Sunac said in the filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange it had obtained Greentown's approval to take over the entire stakes in an offshore and an onshore joint venture, which combined own 17 property projects on the mainland. But mainland media reports immediately cited Greentown chairman Song Weiping and board secretary Simon Fung Ching as saying the two parties were still discussing the matter and had yet to reach any agreement. "The market is concerned that the plans might be postponed as Greentown has not made a similar announcement," said Edison Bian, the head of China property research at UOB Kay Hian. Calls made yesterday to Sunac went unanswered. Song had earlier said the two companies' cultures could not blend and that he had agreed to sell the stake instead to state-owned China Communications Construction last month. Some analysts said Greentown needed to get approvals from large shareholders CCC and Wharf (Holdings) to sell its stake in the joint ventures. These entities were built on Sunac's purchase of a 50 per cent stake in nine Greentown projects in Shanghai and Jiangsu in 2012 for 3.4 billion yuan, when the latter was struggling with severe cash-flow problems. Wharf was introduced as a strategic investor that year. If the deals go through, Sunac will benefit substantially as the projects involved are in key cities including Shanghai and Suzhou, and were believed to be Greentown's best-performing assets, Bian said. Mainland consultancy E&C Corp has listed Sunac as the country's 10th-biggest developer with estimated sales of 65 billion yuan last year. Greentown ranked 12th with annual sales of 53 billion yuan, based on a successful transfer of the joint ventures. Otherwise, Greentown's sales exceeded 70 billion yuan. Sunac shares opened down 1.14 per cent but closed with a gain of 3.3 per cent yesterday at HK$8.15, while Greentown shares closed up 3 per cent at HK$7.70 on Wednesday. The Hong Kong stock market was closed on Thursday.