Property giant China Evergrande Group has further raised its stake in rival China Vanke to 7 per cent from 6.82 per cent, according to a stock exchange statement. In the latest move, Evergrande is also said to be in detailed talks to buy upmarket British housebuilder Cala in a deal which could be worth close to £700 million, a source told Sky News. Vanke’s Hong Kong shares closed 2.2 per cent higher on Tuesday, hitting a two-month high of HK$20.75. Its shares in Shenzhen gained 3.5 per cent to 25.79 yuan, recording a net inflow of funds of 230 million yuan. Evergrande, which is chaired by Hui Ka-yan, named recently by Forbes as China’s ninth richest man worth US$9.6 billion, became the third largest shareholder in Vanke, the country’s largest property developer, in August when it snapped up the 6.82 per cent stake. One of the most indebted companies in the industry, Evergrande has been aggressively investing in other companies, that include rivals and firms in sectors such as banking. In a statement on Monday, Evergrande said it had paid 557.8 million yuan to lift its interest in Shanghai-listed developer Langfang Development from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, becoming its largest shareholder in the process. A report on the background to that purchase, posted on the Shanghai Stock Exchange by Langfang, revealed Evergrande has bought more Vanke shares since August. According to Post calculations, it has bought about 19.86 million shares, at a cost of at least 450 million yuan. In the first 10 months this year, Evergrande overtook Vanke to become China’s biggest developer, with contracted sales worth 316.8 billion yuan, according to China Real Estate Information Corp. Vanke’s sales amounted to 310.9 billion yuan. Vanke has been embroiled in a tussle for control since last year when obscure conglomerate Baoneng replaced China Resources as the developer’s largest shareholder. Vanke’s management has been trying to fend off a hostile takeover attempt by Baoneng. “The control battle has a great impact on staff morale and team stability,” Vanke said in a recent statement.