Troubled Chinese conglomerate CEFC puts entire property portfolio up for sale, sources say

Almost 100 projects with a combined value of US$3.2 billion on offer as firm comes under increased government scrutiny

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 3:50pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 9:31pm

CEFC China Energy Co, the sprawling conglomerate that has come under increasing government scrutiny, plans to sell its entire global property portfolio with a combined book value of more than 20 billion yuan (US$3.2 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

Almost 100 projects are up for sale, including office buildings, hotels, flats and industrial facilities, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations have not been publicly disclosed.

The properties, mostly located in big Chinese cities, include a smattering of developments in Europe and the United States, including a condominium at the Trump World Tower in Manhattan, the people said.

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CEFC, which rose from obscurity in recent years through increasingly ambitious energy and finance deals across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Russia, joins a growing group of acquisitive Chinese conglomerates including HNA Group and Anbang Insurance Group that are selling their holdings after coming under scrutiny.

Creditors of CEFC had formed a committee to review asset disposals, led by its largest creditor China Development Bank, people familiar with the matter said this week, adding that the Shanghai government had taken control of the firm.

CEFC did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

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The properties on the block include its headquarters, CEFC Mansion in downtown Shanghai, which has a Western palace-style design and Roman columns. Others include the Shanghai Tomorrow Tower, some floors in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and multiple villas and high-end flats across China, the people said.

A spokesman for the Czech-based unit CEFC Europe told Reuters that the sell-off “does not concern projects in the Czech Republic”, following initial reports that properties in the eastern European country, and others in Georgia, were part of the deal.

CEFC has pledged some properties to raise funds equivalent to almost two-thirds of their total value.

Attention peaked last year when CEFC agreed to take a US$9 billion stake in Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft, raising questions about the company’s origins, financing and possible links to the country’s military or ruling Communist Party.