Green developer Landsea courts investors with deep pockets

Leading green developer plans to scale up its operations by issuing shares to financial firms

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 1:31am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 1:31am

Hong Kong-listed mainland developer Landsea Green Properties is negotiating with mainland financial firms with a view to introducing them as strategic investors via issuance of additional shares, chairman Tian Ming said yesterday, without giving a specific timetable.

The mainland's leading builder of environmentally friendly housing, Landsea listed in Hong Kong last year via the acquisition of a shell company. It will finish its transitional period by the middle of next year.

It is part of a wave of backdoor listings in Hong Kong in recent years by mainland developers, including Wanda and Greenland, seeking cheap funding in the global capital market.

"We plan to select some big financial institutions as our strategic investors," Tian said. "They all have a mainland background. We are still in talks."

We plan to select big financial institutions as our strategic investors

"We want to scale up our property business via this listed platform," he added. "We will help it buy land plots, issue new shares to introduce strategic investors, and also sell bonds."

Landsea bought a 67,600 square metre site in Wuxi, Jiangsu, on Monday for 173 million yuan (HK$217 million). This year it has also bought two parcels of land in Nanjing, two in Suzhou and one in Shanghai.

The Nanjing-based group was also considering the injection of all or a selected few of its mainland projects into the listed arm, Tian said.

"We will have a slew of steps, not only one," after the transitional period was over, he added.

China Vanke, the mainland's largest developer, is also in talks to introduce some global strategic investors, chairman Wang Shi said last month when it transferred its Shenzhen-listed B shares to H shares.

Mainland developers have faced restrictions on raising funds through public offerings or debt issuance on the mainland in recent years. Many have opted to list their shares or issue debt in Hong Kong as a result.

Tight bank lending on the mainland and an oversupply of homes triggered a market downturn late last year. Analysts say property transactions could start to pick up in the next few months if developers cut prices more deeply.

Meanwhile, a number of cities, including Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, Wuxi in Jiangsu and Tongling in Anhui, have relaxed policies to stimulate housing demand.

However, purchase restrictions remain unchanged in first-tier cities including Beijing.