Vanke jumps another 10pc, as Evergrande hovers

Speculation mounts that developer set to double its 5pc stake in the embattled housebuilder

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 August, 2016, 11:13pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 August, 2016, 11:13pm

China Vanke’s Shenzhen-traded shares surged to their upper limit for the second straight trading day on Monday, as speculation mounted rival China Evergrande Group was poised to double its 5 per cent stake in the embattled housebuilder, which is at the centre of a takeover battle with its leading shareholders.

Within an hour of the opening, Vanke A-shares had soared by the 10 per cent limit, and closed at an eight-year high of 25.06 yuan.

There is strong suggestion that billionaire Hui Ka Yan, the chairman of Evergrande, is driving the surge, after also buying hefty stakes in two other developers.

Trading in Vanke shares resumed on July 4, after a seven-month halt.

They also surged by their 10 per cent limit on August 4, when it was first reported by the Chinese media that Hui had started buying its shares.

Evergrande’s only official statement on its intentions towards Vanke so far has been that it is investing because of the company’s strong financial performance.

On Monday, shares in Langfang Development Co and China Calxon Group Co, two A-share development companies, also rose by the maximum 10 per cent.

Evergrande has boosted its stake in the Shanghai-traded Langfang to 15 per cent after spending 291 million yuan on the stock over the past four months and has said it plans to further increase its holdings in the business.

That comes on the heals of it taking over Zhejiang-based developer Calxon, after purchasing 52.78 per cent of its shares for 3.6 billion yuan.

The book yield for Evergrande in the three companies, including Vanke, totals 11.6 billion yuan, which compares with 11 billion yuan core net profit the homebuilder earned in the whole 2015.

The battle of control of Vanke first spilled into the public domain last year when Baoneng Group, an obscure Chinese conglomerate, emerged as the developer’s biggest shareholder.

Vanke chairman Wang Shi publicly decried Baoneng as “unwelcome” and embarked on a plan to sell shares to Shenzhen’s metro operator – a move widely viewed as an attempt to dilute Baoneng’s stake. That plan was met with opposition from another key shareholder, state-owned China Resources Co.

“Evergrande’s track record suggests this is not the end of the story,” said Liu Feifan, an analyst with Guotai Junan Securities on Monday, a view shared by other analysts contacted by South China Morning Post.

“Hui is very likely to increase his shares in Vanke.”

Evergrande spent 9.97 billion yuan between July 25 and August 8 building a 5 per cent stake in Vanke’s A-shares, according to a statement filed by Vanke with Shenzhen Stock Exchange on August 8, making it the company’s fourth largest shareholder.

The company spent an average 18.06 yuan on the Vanke shares it owns, and the share price has now surged to 25.06 yuan, a 38.8 per cent rise, giving the Guangdong developer a 3.87 billion yuan financial gain so far.

Data released after trading on Monday showed a Shenzhen outlet of Guosen Securities bought a net 776 million yuan worth of Vanke’s shares, the biggest buyer of the stock.

On Friday a Guangzhou outlet of Essence Securities, just 1 kilometer from Evergrande’s headquarters, was the biggest buyer with 685 million yuan’s worth.

That branch was also the third largest buyer of Vanke shares on August 4, when the price surged 10 per cent.

Also on Friday, Aberdeen Asset Management revealed it had sold its holdings in Vanke, citing uncertainty over the developer’s future amid its protracted ownership struggle.

Other investment managers and advisers have also cut their positions in Vanke’s Shenzhen-traded stock to 7.2 per cent of publicly-reported holdings from 19 per cent in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vanke share in Hong Kong rose 2.71 per cent to close at HK$20.5 on Monday, and Evergrande’s rose 1.87 per cent to close at HK$5.87.