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Wanda chief survives poor IPO

2014-12-24 10:39 China Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Wang Jianlin ranks 3rd on Asia's rich list, trailing Li Ka-shing and Jack Ma

A poor performance by Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties shares on their Hong Kong debut is expected to merely dent the personal wealth of Wang Jianlin, chairman of holding company Dalian Wanda Group.

His ranking as the second-richest man on the Chinese mainland is widely thought to have remained unchallenged.

However, the unexpected shares setback has put him further behind Jack Ma of Alibaba on the rich list.

Dalian Wanda, which raised $3.7 billion in the largest initial public offering in Asia, fell on its first day of trading on Tuesday.

Shares in Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, the world's second-largest developer of shopping malls and offices, fell by as much as 8.8 percent from their offer price of HK$48 ($6.2) in morning trading.

They regained ground later in the day to close at HK$46.75. The Hang Seng Index was 0.3 percent down.

Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, which compiles the widely followed Chinese rich list, predicted this month that Wanda's share price would have to rise by at least 30 percent for Wang to overtake Ma as China's richest.

In comparison, Ma's Alibaba soared by 38 percent on its New York Stock Exchange debut.

Stock analysts and wealth watchers say Wanda Commercial's cool reception on its Hong Kong debut has reduced the value of Wang's stake in the company by about $300 million.

This is about 1.2 percent of Wang's estimated personal net worth of $24.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index.

But Wang is still ahead of Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, ensuring that the top three places on the list of Asia's wealthiest are all Chinese.

On the list, Wang ranks third after Hong Kong property tycoon Li Ka-shing, who has $29.4 billion, and Ma with $29.1 billion.

Analysts said a setback on the first day of trading isn't uncommon for IPO stocks. "An IPO does not end in one day. The closing price of Wanda Commercial was in line with market expectations,"Hoogewerf said.

"Unlike the information technology industry, the real estate sector has been slowing down. But the downturn will provide great opportunities for well-financed real estate developers to expand," Hoogewerf added.

The Wanda Commercial IPO has helped Wang to fulfill one of his dreams, Hoogewerf said. "To top the rich list is not what Wang wanted; rather, he wanted the largest IPO."

Hoogewerf said more Chinese companies have been tapping overseas capital markets for funding this year.

"We have seen more action on the international front than in the previous 15 years added together," he said.

Stock analysts said Hong Kong investors are wary of mainland property stocks because of slow property sales in many cities.

But they said many overseas institutional investors remain optimistic about the prospects for the mainland property sector, and are particularly interested in the bigger commercial property players.

Hong Kong-based AMTD Financial Planning gave Dalian Wanda a "buy" rating on Wednesday.

In a note, it said the company has diversified sources for income based on its business in commercial property development, running hotels and renting property complexes, which makes it less affected by housing market policies.

Fitch Ratings gave Dalian Wanda Commercial Property a BBB+/stable rating on Sunday, saying the IPO has helped to drive down the company's leverage.

"Wanda has the largest commercial property portfolio in China with 159 Wanda Plaza and six Wanda City projects that are already operational or under development," Fitch Ratings analyst Lim Su Aik wrote in a report.

"Furthermore, it has maintained a strong track record for timely delivery of projects, high occupancy rates and continued rental rate growth."

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