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16 Dec, 2012

Indian, Chinese Real Estate Giants Sign US$1.5 billion Tie-up Deal

By Wang Ying in Shanghai (China Daily)

Shanghai, 15 Dec 2012 – The Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, a well-known commercial property developer, has decided to cooperate with Reliance Group, a large conglomerate led by the Indian billionaire Anil Ambani, to develop real estate projects in India.

A worker at Wanda Plaza in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province. Dalian Wanda Group has stepped up its overseas expansion as the domestic property market yields lower returns. [Yan Daming / for China Daily]

The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday to establish a joint venture to develop integrated township projects, including commercial and residential apartments, hotels and retail space, reported the Times of India on the same day, citing Reliance’s press statement.

The two companies will examine a land development project in Navi Mumbai, a satellite city of India’s financial capital, and a 32-hectare site in Hyderabad, a fast-growing western city, the UK-based Financial Times reported on Friday.

Although the two firms didn’t reveal the amount of the investment, a source with knowledge of the two Indian projects estimated, it could be between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.

Zhao Zhenyi, an analyst with Industrial Securities, said a relatively large number of property developers are seeking investment opportunities overseas but are having trouble finding good ones.

“It’s good that Wanda can find a partner to explore the Indian market with,” Zhao said.

Analysts said it’s extremely important for a company to have a good partner when it is considering making investments in unfamiliar markets, which tend to contain many risks.

Given that Wanda enjoys strong capital flow and is likely to gain some experience from working with Reliance Group, the proposed investment is worth making, Zhao said.

Analysts said Dalian Wanda has hastened its overseas expansion as the domestic property market yields lower returns on investments. On May 21, Wanda Group announced the purchase of AMC Entertainment Inc for $2.6 billion, turning it into the biggest theater operator in the United States.

Wanda Group owns 220 billion yuan ($35 billion) worth of assets in China, including shopping malls, cinemas, apartments and filmmaking studios. The company is also a force in the cinema business, having more than 6,000 screens in the world.

Public information shows the Liaoning province-based group generated 105.1 billion yuan in operating income in 2011. The firm has also set itself the goal of having 300 billion yuan in assets and 200 billion yuan in revenue in 2015.

“Domestic property developers can hardly repeat the high-growth sprees they had between 2005 and 2010, and it’s natural for them to look overseas,” said Hui Jianqiang, research director of Beijing Zhongfangyanxie Technology Service Ltd.

Wanda is still privately owned, but analysts say it has met all of the criteria for becoming both a public and multinational company.