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China Evergrande's shares resume price gains

Updated: 2017-08-30 08:34

HONG KONG-China Evergrande Group, the developer targeted by short sellers this year for its high debt levels, resumed a run of share-price gains after reporting a surge in profit and announcing a shift to a low-debt strategy.

The nominal price of the shares rose by 11.84 percent in Hong Kong on Tuesday to HK$25.5 ($3.26).

Evergrande pledged to target net gearing of 70 percent from 2020, compared with about 240 percent now, in an earnings briefing in Hong Kong on Monday, where it disclosed a jump in first-half profit. It also said it plans to raise 30 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) to 50 billion yuan from strategic investors in a third round of fundraising before its backdoor listing.

Evergrande's share price has climbed almost 400 percent this year, dealing a blow to short-sellers who wagered against the company after its debt soared during an acquisition spree.

The gains have been fueled by share buybacks and the firm's plans for a backdoor listing on the Chinese mainland.

The company indicated to analysts that its A-share listing could take place in the first half of next year, according to banks including Citigroup Inc. The firm had previously indicated the listing would happen this year, according to analysts. A strengthening balance sheet may mean that the listing is no longer "critical" for the firm, Citigroup analysts said in a note.

The company, controlled by billionaire Hui Ka Yan, reported a 250 percent jump in core first-half profit, which excludes one-time items, to 27.3 billion yuan on Monday, citing increased property sales and prices.

Revenue more than doubled to 188 billion yuan, the firm told Hong Kong's stock exchange. Evergrande said it expected to beat a 450 billion yuan sales target for the year.

Also on Monday, the company was reported by the Securities Daily to be planning to build 15 theme parks in China. It declared no dividend, saying that a special dividend would come after the firm's reorganization. CEO Xia Haijun told a briefing he did not expect shareholder Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd, controlled by the family of billionaire Joseph Lau, to sell its stake yet as the shares remained cheap.


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