Caixin
BUSINESS & TECH

Lander to Sell 54 Properties to Build Sports Villages

By Wang Luyao and Teng Jing Xuan
Lander Sports Development Co. Ltd. has announced a series of moves that it says will help finance its plans to build sporting villages. Above, the Zhejiang Lander soccer team plays the Sichuan team in August 2016 in Tengzhou, Shandong province. Photo: IC
Lander Sports Development Co. Ltd. has announced a series of moves that it says will help finance its plans to build sporting villages. Above, the Zhejiang Lander soccer team plays the Sichuan team in August 2016 in Tengzhou, Shandong province. Photo: IC

Lander Sports Development Co. Ltd. will sell 54 properties for a total of $31.2 million to finance sports villages and athletic complexes across China.

The properties the company plans to offer for sale are in developments built by Lander Sports’ predecessor, Lander Real Estate Co. Ltd., in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

The Shenzhen-listed company also said Tuesday that it will increase its registered capital by 429 million yuan ($64.4 million), to 1.29 billion yuan. At the same time, it will increase its ordinary shares by 429 million shares. This plan has been approved by its board of directors, Lander Sports said.

After the increase, six subsidiaries of Lander Sports, including five wholly owned subsidiaries, will receive loan guarantees totaling 1.7 billion yuan.

The moves will help finance Lander Sports’ sporting village plans, the company said. Earlier, Lander Sports said it will build a 6 billion yuan hub in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, containing training areas, residential buildings and space for sports businesses.

Aside from the Yiwu project, similar Lander sports villages will be built in Tonglu and Puyang, also in Zhejiang province, and in Sichuan and Anhui provinces. The five projects announced by Lander Sports so far will require a total of 21 billion yuan.

Lander’s Tonglu sports village, located near Hangzhou, will be built on 164 acres and focus on soccer — and it will even include soccer-themed hotels. This particular complex hopes to profit from China’s increasing enthusiasm for the sport, which has among its fans President Xi Jinping.

“The next three years will see a total investment of 30 (billion) to 40 billion yuan. I will provide around one quarter, and the rest will hopefully come from the capital market,” Lander Sports Chairman Gao Jisheng told Caixin.

Lander Sports began life as a real estate developer, listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 1994. In recent years, it has rebranded itself as a sports developer.

The company’s debt-to-assets ratio improved by 36% to 20.15% in 2016, but its recent announcements of ambitious construction projects have some investors worrying that the company might be taking on too much debt.

Gao Jisheng’s family recently purchased an 80% stake in the English Premier League’s Southampton Football Club for $269 million after Lander Sports failed to buy the stake as a company due to tighter restrictions on outbound investment by Chinese companies.

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)

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