Caixin
Mar 02, 2018 07:34 PM
PROPERTY

Wanda Commercial Changes Name to Signal Shift in Focus

Dalian Wanda Plaza is seen in Liaoning province on Feb. 20. Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. said the new business scope of its newly renamed Wanda Commercial Management Group will not be limited to real estate development and sales, but also include commercial management and investment in office blocks. Photo: VCG
Dalian Wanda Plaza is seen in Liaoning province on Feb. 20. Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. said the new business scope of its newly renamed Wanda Commercial Management Group will not be limited to real estate development and sales, but also include commercial management and investment in office blocks. Photo: VCG

In a move symbolic of its shift in focus from property development to managing existing real estate assets, Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co. Ltd. has officially changed its name to Wanda Commercial Management Group.

“In line with our organizational strategic development, Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties has been renamed Wanda Commercial Management Group,” the company said in a statement.

The name change was completed on Feb. 22.

The company’s new business scope will not be limited to real estate development and sales, but also include commercial management and investment in office blocks, residential units, shopping malls and hotels, the statement said.

Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. Chairman Wang Jianlin said in January that the group is transforming its commercial property arm into one that operates and manages assets instead of owning them. This will increase the company’s market valuation and streamline its business models going forward, he said.

“Wanda Commercial has a clear business strategy which includes retreating from its development and hotel businesses,” Kaven Tsang, an analyst at Hong Kong-based Moody’s Investors Service, wrote in a report on Feb. 1. “If the disposals of its discontinued businesses are successful, the company’s offshore debt could be substantially repaid with the related proceeds.”

Wanda Hotel Development Co. Ltd., of which Wanda Commercial owns 65%, said in late January it’s shedding two Australian projects to a third party for AU$1.13 billion ($880.5 million), as the debt-ridden Wanda Group vows to continue to lower its debt levels.

On the same day, Wanda Group also announced a consortium led by internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., retail operator Suning Holdings Group, e-commerce company JD.com Inc. and real estate developer Sunac China Holdings Ltd. is spending in 34 billion yuan ($5.37 billion) to purchase 14% of Wanda Commercial.

Market observers said the move will boost the company’s valuation if Wanda Commercial goes public with these big-name investors. The company was delisted in Hong Kong in September 2016, and is among a wave of Chinese companies aiming for a listing on the Chinese mainland instead.

Wanda Commercial is Wanda Group’s flagship arm. It is the world’s biggest commercial property company, with 31.51 million square meters (339.2 million square feet) of operating commercial property space at the end of last year.

Contact reporter Jason Tan (jasontan@caixin.com)

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