Forest City developer Country Garden plans HK$23.5b bond, share sale to cut debt

HONG KONG (REUTERS)- Chinese property developer Country Garden Holdings said on Wednesday (Jan 17) it plans to raise HK$23.5 billion (S$3.97 billion) through the sale of new shares and convertible bonds to reduce debt and provide working capital.

Country Garden said it plans to issue 460 million shares to its major shareholder Concrete Win Ltd at HK$17.13 apiece. Concrete Win would pay for the new shares once it has sold the same amount of its existing Country Garden shares at the same price, it said.

The developer said it also planned to issue HK$15.6 billion worth of bonds convertible into 758.90 million shares at HK$20.556 each to third-party buyers.

Once the share sale and bond issue are completed, Concrete Win's stake Country Garden will be reduced to 54.79 per cent from 57.93 per cent at present, it said.

China property stocks were among the best performers in Hong Kong in 2017, propelled by robust sales, with Country Garden climbing 270 per cent. The strong growth has raised some concerns about high levels of debt as developers borrow to buy land.

Country Garden is the developer of the US$100 billion Forest City project at Iskandar, Johor in Malaysia.

Its shares slid 4.8 per cent in early trade on Wednesday, compared with a 0.1 per cent fall in the benchmark index.