The Real Deal New York

Meet China’s most indebted developer

Sun Hongbin's total debt to stock equity could be at 300%
July 11, 2017 02:20PM

Sun Hongbin

China’s latest economic regulations are aimed at reducing the high-volume accumulation of risky business ventures, as well as cut off the pipeline of cash between Chinese cities and real estate investment hot spots like New York City. But one Chinese developer appears not to be bothered by all that.

Sun Hongbin, the chairman of Chinese real estate developer Sunac China Holdings, completed a $9.3 billion acquisition of 89 hotel and tourism assets from Dalian Wanda Group, Bloomberg reported. While it certainly makes Hongbin’s investment portfolio much larger, it quite possibly also makes Sun the most indebted developer in China.

Although the 14-year-old Sunac is much smaller than acquisition rivals like Vanke and China Evergrande, Sumac is financing half of the sum of the tourism portfolio purchase, raising existing concerns that it’s over-leveraged. With the completion of the deal, the company’s net gearing, or its ratio of total debt to stock equity, could now be at 300 percent, supplanting China Evergrande as China’s new debt king.

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The company also operates on the tightest margins of any of it competitors, according to a Bloomberg analysis of 2016 figures. Independent research firm CreditSights gave Sunac an “underperform” rating on Monday, and pointed to the company’s over-reliance on debt. And many analysts don’t seem to think Sunac’s recent acquisitions are adding much value to the real estate developer’s portfolio. Bloomberg Intelligence has predicted the latest buying spree could mean the company’s net debt to equity, if one counts perpetual securities as debt and excludes minority interests, could more than double soon, rising to 499 percent from 228 percent. [Bloomberg] — Will Parker