Monday, October 25

Evergrande shareholder Chinese Estates’ stock soars on take-private offer

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HONG KONG — Shares of Chinese Estates Holdings, a former major shareholder of embattled developer China Evergrande, jumped as much as 31% on Thursday after it announced an offer to take the company private for HK$1.91 billion ($245 million).

The Hong Kong developer said Solar Bright Ltd, backed by the family of Chinese Estates’ biggest shareholder Joseph Lau, had proposed to take it private by offering minority shareholders HK$4 apiece, a 38% premium to Chinese Estates’ last traded price.

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Chinese Estates’ former chairman Lau is as a member of the so-called “poker club” of Hong Kong tycoons that included Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan, who is scrambling to raise funds to pay the company’s many lenders and suppliers.

Chinese Estates’ shares rose to HK$3.8 in early trade as it resumed trading on Thursday. It was suspended from trading on Sept. 29.

The Hong Kong developer, whose shares were down 42% this year before the trading suspension, said a delisting would reduce the costs and management resources to maintain the listing status, and it could provide more flexibility to implement long-term business strategies.

Chinese Estates was the second-largest shareholder of Evergrande with a 6.48% stake, before selling it down since August to 4.39% as of Thursday. ($1 = 7.7857 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting By Clare Jim and Donny Kwok; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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