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    Tuesday, April 2, 2024

    China’s Vanke Shares Slump after Disappointing Earnings, Payout Cut

    The Hong Kong-listed shares of state-backed property developer China Vanke slid as much as 12% to a record low on Tuesday after it reported a 50.6% drop in 2023 core profit and no dividend payout late last week.

    The Hong Kong stock of China's second-largest developer by sales touched a low of HK$4.77. Its shares in Shenzhen, which continued trading during Hong Kong's holidays on Friday and Monday, dropped 5.2% on Tuesday to 8.51 yuan, the lowest since July 2014.

    Investors have been dumping Vanke's shares and bonds in the past few weeks on cash flow concerns, triggering a rare central government directive to help the Shenzhen-based company beat a liquidity crisis.

    China Vanke told an earnings conference on Friday it aimed to boost its cash flow by slashing debt by 100 billion yuan ($13.83 billion) over the next two years, and lifting income from businesses other than property development as it sees continued margin pressure in 2024 and 2025 during a market correction.

    Analysts were disappointed about the lower-than-expected results and no dividend for the first time.

    "We remain cautious on the sustained underperformance on contracted sales, while the current valuation has not fully factored in the earnings deterioration in our view," Jefferies said in a report.

    Separately, Vanke's business partner based in the north-eastern province of Shandong, Yantai Bairun Real Estate, published an open letter to the country's State Taxation Administration over the weekend, saying Vanke's management, led by its chairman, Yu Liang, had used the company to misuse funds, run a loan business at high interest rates and evade tax.

    In response, Vanke said in a statement to Reuters that Bairun's "malicious comment" was "gravely unfounded", and the business dispute between Vanke's unit in Yantai and its local partners was already subject to legal proceedings.

    It added the "false accusations and business slander" had been defamatory and that Vanke would take legal action to protect its rights.

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