China’s Country Garden nears full exit from Australia with residential project sale

By Lewis Jackson

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Indebted Chinese developer Country Garden has agreed to sell a stake in an Australian residential project, the latest in a series of sales which bring it closer to a complete exit from the country.

Australian subsidiary Risland had agreed to sell its partial interest in most of the Wilton Greens development, some 330 hectares located about 65 km (40 miles) southwest of Sydney, according to an undated statement reviewed by Reuters on Thursday.

“The divestment also allows Risland to rebalance its portfolio and continue to seek new opportunities to operate in the important Australian market,” CEO Guotao Hu said in the statement.

Originally launched in 2019 as a A$2 billion ($1.31 billion)development of 3,600 homes on the outskirts of Sydney, the project has been plagued by delays and in October fewer than 50 homes were under construction.

China’s biggest private property developer is among a long list of developers facing a cash crunch since being hit by a debt crisis in mid-2021.

The South China Morning Post reported the sale was to Avantaus for $157 million.

Risland did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters about the sale price or identity of the buyer. Avantaus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sales outside China come as Country Garden works on its offshore debt restructuring proposal, after defaulting on $11 billion in bonds in October.

In October, the developer sold one of its last assets in Australia, the Windermere residential site on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Country Garden said this week it has appointed KPMG Advisory (China) Ltd as its principal financial adviser for its offshore debt restructuring.

($1 = 1.5242 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)