Greenland Group teams with Packer for Brisbane Casino bid

China’s most aggressive overseas investor has teamed up with Australia’s second-richest man in a race to win the rights to a multi-billion dollar casino development in Brisbane, Australia. Writes Michael Cole.

In a joint venture first reported on 18th July, Shanghai’s Greenland Group plans to multiply its investments in Australia by cooperating with James Packer’s Crown Resorts for the project in the capital of Queensland state.

By joining forces with Packer, Greenland now brings the number of bidders for the project, which would include a casino, a six-star hotel and high rises containing retail, dining and convention facilities, to two. As recently as June 1st there were four groups competing for the project before Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu-tung – who owns New World Development and the Chow Tai Fook chain of jewelry stores – merged his bid with Australian group Echo Entertainment last month.

Packer, whose personal fortune of $6.2 billion makes him Australia’s second wealthiest man, focuses his business on gaming, but is also attempting to get involved in China’s film industry.

brisbane-cbdUnder the new cooperative proposal with Crown Resorts, Shanghai-based Greenland Group would be a joint developer and the sole operator of the casino and resort while retaining an equity stake said to be up to 25 percent. Crown would also receive a management fee for its role in operating the facility.

*An aerial view of Brisbane’s central business district

Greenland would be the exclusive developer and owner of the remaining commercial, retail and residential developments on the Queen’s Wharf site, which would cover five square blocks of downtown Brisbane – approximately 10 percent of the city’s central business district. Details of the comparative financial commitments of the two partners were not immediately available.

State-owned Greenland Group already has A$1.4 billion ($1.3 billion) worth of residential development projects in Australia, and the Group’s Chairman, Zhang Yuliang told the press on Friday that Greenland plans to invest more than $18.5 billion globally this year. In his comments, Zhang indicated that the real estate developer is interested in taking on projects in Brisbane and the Gold Coast to complement its existing developments in Sydney and Melbourne.

Greenland Expects Overseas Sales to Double

In his comments while in Australia, Greenland’s Zhang said that he expects revenues for the firm’s main holding company to grow to $75 billion this year, with a 100 percent increase in overseas sales playing a major role in this growth. The company’s overseas sales stood at RMB 3 billion in 2013, while overall revenues were RMB 330 billion ($53 billion) last year.

Greenland has been the most aggressive overseas investor among Chinese real estate companies signing deals over the last two years for projects in Canada, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, the UK, and the US.

In China, Greenland has projects in more than 80 cities across 29 provinces.


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