Avantaus, another Chinese-backed private developer with a presence in Australia, previously known as Sunglow, has placed an option to buy the remaining parcels of land at the housing estate of Wilton Greens in Sydney’s southwest for about A$240 million (US$157 million).
Risland on Wednesday confirmed it had entered into an agreement “to divest its partial interest in the Wilton Greens development, encompassing stages three to six of the project, totalling around 330 hectares of residential subdivision”, and said it would continue to develop the first stages of the development which it had been selling.
“The strength in the Australian real estate market continues to enable Risland’s growth and development, affirming our unwavering commitment in the region. The divestment also allows Risland to rebalance its portfolio and continue to seek new opportunities to operate in the important Australian market,” its chief executive Guotao Hu said.
Wilton Greens is Risland’s and Country Garden’s last landholding in Australia, and the finalisation of the sale will mark a wind-down of the company’s operations a decade after it entered the market in Sydney.
Last October, the developer sold another major landholding in Melbourne, the Windermere housing estate, to Singapore’s Frasers Property, for more than A$200 million.
Risland offloaded the undeveloped portion of the 366-hectare Windermere project situated in Melbourne’s west, which it acquired after beating out fierce competition in 2017.
The sale came shortly after trouble struck its Guangdong-based parent company, which has been in the spotlight since last July because of its liquidity problems.
Around the same time, Risland placed on the market the undeveloped stages of the six-stage Wilton Greens, which can accommodate about 2,400 house and land lots about 80km from Sydney’s CBD.
When completed, Wilton Greens will be worth A$2 billion and have a total of 3,600 houses.
The coveted development project benefits from access to new infrastructure being developed nearby, including Sydney’s future second airport, the Western Sydney International Airport and the Aerotropolis.
Risland’s parent company will be tested further this year as it faces a mountain of debt repayments. Its woes follow a string of other debt defaults by its Chinese peers, including Evergrande Group.
As China’s property crisis deepens, Country Garden continues to suffer subdued housing sales, with Chinese consumers reining in spending.
The embattled developer managed to escape several payment defaults last year, and has been reducing executive wages, including those of Yang Huiyan, the firm’s chairwoman and daughter of founder Yang Guoqiang.