Fosun International—controlled by billionaire Guo Guangchang—has agreed to buy back its 50% stake of Bund Finance Center (BFC) for 6.34 billion yuan ($995 million), taking full ownership of the Shanghai waterfront complex as the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate’s earnings rebounded.
The acquisition “enables the group to build a commercial complex project more in line with the group’s ecosystem,” Fosun chairman Guo said in a statement earlier this week. In 2016, the group sold half of its interest in the mixed-used property complex to boost liquidity and improve financial flexibility.
Located along the Huangpu River, Fosun said BFC is a Shanghai landmark that integrates ecology with office, retail, hotel, catering, entertainment, health, art and tourism. The 420,000-square-meter complex—includes an arts center (designed by English architect Norman Foster) known for its moving veils of bamboo-like tubes around the facade—is fully leased with the shopping mall housing international brands including French fashion house’s Lanvin’s flagship store in Asia.
Fosun—whose interests span across fashion, hotels, insurance, mining, pharmaceuticals, real estate and steelmaking—said net profit climbed 26% to 10.1 billion yuan in 2021 from the previous year, while revenue rose 18% to 161.3 billion yuan, bolstered by its industrial operations.
“In the pandemic era, global political and economic uncertainties have increased drastically, posing severe challenges to capital markets, supply chain management, and production and operations of enterprises,” Guo said. “Fosun responded effectively by leveraging on its industrial capabilities, proactive strategic and swift tactical adjustments.”
Despite the pandemic, Fosun continued to invest locally and overseas, acquiring Italian luxury shoemaker Sergio Rossi in June and German private Bankhaus Lampe in October. In China, the group started operating the country’s privately-owned high-speed railway that connects the south eastern cities of Hangzhou and Taizhou.
On Wednesday, Fosun’s Lanvin Group agreed to merge with blank-check company Primavera Capital Acquisition Corp. in a deal valuing the combined entity at $1.9 billion. The merger will facilitate the listing of the global fashion house in New York and support the company’s growth going forward. Besides Lanvin and Sergio Rossi, the group owns and manages other iconic brands such as Austrian lingerie brand Wolford, American womenswear St. John Knits and Italian menswear brand Caruso.
Hong Kong-listed Fosun has been building international brands including Club Med. The company was cofounded in 1992 by Guo and three classmates from Shanghai’s Fudan University: Liang Xinjun, Wang Qunbin and Fan Wei. Today, only Guo and Wang are still with Fosun, Liang resigned from the company in 2017, and Fan stepped down in 2015.
“After nearly 30 years of development, Fosun has grown into one of the few domestic enterprises that is equipped with global operations, investment capabilities, and accumulated profound technology and innovation capabilities,” Guo said.