SHUNDE, China, July 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- On July 20, 2017, Fortune magazine released its list of Global 500 companies for 2017. Chinese property developer Country Garden (stock code: 2007.hk) was included in the authoritative list for the first time, ranking 467 with revenue of USD23 billion, sharing the spotlight with many of the world's most influential companies, among them, Apple, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Microsoft. Among the 10 newly-listed Chinese companies, Country Garden is the only real estate company.
The Fortune Global 500 is the most well-known and authoritative ranking for large companies with a global presence. The gaining of a Global 500 ranking is a recognition of Country Garden's rapid growth. By the end of 2016, the developer's sales had increased to more than 18 times the 15.8 billion yuan that was recorded in 2007 when the company went public. During the same time period, the developer's total assets jumped in value to 14 times the 2007 assessment while revenue surged by a factor of 7.
Country Garden's contracted sales totaled 308.84 billion yuan in 2016, making it one of China's top three property developers. In the first half of 2017, Country Garden moved into the top position with record contract sales of 288.91 billion yuan, a rise of 131 per cent from the same period of 2016. Industry analysts further commented that they expect to see Country Garden's ranking in the Fortune list to rise further over the next two years as the contracted sales convert into revenue.
As strong advocate and supporter of China's new urbanization process and a creator of green, Country Garden has reshaped over 500 Chinese towns by virtue of its modern development projects while improving the living conditions and quality of life for many of these towns' inhabitants.
Since its inception 25 years ago, Country Garden has cemented its success by implementing a balanced business strategy as it expanded across China, with development projects in over 500 cities and towns of all sizes and at all stages of development. The mix of cities spans all tiers, from tier 1 to tier 5. In addition, the firm has moved into international markets, including Malaysia, Australia and Indonesia, becoming a top Chinese property developer with over 900 projects ongoing outside of its home market.
Notably, Country Garden has maintained rapid growth while improving its leverage. With sales showing a year on year gain of 120 per cent and the net loan ratio declining 11.3 percentage points to 48.7 per cent in 2016, Country Garden became the only major Chinese property developer to more than double its sales whilst recording a significant decline in the all-important lending ratio.
Thanks to the strong sales performance and a successful conversion rate of contract sales moving to completion of approximately 92 per cent, Country Garden achieved net positive cash flow from operations of around 41.26 billion yuan in 2016, making it a leader across the industry in terms of this indicator. Looking forward, the developer expects to maintain sales growth and further reduce its reliance on debt.
Several international investment banks, including Citi, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan, have raised their rating on and target price for Country Garden since the beginning of this year. On July 14, 2017, Standard & Poor's raised Country Garden's outlook from "Stable" to "Positive" while maintaining its credit rating of "BB". This is particularly notable given the fact that the top three international credit rating agencies have each expressed concern regarding what they view as the overly high leveraging taking place among many of China's property developers.
In addition to its commitment to reducing the amount of leverage while maintaining steady operations, Country Garden has proactively expanded into new areas in recent years as a methodology for identifying and acting on new models for future growth. In August 2016, Country Garden announced its "Sci-tech Town" model for real estate development in areas zoned for industry. Tonghu Sci-Town, Country Garden's first Sci-tech Town project in Guangdong province, broke ground on May 17, 2017, with prospects looking positive on the basis of nearly 80 companies including Cisco having signed on as tenants or owners. According to industry analysts, Country Garden is well positioned for further substantial growth across the sector by being an active participant in the industrial transformation and a new round of urbanization taking place across China.
Country Garden has become actively engaged in socially beneficial projects alongside its commitment to constantly improving the quality of its development projects. As of June 30, 2017, the real estate firm and its founder family had donated over 3.2 billion yuan to a variety of charities and public interest events.