Wanda Denies It's Facing Cash Crunch After Chinese Blog Post

(Bloomberg) -- Dalian Wanda Group Co. denied allegations by a Chinese blogger that the conglomerate was facing a cash crunch and that its assets had shrunk by more than half.

"Wanda has over 200 billion yuan ($30 billion) in its cash accounts, and over 200 billion yuan in revenue this year," the closely held group said in a statement on its website on Thursday. "All operations are normal, with no debt defaults."

On Monday, a WeChat account named "ibaoyouqu" published an article that said Beijing-based Wanda had been punished by the government because it outbid state-owned companies at the Bandar Malaysia property project. Titled "Wang Jianlin’s Waterloo," the article said Wanda’s billionaire founder Wang offered twice what the Chinese state-led consortium proposed for the project.

In an eight-point statement, Wanda disputed the allegations in the article, calling them defamatory. For example, Wanda said it visited the Malaysian project once in March this year but never engaged in any price discussions over the project. Wanda has reported "ibaoyouqu" to the police, it said.

"ibaoyouqu" didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment via WeChat.

Wanda also said:

  • In response to blog’s claims that China’s cultural exports don’t need a property developer, Wanda said it has made many contributions. Chinese films generated 80 percent of their overseas box-office receipts through Wanda-controlled movie theaters and Wanda did so without Chinese government subsidies.
  • Wanda had over 300 billion yuan in equity as of 2016, and its equity will continue to increase in 2017, contrary to what the blog, which said that Wanda’s capital was all borrowed from state-backed banks.
  • Wanda has very low employee turnover among big Chinese private enterprises, contrary to the blog, which said that Wanda’s average turnover period was 13 months. Among Wanda’s 40 senior executives, no one offered to resign this year. 
  • In response to the blog’s claims that the recent departure of two vice presidents reflected further signs that Wanda’s business is faltering, the company said those resignations were voluntary early retirements, and that the individuals still hold Wanda stock.
  • Wanda’s investments in the Changbaishan International Resort were not related to a corruption case, as alleged by the blog.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jing Yang de Morel in Shanghai at jyang543@bloomberg.net.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Jing Yang de Morel