Chinese Regulator Denies Approval for Wanda Cinema Line IPO

10:25 PM PST 07/02/2014 by Clifford Coonan
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Wanda Cinema Line's application for a $320 million offering by issuing 60 million shares was suspended because of insufficient documents.

China's biggest cinema chain, Wanda Cinema Line Co., has been denied approval by regulators to raise $320 million in a Shenzhen stock exchange listing, after failing to provide sufficient documents for an initial public offering.

Wanda Cinema Lines' application for an IPO by issuing 60 million shares had been suspended because of insufficient documents, according to the Securities Times, which is the only official newspaper authorized by the China Securities Regulatory Commission to release news on Chinese listed companies.

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Dalian Wanda Group, headed by Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin, is the world largest owner and operator of movie theaters. In 2012, the company bought North America's second biggest theater chain, AMC Entertainment, for $2.6 billion.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission had accepted 637 applications for listing by July 1, and 40 were approved and 597 were not approved, the report said.

According to the IPO prospectus, Wanda Cinema is 68 percent owned by Wanda Investment, in which Wang owns 98 percent. The other 2 percent are owned by his oldest son Wang Sicong.

Dalian Wanda Group is the world largest owner and operator of movie theaters. In 2012, the company bought North America's second biggest theater chain, AMC Entertainment, for $2.6 billion.

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Wanda Cinema Line and Wanda's commercial property unit were among the companies which were not given approval, the report said.

Other Chinese films companies, including China Film Group and Shanghai Film Co., are also planning IPOs.

Wanda Cinema Line's revenue rose to $645 million in 2013 from $484 million the year prior. Its profit climbed to $97 million, compared with $62.6 million in 2012.

In a statement Wanda Group said: "Thanks for the attention of the supervision department, our shareholders and the public in the last four years of preparation for going public. We will continue to actively explore multiple ways of listing."

Wang Jianlin has previously said that he was unworried as to where his company units made their listings.

"As long as we make profits, we can go public anywhere and on any platform. If mainland China doesn't allow us to go public, then we can pack up our capital and go public in HK. We have all sorts of platforms," he told the Xinhua news agency.

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Wang also said Wanda won't wait for too long to go public, no matter how and where they do it.

At the end of 2013, Wanda Cinema owned 142 movie cinemas in 72 cities in China. It has continued to expand.

Forbes estimated Wang's net worth at $15.1 billion on its 2014 billionaires list.

Earlier this year, investors had been worried that China had effectively frozen IPOs, after no new companies were granted permission to seek a listing for nearly two months.

China then allowed initial public offerings on the country's two bonuses to resume in early 2014 after a hiatus of 14 months, allowing around 50 already approved companies to list on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges.

In 2012, Wanda acquired AMC Entertainment, and at the time, many viewed the acquisition as a prestige buy on the part of Wang who had expressed interest in expanding his business internationally, but it proved to be a windfall. Thanks to a record year for Hollywood films in 2013 and an overall rising stock market during the period, Wang saw the value of his controlling stake in AMC more than double in the 18 months after the purchase.

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