Chinese group Wanda says revenue surged in 2015

Wang Jianlin, once China's richest man, has been selling off parts of his real estate empire following a rapid diversification that left the firm mired in debt (AFP Photo/STR)
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Shanghai (AFP) - Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group, owned by the country's richest man, said revenue surged nearly 20 percent in 2015, despite worsening economic conditions in its home market.

Wanda, founded by Wang Jianlin, has its origins in commercial property but is diversifying into areas ranging from entertainment to e-commerce.

Reports say the company might soon take a stake in US film studio Legendary and Wanda is scheduled to hold a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday regarding an overseas acquisition.

The company said revenue was 290.16 billion yuan ($44 billion) last year, up 19.1 percent from 2014, according to a statement released late Sunday. It gave no specific figure for net profit though it forecast a rise.

The parent group is not listed but some of its subsidiaries are quoted.

Wang is known outside China for a string of overseas acquisitions including the organiser of Ironman extreme endurance contests and Swiss sports marketing group Infront, while it also has a stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

He burst into the international spotlight in 2012 by buying US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion and his company owns more than 200 malls, shopping complexes and luxury hotels across China.

The firm's cinema unit recorded a 49.9 percent year-on-year surge in revenue last year to 8.0 billion yuan, the statement said. Wanda Cinema Line, which holds an estimated 14.5 percent share of the Chinese box office, now has 292 cinemas.

The personal fortune of Wang, who is also chairman of Wanda, stood at $32.4 billion as of Friday, according to Bloomberg Billionaires.

China logged its worst economic performance since the global financial crisis during the July-September quarter, with gross domestic product rising just 6.9 percent -- its lowest level in six years -- and hitting several companies' bottom lines.

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