International

Century 21 China Real Estate booted from New York Stock Exchange

Parent company remains 'determined to grow business'

Century 21 China Real Estate’s parent company, IFM Investments Ltd., has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after its market capitalization fell below a required minimum.

Trading in IFM Investments under the ticker “CTC” on the NYSE was suspended after markets closed Friday because the company’s market capitalization averaged less than $15 million over a consecutive 30-trading day period.

The company said it was applying for quotation of its American depository shares (ADS) on the OTCQX over-the-counter marketplace. For now, trading of IFM Investments’ American depositary shares — each equal to 45 ordinary shares of CTC — continues on the OTC Pink market.

IFM — the exclusive franchisor of the Century 21 brand in China — has been struggling since 2013, when Chinese authorities introduced measures intended to curb real estate speculation, including new capital gains tax regulations, higher down payment ratios, ceilings on new home prices, and limits on investor purchases.

Last August, IFM said the NYSE had approved a plan that called for the company to bring its market capitalization up to $50 million within 18 months.

In October, the operator of a leading Chinese real estate portal, SouFun, said it planned to take a $51 million stake in IFM as a “strategic partner.” But the deal fell through last month when the struggling franchisor of the Century 21 brand in China was unable to obtain third-party consent.

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More recently, Century 21 China Real Estate has announced a new incentive program for sales managers at company-owned brokerages, and plans to expand its mortgage management services business.

We are determined to grow our business by capitalizing on the significant opportunities in China’s real estate services industry."

In a statement, IFM Investments Chairman and CEO Donald Zhang said delisting “will not deter us from continuing to strive to achieve our company’s goals.”

“We are determined to grow our business by capitalizing on the significant opportunities in China’s real estate services industry,” Zhang said. “We will continue to strengthen our real estate brokerage and other business in China, and will continue to pursue value for our shareholders and uphold corporate governance standards as a public company.”

In its most recent quarterly report to investors, IFM said its net loss for the quarter ending Sept. 30 totaled $4.1 million, as revenue fell 38 percent from a year ago, to $20.6 million.

Most of the company’s revenue ($13.7 million) came from company-owned brokerages, primary and commercial services ($3.7 million), and mortgage settlement services ($2.7 million). Revenue from franchise services totaled $500,000.

During the third quarter of 2014, the Century 21 China Real Estate network employed about 10,900 sales professionals and staff working out of 835 offices in 23 cities. That’s down from 865 offices and 11,800 sales professionals at the end of June.