China Vanke's profits climb 19 pct on record property sales

HONG KONG, March 26 (Reuters) - Property giant China Vanke

Co , the subject of a long-running battle

for boardroom control, said on Sunday its core profit last year

rose 19 percent, thanks to record sales.

The nation's second-biggest home builder said core profit,

which excludes revaluation gains, rose to 20.9 billion yuan

($3.04 billion) from 17.6 billion yuan in 2015. Analysts were

expecting a profit of 21.1 billion yuan according to Thomson

Reuters SmartEstimate data.

The property giant has been in crisis since late 2015 as

financial conglomerate Baoneng Group built up a 25 percent stake

to become its largest shareholder and sought to oust management.

But last week Vanke said state-owned Shenzhen Metro Group, a

key ally, became its largest shareholder in terms of voting

rights after a proxy agreement with its third-biggest

shareholder, paving the way for the metro operator to take

control of the homebuilder.

"The group sincerely hopes that the shareholding issue will

be resolved as soon as possible, allowing the group to be back

on track for normal operations and creating larger values for

shareholders and the society," the company said in a statement

to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

In a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Sunday,

Vanke said Baoneng had promised to maintain Vanke's independence

and would not use its position to hurt the developer's

interests.

Net profit for 2016 rose 16 percent to 21 billion yuan,

while revenue stood at 228.9 yuan, representing a year-on-year

increase of 24 percent.

"This year, the central government will continue to

implement policies according to cities to prevent market

overheating and begin formulating long-term mechanisms for the

promotion of steady and healthy development of the property

market," Vanke said.

Beijing has been stepping up efforts to cool the property

market on concerns about a bubble. Measures have included

raising home purchase requirements and imposing price limits on

sales.

Chinese developers China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd

and Country Garden Holdings Company Ltd

last week reported solid growth in 2016 but said there might be

challenges for sales in some areas this year due to steps taken

by the government to rein in the market.

State-owned China Overseas Land said it was cautiously

optimistic about the market and set a modest sales target for

2017, the same level it achieved last year.

($1 = 6.8803 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle, Greg

Mahlich)