Evergrande shares plunge after reports of new missed payment


Shares in embattled Chinese property giant Evergrande tumbled 10 percent in Thursday morning trade in Hong Kong, after a report the group had failed to meet two more offshore payments.

Evergrande — drowning in $300 billion in liabilities — has struggled to repay bondholders and investors after becoming ensnared in Beijing’s deleveraging crackdown on China’s bloated property sector.

Earlier this week the group cheered investors by insisting it would be able to deliver tens of thousands of units this month, and pay off some debts.

But shares plummeted Thursday after Bloomberg News said the due date had passed for two more debt deadlines with no sign of payment, wiping out earlier gains this week.

Both payments, dollar-bond coupon payments worth a combined $250 million, have a 30-day grace period.

By late Thursday morning, shares were down 10.30 percent on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The embattled developer was already labelled as being in default by international ratings firms earlier this month, after it failed to repay liabilities on time.

Earlier struggles to pay suppliers and contractors due to the debt crisis led to sustained protests from homebuyers and investors at the group’s Shenzhen headquarters in September.

In recent months, the company has repeatedly said it will finish its unfinished projects and deliver them to buyers in a desperate bid to salvage its debts, despite having missed the earlier payment of more than $1.2 billion.

At a company meeting Sunday, chairman Hui Ka Yan — known as Xu Jiayin in Mandarin — said that since the company’s troubles began, they delivered fewer than 10,000 units in September, October and November.

“There are only five days left this month, we must charge full steam ahead to guarantee the delivery of 39,000 units this month,” he said, according to a statement.

The bloated firm has tried to sell off its assets and shave down its stakes in other firms, with Hui paying off some of the debts using his own considerable personal wealth.

The provincial government of Guangdong — where the firm is headquartered — is currently overseeing Evergrande’s debt restructuring process.