China Evergrande shares plunge to 11-year low on default risks

FILE PHOTO: An exterior view of China Evergrande Centre in Hong Kong, China March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo/File Photo

Shares of Evergrande on Monday plunged as much as 19% to their lowest in over 11 years, extending losses as investors take a dim view of its business prospects with a fast approaching deadline for payment obligations this week.

By noon, the stock had touched HK$2.06, the weakest level since May 2010.

The company’s property management unit dropped over 12%, while its electrics car unit declined 8%. Movie streaming company Hengten Net, majority-owned by Evergrande, plummeted 14%.

Evergrande has been scrambling to raise funds to pay its many lenders, suppliers and investors, with regulators warning that its $305 billion of liabilities could spark broader risks to the country’s financial system if not stabilised.

One of Evergrande’s main lenders has made provisions for losses on a portion of its loans to the embattled developer, while some creditors are planning to give it more time to repay, four bank executives told Reuters.

The developer said on Sunday it has begun repaying investors in its wealth management products with real estate.

Policymakers are telling Evergrande’s major lenders to extend interest payments or rollover loans, and market watchers are largely of the view that a direct bailout from the government is unlikely.

Evergrande is due to pay $83.5 million interest on Sept 23 for its March 2022 bond. It has another $47.5 million interest payment due on Sept 29 for the March 2024 notes. Both bonds would default if Evergrande fails to settle the interest within 30 days of the scheduled payment dates.

In any default scenario, Evergrande will need to restructure the bonds but analysts expect a low recovery ratio for investors. Trading of the company’s bonds underscored just how dramatically investor expectations of its prospects have deteriorated this year.

The 8.25% March 2022 dollar bond was traded at 29.156 on Monday afternoon, yielding over 500%, compared to around 13.7% at the beginning of year. The 9.5% March 2024 bond was at 26.4, yielding over 80%, compared to 14.6% at the start of 2021.

Goldman Sachs said last week that because Evergrande has dollar bonds issued by both the parent company and a special purpose vehicle, recoveries in a potential restructuring could differ between the two sets of bonds, and any potential restructuring process may be prolonged.

The company’s woes also pressured the broader property sector as well as the yuan, which fell to a three-week low of 6.4831 per dollar in offshore trade.

Shares of Sunac, China’s No.4 property developer, dropped over 10%, while state-backed Greentown China shed over 9%.

Hong Kong’s Heng Seng Index was down over 4%.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.