Banks Seize $2B Of Evergrande Assets To Pay Creditors
Banks have seized $2 billion in cash from Evergrande, the ailing Chinese real estate developer said Tuesday, as it announced a delay to the publication of its annual earnings, Laura He reported for CNN Business.
Photo Insert: An Evergrande construction site
Evergrande said that it won't be able to meet the March 31 deadline for publishing audited results for 2021, a year which saw it default on its debts as prices and activity in China's vast real estate sector slumped.
One of its units — Evergrande Property Services — said some of its lenders had unexpectedly claimed around 13.4 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) of its bank deposits that were pledged as collateral for "third party guarantees."
It didn't specify who the lenders were, saying only that the banks had taken control of the cash.
The property services unit said it would establish an independent committee to investigate. The real estate developer is one of China's largest and most indebted, with more than $300 billion of total liabilities, including about $19 billion outstanding offshore bonds held by international asset managers and private banks on behalf of their clients.
Evergrande was declared by Fitch Ratings to be in default in December — a downgrade that the ratings agency said reflected the company's inability to pay interest due on two dollar-denominated bonds.
In 2020, Beijing started cracking down on excessive borrowing by developers in a bid to rein in their high leverage and curb runaway housing prices. But the sector's problems escalated significantly last fall when Evergrande began warning the markets urgently of liquidity problems.
There's evidence now that the Chinese government is taking a leading role in guiding Evergrande through a restructuring of its debt and sprawling business operations.