China Evergrande Group slumped as much as 87% in Hong Kong trading following a 17-month halt, becoming a penny stock as the country’s most-indebted developer unveiled more losses and delayed meetings with creditors.
(Bloomberg) — China Evergrande Group slumped as much as 87% in Hong Kong trading following a 17-month halt, becoming a penny stock as the country’s most-indebted developer unveiled more losses and delayed meetings with creditors.
The decline to HK$0.35 as of the lunch break on Monday shrank its market value to just HK$4.6 billion ($586 million) from a peak of more than $50 billion in 2017.
The company, which is undergoing a lengthy debt restructuring process, reported a loss attributable to shareholders of 33 billion yuan for the six months ended June 30, according to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange Sunday. That adds to more than 582 billion yuan of losses from the previous two years, which were the first on an annual basis since its 2009 listing.
The defaulted developer postponed creditor meetings that were scheduled to begin Monday, adding to uncertainty over one of China’s biggest restructurings ever. It now plans to hold them in late September, citing a desire to let creditors “consider, understand and evaluate” the terms of the so-called schemes and give them more time to consider recent developments, including the share trading resumption.
Evergrande had applied to resume trading after saying improved internal control systems and processes met its obligations under Hong Kong listing rules. The stock had last traded on March 18, 2022, and the company has now lost 99% of its market capitalization since its peak.
Evergrande’s struggles have exemplified the housing crisis that has rocked the world’s second-largest economy over the past two years. As China cracked down on the booming real estate industry to cut risk and make homes more affordable, many developers have been hit. Country Garden Holdings Co. is on the verge of default and expected to also post a loss for the first half.
Evergrande’s total net loss during the first half amounted to 39.3 billion yuan, mainly due to rising operating costs and losses related to litigation, land withdrawal, disposal of shareholdings and impairments on property projects.
The developer reported aggregate liabilities of 2.39 trillion yuan at the end of June, larger than its total assets of 1.74 trillion yuan. Excluding contract liabilities, the tally stood at 1.78 trillion yuan, up slightly from 1.72 billion yuan in 2022.
While Evergrande’s borrowings only slightly increased to 625 billion yuan, its trade and other payables to parties including suppliers climbed by a larger amount to 1 trillion yuan, the results showed.
As the developer pledges to focus on delivering pre-sold homes, residences under construction fell 19% from December 2022 to 604 billion yuan at the end of June. Meanwhile, the firm’s cash buffer remained low at 13.4 billion yuan.
The cash shortage, unlikely to be eased by the trading resumption and creditor vote, “endangers” its housing completion and China’s wider housing recovery, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Kristy Hung and Lisa Zhou wrote in a note on Monday.
Offshore bondholders now have four more weeks to digest the latest developments as they consider the company’s debt restructuring proposal.
In April, the developer said investors holding 77% of its Class A bonds backed the plan, while just 30% of Class C holders endorsed it.
The financial results were reviewed by Prism, a small accounting firm named as Evergrande’s auditor in January after PricewaterhouseCoopers resigned. Prism didn’t issue a conclusion on the interim earnings report, citing multiple uncertainties.
–With assistance from Alice Huang, Charlotte Yang and Shiyin Chen.
(Updates with creditor meeting delays and more information from earnings)
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