Trade halted in Evergrande shares in Hong Kong | News | DW | 03.01.2022

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Trade halted in Evergrande shares in Hong Kong

The company currently has been struggling to meet payments on hundreds of billions in outstanding debt. Evergrande only said in a short statement that the suspension was pending the announcement of "inside information."

A pedestrian walks past the Shenzhen-based property management company China Evergrande Centre.

Trade in Evergrande shares has been halted before as the company grapples with hundreds of billions in debt

Chinese real estate developer Evergrande announced Monday that it was once again suspending trading its shares in Hong Kong.

"At the request of the company, trading in the shares of the company was halted at 9.00 a.m. on January 3, 2022, pending the release by the company of an announcement containing inside information," the group said in a short statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange. 

The country's property firms have struggled as a result of the Chinese government curbing excessive debt in the real estate sector. China's central bank also indicated last month that a state rescue for the property giant was not likely, with its governor describing the company's woes as a "market event." 

A security guard walks by a map showing Evergrande development projects

Evergrande has struggled to repay bondholders and investors

With roughly $300 billion (around €265 billion) in liabilities, Evergrande has struggled to repay bondholders and investors; its stock lost almost 90% of its value last year.

Some smaller firms in China's property sector have also defaulted on loans as a result of Evergrande's crisis.

How did the Evergrande crisis start?

Evergrande had previously had a period of suspended share trading in October of last year.

In November, ratings agency Fitch downgraded the company and its subsidiaries to "restricted default," one step away from complete default.

In December, the company was characterized as being in default by international ratings firms after it failed to repay liabilities on time.

Evergrande's struggles to pay suppliers and contractors led to protests at the company's headquarters in Shenzhen in September.

Local Chinese media reported over the weekend that Evergrande had been ordered to demolish 39 buildings on the southern Chinese island of Hainan because the structures were built illegally. This would compound the company's difficulties trying to meet its existing construction commitments despite its looming debts.

A map showing Evergrande development projects

Evergrande has tried to sell assets and reduce its stakes in other firms

How is Evergrande trying to save itself?

To deal with this crisis, the firm has tried to sell assets and reduce its stakes in other firms. Chairman Hui Ka Yan has also paid off some debts using his own personal fortune.

The government of China's southern Guangdong province, where Shenzhen is located, is currently overseeing Evergrande's debt restructuring process.

The company has various outstanding liabilities to meet in the coming weeks, including covering maturing bonds, coupons and deferred wages to millions of migrant workers. 

sdi/msh (AFP, dpa)