HONG KONG: Chinese property developer Evergrande said it has entered into a restructuring agreement with a group of international creditors, in what could be a breakthrough deal toward easing the developer’s massive debt.
Once China’s largest real estate company, Evergrande was found in 2021 to be drowning in more than US$300 billion in liabilities, sparking a nationwide property crisis that had ramifications around the world.
In a Hong Kong exchange filing made late on Monday, the company said it had agreed to proposals with a group of ad hoc creditors who between them hold a major portion of the developer’s more than US$20 billion in offshore bonds.
Evergrande announced a long-awaited restructuring proposal last month, offering creditors a choice to swap their debt into new notes issued by the company and equities in two subsidiaries, Evergrande Property Services Group and Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group.
In Monday’s filing, Evergrande said the group of creditors had entered into three separate restructuring schemes that involve a combination of new notes and bonds that can be converted into shares in the two subsidiaries.
The company added that trading in its shares – cut off since March 21, 2022 – “will remain suspended until further notice”.
Evergrande had earlier termed its restructuring plan “a substantial positive milestone” which will “facilitate the company’s efforts to resume operations and resolve issues onshore”.
China’s property sector remains in turmoil, with major developers – including Evergrande – failing to complete housing projects, triggering protests and mortgage boycotts from homebuyers.
Smaller firms have defaulted on loans or had problems raising cash since the government brought in strict lending curbs in 2020.
In November, China’s banking regulator and central bank unveiled new measures to promote the “stable and healthy development” of the real estate industry.
They include credit support for indebted developers, financial support to ensure projects are completed and assistance for deferred-payment loans for homebuyers.