Evergrande faces fresh debt deadline as property market woes widen

Evergrande faces fresh debt deadline as property market woes widen

Financial markets were braced for more bad news about the shaky Chinese property market as struggling giant Evergrande looked set to miss a fresh round of debt repayments worth $148m, and another developer pleaded for more time to repay what it owes.

China Evergrande Group missed two coupon payment deadlines last month worth $131m amid widespread concern of huge losses as the developer wrestles with more than $300bn in liabilities.

Expectations are slim that the company will make the semi-annual payments on its April 2022, April 2023 and April 2024 offshore bonds, which are due at midnight New York time on Monday.

It is expected the company will prioritises local Chinese creditors and completing the building of about 1.6m homes it has taken the money for but is yet to finish.

The troubles besetting Evergrande, which has remained silent on its obligations to foreign bondholders, have sent shockwaves across global markets amid signs that the government in Beijing may be prepared to see some failures in China’s massive property sector.

There were further signs of the growing problems on Monday when the Hong Kong-listed developer Modern Land (China) asked for a three-month extension on repayments on a $250m bond due on 25 October.

The Beijing-based firm is seeking to push back the maturity to “improve our liquidity and cashflow management and to avoid any potential payment default”, it said in a Monday morning filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The company also said its chairman and president would provide the equivalent of $124m in loans to help underwrite the firm’s finances.

The company, which is an investment holding company dealing mainly in the property development and property investment, has seen its shares almost halve in value in the past six months, amid broad downward pressure on the Chinese real estate market.

Last week, developer Fantasia Holdings Group missed the deadline on a $206m international market debt payment.

On Friday, the Shanghai stock exchange paused trading of two of Fantasia Group’s exchange-traded bonds after sharp falls, and echoes of a similar adjustment in trading of Evergrande’s onshore bonds last month.

“We believe policymakers have zero tolerance for systemic risk to emerge and are aiming to maintain a stable property market, and policy support could be forthcoming if the deterioration in property activity levels worsen,” said Kenneth Ho, head of Asia Credit Strategy at Goldman Sachs.

“That said, we also believe that policymakers do not want to over-stimulate, and their longer-term goal is to deleverage the property sector. Finding the right balance may require more time, and the uncertainties are likely to be a continued source of volatility for the China property (high-yield) market.”

Trading in shares of Evergrande, as well as its Evergrande Property Services Group unit, has been halted since 4 October pending a major deal announcement.