Concerns about Chinese property developer defaults weighed on investor sentiment on Tuesday, as did new credit rating downgrades and uncertainty about the fate of China Evergrande Group, which is scrambling to raise cash by selling assets. Evergrande is undergoing one of the country’s largest-ever debt restructurings as it attempts to pay off more than $300 billion in debt. Last month, the company failed to make coupon payments on two-dollar bond tranches. The news comes as investors await word from Evergrande, which suspended share trading on Monday pending an announcement on a “major transaction,” with sources suggesting Hong Kong real estate firm Hopson Development Holdings planned to buy a 51% stake in its property services arm. While Fantasia is a smaller market playmaker than Evergrande, its hardships highlight investor concerns about companies’ financial disclosures.
Beijing has stayed quiet on Evergrande’s woes, but state media has trailed various responses in a nod to popular mood toward a private company that grew on a debt binge throughout China’s real estate boom years. The possible failure of one of China’s largest borrowers has voiced concerns about contagion risks to the world’s second-largest economy’s property sector, as its debt-laden peers face rating downgrades due to approaching defaults.
On Monday, Evergrande requested a halt in the trading of its shares pending the announcement of a major money transfer. Evergrande Property Services Group also asked for a halt, quoting a “possible general offer” for company shares. Hopson Development acquired a 51% stake in the property business for more than $40 billion, according to China’s state-backed Global Times, citing unspecified other media reports.
In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Fantasia said $206 million was due on Oct. 4 and that it did not pay. As recently as September 20, the company stated that it had “sufficient working capital and no liquidity issue.”