China’s Evergrande files for bankruptcy in US

Joy Onuorah
Joy Onuorah
China's Evergrande files for bankruptcy in US

Amid growing apprehension over China’s deepening property crisis and a weakening economy, embattled developer, China Evergrande Group has filed for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court.

This move marks a pivotal juncture in one of the world’s largest debt restructuring endeavors.

Once renowned as China’s premier developer, Evergrande now stands as a symbol of the nation’s unparalleled debt crisis within the property sector, which constitutes around a quarter of the economy.

The developer, which encountered a liquidity squeeze in mid-2021, has sought shelter under Chapter 15 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

This provision safeguards non-U.S. companies navigating restructurings, protecting them from creditors pursuing litigation or asset entanglement within the United States.

Sources familiar with the matter, who declined to be named due to its sensitivity, clarified that the filing is procedural in nature.

However, this step is integral for Evergrande, the world’s most indebted property developer saddled with over $300 billion in liabilities, as it embarks on a restructuring process under U.S. legal jurisdiction.

Evergrande’s offshore debt restructuring, involving a substantial sum of $31.7 billion encompassing bonds, collaterals, and repurchase obligations, necessitates engagement with creditors.

A meeting later this month will convene to discuss the restructuring proposal.

This dire situation has unleashed a series of defaults among Chinese property developers, leaving unfinished homes, plummeting sales, and eroding investor confidence, thereby impacting the world’s second-largest economy.

The cascading property sector predicament also amplifies contagion risk, potentially destabilizing an economy already grappling with diminished domestic consumption, a waning manufacturing sector, surging unemployment, and lackluster global demand.

As the property crisis unfolds, it casts a shadow over China’s economic prospects.

Major asset management entities have faced repayment predicaments, while prominent developers like Country Garden have flagged suffocating cash shortages.

These challenges materialize against a backdrop of waning property investments, declining home sales, and sluggish construction over more than a year.

With the property market turmoil as well as the absence of tangible stimulus measures, global markets have been rattled.

Asian shares have experienced a weekly decline of 2.8%, marking the third consecutive week of regression.

While China aims for a 5% annual growth rate, analysts caution that without substantive support measures, this goal may remain elusive, with implications for global economic equilibrium.

In response to the property market upheaval, China’s central bank has reiterated its commitment to recalibrating and optimizing property policies.

As the crisis unfolds, Evergrande’s ongoing debt restructuring looms large, with the company seeking creditor backing for a comprehensive resolution.

Affiliate Tianji Holdings also sought Chapter 15 protection in a Manhattan bankruptcy court, amplifying the scope of the situation.

The recognition of restructuring negotiations occurring in various jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands, underscores the global ramifications of Evergrande’s restructuring.

Trading in China Evergrande shares remains suspended since March 2022.

As the events continue to unfold, Evergrande’s predicament serves as a cautionary tale, underscoring the intricate interplay between economic factors and corporate actions, with ripple effects felt across international financial landscapes.

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