Evergrande sells Hengten for HK$2.1 billion to help in cash crunch

SHANGHAI, 18 Nov 2021:

Indebted Chinese real estate giant Evergrande today announced the sale of its stake in the streaming platform Hengten, which some media consider the Chinese equivalent of Netflix, for HK$2.1 billion.

In a statement sent to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where it is listed, the group said it sold all its Hengten shares, 18% of the company’s stake, to Allied Resources Investment Holdings – owned by investor Li Shao Yu – with a 24.3% discount compared to the last closing price.

Evergrande said the funds raised with the operation “could help to improve the liquidity problems” it is going through when facing a liability that exceeds US$300 billion, of which about US$37 billion correspond to debts payable by June 2022.

However, despite the capital injection – 20% of the total, in the next five days, and the rest, over the next two months – the operation represents a HK$8.5 billion loss, after taking into account the book value those transferred shares had in June.

So far, the conglomerate had not been successful in its plans to sell assets to raise funds, only managing to transfer 20% of regional bank Shengjing Bank to a state-owned group for about US$1.5 billion.

Other negotiations have ended up running aground, such as the termination of the sale of 50.1% of its real estate management subsidiary, Evergrande Property Services, to the developer Hopson Development for about US$2.58 billion.

In recent weeks, Evergrande has been several times on the verge of default on its offshore bonds – entering into extensions to pay the amounts owed to its investors after not doing so on the agreed date – although for the moment it has not definitively defaulted on its dues.

Its founder and president Xu Jiayin injected the equivalent of almost US$1.1 billion after selling personal assets or shares, according to the local press, who said the once-richest man in China is still trying to secure financing “to keep Evergrande alive.”

Chinese authorities said the priority is for both Evergrande and other struggling developers to finish building the projects that have been paralysed due to lack of funds, in part due to financing restrictions Beijing imposed on indebted real estate companies last year.