Focus on luxury assets of the boss of Evergrande as his company scrambles to pay off debts
HONG KONG, Nov. 16 (Reuters) – As developer China Evergrande Group (3333.HK) scrambles to honor debts, its founder is freeing up funds for luxury assets, including works of art, calligraphy and two high-end homes, according to documents and a person familiar with the matter.
Chinese authorities have asked Evergrande President Hui Ka Yan, 63, to use some of his personal wealth to help pay bondholders, two separate people with knowledge of the bond told Reuters last month. the question.
Evergrande’s difficulties in repaying bonds rocked the markets and left many of its investors, creditors and suppliers in financial chaos.
Guo Hui, whose cleaning company owes Evergrande more than 18 million yuan ($ 2.8 million), had to sell his Porsche Cayenne and an apartment to raise funds and pay off debts.
“He should sell his stuff,” Guo told Reuters. “He had no choice once the authorities did.”
Hui pledged one of his approximately 5,000 square foot Hong Kong mansions at The Peak, Hong Kong’s most prestigious residential enclave, for a loan from the China Construction Bank in October, according to a filing with Hong Kong Land Registry.
About HK $ 300 million has been raised to repay an overdue Evergrande bond, local media reported.
The tycoon, ranked as Asia’s richest man in 2017, pledged a luxury second home on The Peak to Orix Asia Capital Ltd on November 8 for an undisclosed amount, according to the land register.
With stunning views of the city’s sparkling skyscrapers, the properties are worth around HK $ 800 million each, a real estate agent told Reuters.
Hui and Evergrande did not respond to requests for comment regarding The Peak’s properties.
The Chinese State Council’s Information Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Raised by his grandmother in a rural village, Hui founded Evergrande in 1996 in the southern city of Guangzhou, providing low cost homes and building a fortune.
He developed a passion for calligraphy, art and Koi carp – fish considered a symbol of luck and fortune for which he paid tens of millions of yuan, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
Under Hui’s orders, Evergrande sold art and calligraphy to raise new capital, the source said. The source declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.
Reuters could not immediately determine how much was raised by selling the artwork or what the money was used for.
Evergrande did not respond to a request for comment regarding the art sale.
The source also said that Evergrande had sold two Gulfstream jets in recent weeks.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Evergrande had raised more than $ 50 million by selling two of its private jets to U.S. aviation investors.
Hui also owns a 60-meter yacht called “Event” valued at $ 60 million, as well as a private Airbus jet, according to Chinese media.
Reuters could not independently verify ownership of Hui’s yacht and private jet.
Hui and Evergrande did not respond to requests for comment regarding his plane, yacht and other assets.
While Hui’s net worth has plunged in recent years to around $ 45 billion in 2017, his worth is still estimated at $ 11.3 billion, according to the Hurun China Rich List 2021, released last month.
But even as he prepares to sell some of his personal assets, the proceeds of the sale are pale compared to Evergrande’s liabilities of more than $ 300 billion, which roughly equates to the gross domestic product of South Africa.
After Evergrande again avoided a destabilizing default last week with a last-minute bond payment, its next due date is December 28, with coupon payments totaling over $ 255 million owed.
($ 1 = 6.3807 yuan Chinese renminbi)
Additional reporting by Sara Cheng in Hong Kong and David Kirton in Shenzhen; Written by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Lincoln Feast.
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