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Beijing Throws Lifelines to ‘Whitelisted’ Property Developments

Country Garden, Sunac China, Greenland, CIFI and SCE Group have all had some of their projects listed as being suitable for bank loans

Bondholders have given Country Garden a reprieve but the group still faces a range of hurdles this month and over the next year to pay its dues on multiple debts.
This image shows an under-construction residential site by Country Garden in Tianjin. Photo: Reuters


Under-pressure Chinese property developers have had projects added to local authorities’ so-called whitelists, earmarking them for special financial support as the government ramps up its efforts to inject liquidity into the crisis-hit sector.

Sunac China, Greenland, CIFI and SCE Group said local governments had now listed some of their projects as being suitable for bank loans, following a similar announcement by Country Garden at the weekend.

Under the “project whitelist” mechanism launched on January 26, governments of 35 cities are recommending to banks residential projects needing financial support, and are coordinating with financial institutions to meet projects’ needs.

China’s largest private property developer, Country Garden, which defaulted on $11 billion worth of offshore bonds late last year, on Saturday said more than 30 of its projects had been added to whitelists.


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Sunac, which completed a $9 billion offshore debt restructuring last year, said over 90 of its projects had been added to the first batch of whitelists of cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Chengdu and Chongqing.

“As the financing comes in place, the cashflow pressure of the development and operation of Sunac projects would be eased, which will further ensure the work of ‘home delivery’ in different cities,” the developer said.

Greenland also on Monday said 34 of its projects, requiring $1.63 billion in financing, are on whitelists in provinces including Shandong, Sichuan and Yunnan.

Greenland, the first state-backed developer to extend offshore debt payments in 2022 amid the property debt crisis, said the additions highlight “strong support” of local authorities and financial institutions.

Also Shanghai-based CIFI, which is working on offshore debt restructuring, in a statement on Sunday said 18 of its projects have been added to whitelists in cities including Chongqing, Beijing, Tianjin and Wuhan.

Both Sunac and CIFI are privately owned developers and are among China’s top 20 by sales value.


Country Garden Shares Flat

SCE, which defaulted on its $1.8 billion dollar bonds in October, said more than 10 projects with an aggregate financing need of 3 billion yuan are on the whitelists, local media reported on Monday, adding that it was seeking to raise a total of 10 billion yuan if it manages to get another 20 projects on the lists.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Country Garden closed flat on Monday, erasing early gains of as much as 4.8%, while CIFI firmed 0.9%. Sunac and SCE ended 0.9% and 0.65% lower, respectively, and Greenland’s Shanghai-listed shares fell 5.9%.

Another developer that defaulted on debt repayments expects its projects to feature in a second batch of whitelists as early as this week, said an executive on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. 

Loans, if approved, should come through after the Lunar New Year holiday, the executive said.

China aims to increase financing for residential projects in coming days but banks’ reluctance to lend to the sector is a major obstacle for distressed developers most in need of funds.

Developers and investors have said any such loans can only be used for ensuring the completion of selected projects, and cannot be used to repay debt or help regain financial strength.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

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Critics Say China’s ‘National Team’ Can’t Fix Its Sinking Markets

Bid to Help China Property Groups Lifts Shares ‘But May Not Work’

Country Garden Warns of ‘Severe’ Tests in China Property Market



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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