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Evergrande Boss Seen Selling Art and Homes to Pay Debt  

Chinese authorities have told Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan, 63, to use his personal wealth to help pay bondholders

The yacht "Event", which is believed to be owned by China Evergrande, is docked in Hong Kong, China. Photo: Reuters


As developer China Evergrande Group scrambles to meet its debt obligations, its founder is freeing up funds from luxury assets including art, calligraphy and two high-end homes, according to filings and a person with knowledge of the matter.

Chinese authorities have told Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan, 63, to use some of his personal wealth to help pay bondholders, two separate people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

Evergrande’s troubles in meeting bond repayments have rattled markets and left many of its investors, creditors and suppliers in financial chaos.

Guo Hui, whose cleaning business is owed more than 18 million yuan ($2.8 million) by Evergrande, had to sell his Porsche Cayenne and an apartment to raise cash and pay debts.

“He should be selling his things,” Guo said. “He had no choice once the authorities made him.”

Hui pledged one of his Hong Kong mansions of around 5,000 square feet in The Peak, Hong Kong’s most prestigous residential enclave, for a loan from China Construction Bank in October, according to a filing with Hong Kong’s Land Registry.

Around HK$300 million was raised to repay an overdue Evergrande bond, local media reported.

The tycoon, ranked as Asia’s wealthiest man in 2017, pledged a second luxury house on The Peak to Orix Asia Capital Ltd on November 8 for an undisclosed amount, according to the Land Registry.

With sweeping views over the city’s gleaming skyscrapers, the properties are worth around HK$800 million each, an estate agent told Reuters.

Hui and Evergrande did not respond to requests for comment regarding the properties on The Peak. China’s State Council Information Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




Luxury Assets

Raised by his grandmother in a rural village, Hui founded Evergrande in 1996 in southern Guangzhou city, supplying low-priced homes and building a fortune.

He developed a passion for calligraphy, art and Koi carp – fish seen as a symbol of good 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 has been selling some art and calligraphy to raise fresh capital, said the source. The source declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.

Reuters could not immediately determine how much had been raised by selling the art pieces or what the money has been used for.

Evergrande did not respond to a request for comment regarding the art sale.


Private Jets And Yacht

The source also said Evergrande sold two Gulfstream jets in recent weeks.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month Evergrande raised more than $50 million by selling two of its private jets to American aircraft investors.

Hui also owns a 60-metre yacht called “Event” estimated to be worth $60 million, as well as a private Airbus jet, according to Chinese media reports.

Ownership of Hui’s yacht and private jet could not be verified, as Hui and Evergrande did not respond to requests for comment regarding his aircraft, yacht and other assets.

While Hui’s net worth has plunged over the past few years from around $45 billion in 2017, he is still estimated to be worth $11.3 billion, according to the Hurun China Rich List 2021, released last month.

But even as he moves to sell some of his personal assets, the proceeds raised pale in comparison to Evergrande’s liabilities of more than $300 billion, equivalent roughly to the gross domestic product of South Africa.

After Evergrande last week again averted a destabilising default with a last-minute bond payment, its next deadline is December 28, when coupon payments totalling more than $255 million are due.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard





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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.


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