A tender for the sale of the troubled China Evergrande Group’s headquarters in Hong Kong has once again expired due to unsatisfactory offer pricing and terms.
The China Evergrande Centre’s lenders had appointed a receiver in September to put the asset up for sale with a bid deadline of October 31.
Located in the busy commercial district of Wan Chai, the office tower is estimated to be worth between HK$8 billion and HK$9 billion ($1.02 billion and $1.15 billion).
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The developer had been trying to raise money by selling the 27-story structure before it was seized.
The tower had been pledged against a loan of HK$7.6 billion from lenders led by the Hong Kong subsidiary of Chinese state-owned China Citic Bank Corp Ltd.
One of the sources close to Citic said the lenders may put the asset on sale again when market conditions are more stable than the second half of the year.
Evergrande attempted to sell the tower by tender in July, but drew only a couple of bids, with offers below HK$10 billion and its 2015 HK$12.5 billion purchase price.
The 2021 collapse of a potential $1.7 billion deal to sell the building to Chinese state-owned Yuexiu Property dealt a blow to Evergrande’s efforts to divest assets to repay creditors after missing interest payments on offshore bonds.
‘Crucial year” for debt repayment
Evergrande Chairman Hui Ka Yan said in a letter to employees on New Year’s Day this will be a “crucial year” for the group to fulfil home delivery to buyers.
“I trust firmly, as long as the entire Evergrande staff … does all the jobs solidly including completing construction, restoring sales, restoring operation, we will definitely be able to ensure home delivery … (and) repay all kinds of debt and resolve risks,” Hui said in the letter.
The firm had resumed construction in all 732 projects across the country in 2022, delivering 301,000 homes in total, he added.
The figures compared to 631 projects and 256,000 units in the first 11 months, according to a company filing last month.
With debts totalling more than $300 billion, China Evergrande is the source of an unprecedented property sector crisis in the world’s second-largest economy. It has been struggling to repay its many creditors and suppliers and complete projects, and is undergoing a debt restructuring.
In the December filing, the world’s most indebted property developer said its operation still faced significant challenges due to its substantial liabilities.
There was significant uncertainty on whether the resources for debt repayment could generate the expected value, it said, creating the differences between the group and its creditors on the terms of the debt restructuring plan.
Evergrande aimed to win creditors’ approval for its debt restructuring proposals by as early as the end of February, the company said earlier.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena