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Hong Kong Court delays Evergrande liquidation hearing

Chinese property giant Evergrande Group won a temporary reprieve from likely bankruptcy Monday after a Hong Kong court unexpectedly granted it more time to try to restructure debts of more than $300 billion. File Photo by MNXANL/Wikimedia Commons
Chinese property giant Evergrande Group won a temporary reprieve from likely bankruptcy Monday after a Hong Kong court unexpectedly granted it more time to try to restructure debts of more than $300 billion. File Photo by MNXANL/Wikimedia Commons

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Chinese property giant Evergrande Group won a temporary reprieve from possible bankruptcy Monday after a Hong Kong court gave it more time to try to restructure debts of more than $300 billion.

Justice Linda Chan adjourned a hearing on a winding-up petition by one of its creditors, Top Shine Global, to Jan. 29 after pleas for more time to discuss newly revised debt restructuring proposals with creditors went unopposed by Top Shine's counsel.

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The decision gives Evergrande eight more weeks to prevent possible liquidation.

Top Shine filed the winding-up petition back in June 2022 over Evergrande's failure to honor a $110 million buyback agreement for shares Top Shine bought in its Fangchebao subsidiary.

The petition would put liquidators in charge of selling off Evergrande's assets to pay its creditors.

Monday's development saw Evergrande shares jump 9% in Hong Kong to end the day at 3.3 cents, but remain down almost 85% from the beginning of a year that in addition to offshore creditors demanding controlling stakes as part of the restructuring, has seen founder and chairman Hui Ka Yan placed under house arrest prompting regulators to suspend share trading.

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Hui was reportedly placed under residential surveillance by Chinese authorities in September along with other current and former executives. Hui's whereabouts and whether he had been charged with any offense remain unclear.

Trading in shares of China Evergrande Group, Evergrande Property Services, and China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group have all since resumed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

Evergrande, which first defaulted in 2021, has been fighting to stave off insolvency under the crushing weight of liabilities totaling about $328 billion with Chan warning at the last hearing Oct. 30 that unless a restructuring plan was submitted before Monday, she was "highly likely" to grant a winding-up order.

The company racked up its massive debt during a 15-year splurge to become one of China's largest businesses with much of it owed to prospective homebuyers with down payments on apartments and houses that are half-built, or on which work has yet to start.

Suppliers are also highly exposed to the company's cash-flow difficulties.

In August, Evergrande filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection in a court in New York saying it was seeking recognition of restructuring talks underway in Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

In July, the group reported that it had lost a combined $81.1 billion in 2021 and 2022, mostly through payments to suppliers and lenders, as it struggled to complete more than 1,000 thousand projects across 280 cities.

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