Shares in Evergrande’s electric vehicle unit tumbled in Hong Kong after it scrapped plans for a secondary listing on Shanghai’s Star Market, as bondholders remained in limbo after the indebted Chinese property developer missed a crucial payment last week.
The pulled listing is the latest hit to a unit that once had a higher stock market valuation than Ford and comes as a liquidity crisis at Evergrande has roiled global markets and spurred fears among international investors that they will not be repaid if the company defaults.
The developer failed to make an $83.5m coupon payment due on Friday for one of its dollar bonds and has a 30-day grace period before officially triggering a default. As of Monday morning, the developer had not provided any new information to international investors, according to a bondholder.
At least two local governments in China have also taken control of sales revenue from Evergrande properties to prevent potential misuse of funds, amid expectations of what could be the largest debt restructuring in the country’s financial history.
Shares of Evergrande New Energy Vehicle fell as much as a quarter before paring losses to be down about 10 per cent after the company said in an exchange filing that its “proposed issue of renminbi shares will not proceed further” following an agreement with brokerage Haitong Securities.
Evergrande’s NEV unit had flagged on Friday a “serious shortage of funds” and admitted to missing salary payments to some of its employees and falling behind in payments to factory equipment suppliers, highlighting worsening liquidity troubles.
The division, whose shares are down almost 94 per cent this year in Hong Kong, had previously been viewed as one of Evergrande’s most promising growth prospects. Shares in the subsidiary soared in January after a $3.4bn capital injection that included investment from individuals with connections to Hui Ka Yan, the billionaire founder of the property developer and formerly China’s richest man.
But the company warned on Friday that without a rapid capital injection, the escalating cash shortage would impact “daily operations . . . worsen its ability to pay employees’ salary and/or other expenses”.
Offshore bondholders have been closely watching Evergrande’s stake in the company, as well as other assets it holds outside of the Chinese mainland, ahead of a potential debt restructuring.
Despite the tumble for Evergrande NEV, Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng stock index was flat in afternoon trading on Monday as analysts said fears of imminent contagion from the developer’s debt woes had receded following last week’s tumult.
“Markets have put Evergrande in the background,” said Mitul Kotecha, senior emerging markets strategist at TD Securities. “They’re all waiting to see what happens on the dollar bond payment.”