Mar 24, 2023
Evergrande Creditors Still Face ‘Big Process’ on Restructuring
(Bloomberg) -- China Evergrande Group and a group of major offshore bondholders finish the week having taken a key step forward on what would eventually be one of the nation’s biggest-ever restructurings. But months of further negotiations and key dates still loom.
The world’s most-indebted developer gained support earlier this week from an ad-hoc group of dollar-bondholders for its offshore debt restructuring plan, details of which it also released after months of delays.
There’s no shortage of further hurdles remaining: Evergrande and the ad-hoc group still need to finalize the exact language of so-called restructuring support agreements that would officially set the pact. The firm expects to sign such agreements by March 31.
After that, the focus will shift to winning over an even broader group of creditors. Evergrande expects to implement its debt restructuring through so-called schemes of arrangement in the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and/or other jurisdictions. Under such court-overseen processes, approval of at least 75% of creditors in value are needed for debt overhauls to proceed.
“Convincing the other creditors is going to be the next part of our job,” said Neil McDonald, a partner at law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, legal adviser to the ad-hoc group. “There will be a big process as we go through this.”
The following is a timeline of upcoming events and procedural targets based on a Hong Kong court hearing Monday and the firm’s exchange filing Wednesday that unveiled the debt-restructuring proposal:
Evergrande didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
A successful debt restructuring is key to the builder’s efforts to push back an investor’s petition to wind up the firm. The case’s withdrawal or dismissal is among the things which need to happen for a halt to trading of Evergrande and two of its units’ shares to end, Hong Kong’s stock exchange has said.
The shares haven’t traded since last March. Once halts reach 18 months long, exchange rules say a firm’s listing can be canceled.
A resumption of trading would give creditors better insight into the value of Evergrande and its two listed units. Shares of the trio had a combined market value of HK$81 billion ($10 billion) when they were halted.
China’s property crisis deepened the past year, with new home sales slumping and dollar bond defaults soaring to records. On Wednesday, Evergrande warned its electric-vehicle unit might need to shut down absent new funding.
Others actions needed include the release of 2021 results, which were held back as unit Evergrande Property Services Group Ltd. disclosed 13.4 billion yuan ($2 billion) of its deposits were used as security for pledge guarantees and seized by banks. Findings of a probe were released last month, and China Evergrande reiterated in Wednesday’s filing that both firms are discussing a repayment proposal.
--With assistance from Emma Dong.
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