Real Estate

A banner promoting the Emerald Bay residential project outside the China Evergrande Centre in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong, China, on Friday, July 23, 2021.
Lam Yik | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Embattled developer China Evergrande on Tuesday said its property sales will likely continue to drop significantly in September, resulting in a further deterioration of its cash situation.

The firm reiterated it could default on its debt, repeating a warning it issued two weeks ago. Evergrande has been trying to sell some assets to ease its liquidity crunch, but said those efforts haven’t yielded anything yet.

Evergrande’s stock tumbled nearly 10% in morning trade. So far this year, it has plummeted nearly 80%.

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Evergrande’s sales have been steadily dropping since June. The Chinese property giant said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange it expects a “significant” continued decline in sales this month.

That, Evergrande said, would lead to “the continuous deterioration of cash collection by the Group which would in turn place tremendous pressure on the Group’s cashflow and liquidity.”

“The month of September is typically when real estate companies in China record higher contract sales of properties. However, the ongoing negative media reports concerning the Group have dampened the confidence of potential property purchasers in the Group,” the firm said in the filing.

Ratings agencies have repeatedly downgraded Evergrande since last year as the world’s most indebted property developer struggles to remain liquid. The firm’s financial position eroded especially after the Chinese government outlined rules to rein in the borrowing costs of developers. Those measures place a cap on debt in relation to a firm’s cash flows, assets and capital levels.

‘Uncertain’ if Evergrande can sell its assets

The units Evergrande has been trying to sell include China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle and Evergrande Property Services. But so far, it hasn’t entered into an agreement with any investors and it remains “uncertain” whether the firm will be able to confirm any sale.

It also said it was actively exploring selling its office building in Hong Kong, the China Evergrande Centre in Wan Chai. However, that effort hasn’t borne any fruit either.

Evergrande said it would continue to take measures to ease its liquidity issues, including “strictly” controlling costs, promoting sales and disposing of assets.

Evergrande warns of ‘cross default’ risks

Evergrande also warned its escalating troubles could also lead to broader default risks.

“In view of the difficulties, challenges and uncertainties in improving its liquidity as mentioned above, there is no guarantee that the Group will be able to meet its financial obligations under the relevant financing documents and other contracts,” it warned investors.

It said that if it was unable to repay its debt, it may lead to a situation of “cross default” under its existing financing arrangement and relevant creditors demanding payment.

A cross default means that a default triggered in one situation may spread to other obligations. That could lead to broader contagion in other sectors.

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