China Evergrande Group shares closed higher after a volatile resumption of trade in Hong Kong, as the company said it would work with authorities after an order to demolish 39 buildings in Hainan province.
News of the demolition order helped to create a slump on Monday in other developers’ stocks, which rallied on Tuesday. Traders struggled to pin down a major reason for the gains, other than short covering. Evergrande shares ended up 1.3 per cent, after a session that saw the stock rise as much as 10 per cent and drop 2.5 per cent.
Elsewhere, some holders of Kaisa Group Holdings dollar bonds said they had not yet received interest payments due last week, after the Chinese developer defaulted on other obligations in December.
A crowd of roughly 100 people protested outside the developer’s offices in Guangzhou on Tuesday shouting “Evergrande, return our money!” The reported protest came after the company announced it would dial back payment plans on billions of dollars of overdue wealth management products.
Evergrande’s property sales plummeted in 2021, the first annual drop in at least a decade, as the builder slipped into default and buyer confidence faded.
Contracted sales last year plunged 39 per cent to 443 billion yuan ($70bn), according to Bloomberg calculations based on preliminary company data. The preliminary results suggest sales at the world’s most indebted developer have been almost frozen since October, when its liquidity woes intensified.
Evergrande said it has received an administrative penalty notice issued by Danzhou Comprehensive Administrative Law Enforcement Bureau regarding 39 buildings on Ocean Flower Island, according to a Hong Kong stock exchange filing. It said it would actively communicate with the authority to resolve the issue properly.
Shares of Chinese developers rebounded after plunging the previous day amid concerns about Evergrande’s trading halt and weaker home sales, with some analysts and traders pointing to covering of short positions.
Kaisa owed $48.75 million of interest on December 30 on an 8.5 per cent bond due in 2022 and $105.35 million on a 9.375 per cent 2024 note. Kaisa has 30-day grace periods to make those payments, before an event of default could be declared.
Two investors who hold both of those bonds said they hadn’t received the interest as of 12pm Monday New York time, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private investments. One of the investors also holds a third dollar security that had a $17.5m coupon due by the end of a grace period December 31, and hadn’t gotten that interest payment either.
China junk-rated dollar bonds declined about 1-2 cents on the dollar Tuesday, according to credit traders, led by weakness in developers such as Sunac China Holdings and KWG Group Holdings.
Hainan’s order for Evergrande to demolish some buildings could make it harder for the developer to sell projects in its land bank to raise funds, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kristy Hung.
Evergrande obtained significant projects without public tenders from local governments, with undisclosed terms which could put off potential acquirers. Evergrande said January 3 the Hainan order doesn’t involve properties delivered or pending delivery.
Evergrande will proactively communicate and handle the case in accordance with the demolition order from the local government in Hainan province, according to a statement posted on its unit’s WeChat page.
The developer added that the order affects 39 buildings and has no impact on the rest of the development.