Kaisa Group: Missed payment triggers fresh China property fears

Fresh concerns have been raised about China’s property sector as Kaisa Group has become the latest developer to miss a payment to investors.

Kaisa said it was facing unprecedented pressure on its finances due to a challenging property market.

It comes as rival developer Evergrande Group is still reeling under the weight of more than $300bn (£222bn) of debt.

The crisis at Evergrande has triggered fears that its potential collapse could send shockwaves through global markets.

Meanwhile, Evergrande has sold a UK-based asset as it faces another payment deadline on Saturday.

Trading in shares of Kaisa Group and three of its units was halted in Hong Kong on Friday, after one of its businesses missed a payment on a wealth management product.

Friday’s filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange did not give a reason for the trading suspension.

Before the suspension, Kaisa, which has a market value of about $1bn, saw its shares hit a record low on Thursday after falling by 15%.

The Shenzhen-based developer said on Thursday that it is facing unprecedented pressure on its finances due to a challenging property market and downgrades by rating agencies, which makes it more difficult for it to borrow money.

Evergrande has been the most high profile example of China’s debt crisis but there are others in the property sector with similar issues.

Their total combined debt is estimated to be more than $5tn, according to Japanese banking giant Nomura. That’s almost the size of Japan’s economy.

Fantasia, Sinic and China Properties Group have all defaulted on debts in recent months while Kaisa has become the latest developer to miss a payment.

Beijing has restricted how much these developers can borrow and it has proposed introducing a local property tax but the move is controversial because local governments rely on land sales for their revenues.

However, investors and economists are worried that the financial issues faced by these developers will make consumers even more reluctant to buy property in an economy where real estate has been a major driver for growth.

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On Saturday, an Evergrande unit is due to make $82.5m of interest payments to investors, while next Wednesday a 30-day grace period expires for other interest payments owed by the embattled property developer.

Evergrande’s shares were suspended in Hong Kong for 17 days last month after the company requested a trading halt ahead of the announcement of a major transaction.

However, a plan to sell a large stake in its property services unit for $2.6bn fell through as it was unable to agree the terms of the deal.

On Thursday, Evergrande’s vehicle manufacturing unit sold its UK-based electric motor making business Protean as it tries to raise funds to meet its obligations.

Evergrande didn’t say how much it was paid for Protean, which it bought in 2019 for $58m.

Source: BBC

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