Evergrande today suspended trading on its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, along with those of its real estate services (Evergrande Property Services) and electric vehicle (Evergrande Nev) subsidiaries. This can be read in a stock market communication in which no details are provided on the decision.
Evergrande, Evergrande Property Services and Evergrande Nev stocks are now firmly stock penny, having closed yesterday at 0.32, 0.59 and 0.56 Hong Kong dollars respectively. Their suspension from negotiations came in the aftermath of Bloomberg reporting that Hui Ka Yan, founder and head of Evergrande, has been kept by police under "residential surveillance" since the beginning of the month.
The Shenzhen group, struggling with a heavy debt estimated at the end of June at 330 billion dollars, had brought its securities back to trading just a month ago, after a suspension of almost a year and a half: the move had become necessary to advance the restructuring plan. On Sunday, the company said it was unable to issue new bonds to refinance debt due to investigations launched by Chinese regulators into the main domestic subsidiary Hengda Real Estate, fueling doubts about the group's ability to survive. In early September, authorities in the southern city of Shenzhen said they had arrested several Evergrande employees, urging the public to report any cases of suspected fraud. China's largest private real estate giant, Country Garden, has avoided default so far in recent months, after reporting record losses and debts of more than $150 billion.
China has put Hui Ka Yan, the billionaire founder of Evergrande, under police control, while fears are growing about the fate of the Shenzhen group, now at risk of survival. This is what Bloomberg reports, anonymously citing people familiar with the situation.
Hui, whose Mandarin name is Xu Jiayin, was taken away by officers in early September and "is being monitored at a designated location," in a state of "home surveillance" that does not involve arrest or specific charging of crimes.
Evergrande is the most indebted real estate developer in the world, with charges of over $300 billion.
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