Business

The founder of Evergrande has used $1.1 billion of his own money to pay down company debt, pledging mansions and selling art to raise funds

Hui Ka Yan
China Evergrande Group Chairman of the Board Hui Ka Yan.

  • Evergrande founder Hui Ka Yan has been selling personal assets or pledging them to raise funds.
  • The money has been used to pay bond interest and staff salaries, and to keep building projects going.
  • Chinese authorities have reportedly instructed Hui to use his own money to pay down Evergrande’s debt.

China Evergrande founder and chairman Hui Ka Yan has already used about 7 billion Chinese yuan ($1.1 billion) of his own money raised from selling and pledging assets to keep the company going, according to China Business News (CBN).

Currently, it’s just Hui “personally raising money” for Evergrande, CBN reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The real-estate giant is now the world’s most indebted developer with $300 billion in liabilities. It has managed to pay off several overdue coupons just in time, averting a default that could send the rest of the sector — and possibly the rest of the world — into crisis.

Chinese authorities have reportedly instructed Hui to use his own money to pay down the debt.

According to CBN, Hui has raised $1.1 billion from selling personal assets or pledging them from July 1. The money has been injected into Evergrande for basic operations. That’s as the company is not conducting any corporate fundraising now, but still has to pay bond interest, staff salaries, and keep building projects going, reported the CBN.

The outlet did not specify which personal assets Hui sold, but reports of the billionaire pledging and disposing assets have been rife. According to Reuters, Hui has pledged two luxury properties in Hong Kong and sold art and calligraphy from his collection to raise funds.

Evergrande meanwhile, reportedly sold two of the company’s private jets for more than $50 million last month. It has also been holding fire sales of its corporate assets, incurring huge losses to free up liquidity.

Earlier today, Evergrande said it’s selling its entire stake in film and streaming television company HengTen Network for HK$2.13 billion ($273.5 million) — at a loss of HK$8.5 billion ($1.09 billion). And last week, Evergrande sold Dutch electric motor maker e-Traction for 2 million euros ($2.27 million) — a 97% discount on its purchase price of 500 million Chinese yuan ($78.4 million).

Creditors are also eyeing Hui’s other assets, including a 60-meter yacht called “Event” that’s estimated to be worth $60 million and a private Airbus jet, Reuters reported, citing Chinese media reports.

Since Evergrande owes $300 billion, $1.1 billion from Hui’s personal stash wouldn’t make much of a dent in its debt pile, but the effort could still count for something.

“He needs to show that he is using at least some personal assets to pay off some debts,” Zhiwu Chen, director of the Asia Global Institute think tank, told Bloomberg. “He needs to show a lot of good will in order to avoid more serious consequences,” Chen added.

Evergrande did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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