Shares of China Evergrande Group slumped Thursday after its thinly detailed roadmap for restructuring left investors dissatisfied and its indebted peers also fell on concerns higher interest rates would raise financing costs as the United States Federal Reserve (Fed) signaled an imminent rise.
Regulatory curbs on borrowing have driven China’s property sector into crisis, highlighted by Evergrande, the world’s most indebted property firm. The contagion has engulfed other Chinese developers, roiled global financial markets in the past year and contributed to a slump in China’s property market, which accounts for a quarter of its economy.
Evergrande tumbled as much as 9.6% and was down 4% at 1.70 Hong Kong dollars ($0.2182) on investor skepticism in the developer’s plan to have a preliminary restructuring proposal in place in six months.
The Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index shed 3.2% by noon, compared to a 2.6% decline in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.
The Fed said on Wednesday it is likely to hike interest rates in March and reaffirmed plans to end its bond purchases.
“Chinese real estate companies are highly leveraged, with a lot of overseas debt, so U.S. Fed signaling large room for rate hikes will put even more pressure on their financing,” said Alvin Cheung, associate director of Prudential Brokerage Ltd.
Evergrande’s issues stem from a call late on Wednesday where executives told creditors it hoped to work with them to achieve a risk management solution, and it would treat all categories of creditors “fairly and follow international practice.” The company also urged creditors not to take any “aggressive legal actions.”
But some bondholders were disappointed by the 25-minute call, which included prepared answers to questions, saying it failed to give any insight on Evergrande’s plans.
Evergrande has liabilities of $300 billion including nearly $20 billion of international bonds all deemed to be in default after a run of missed payments late last year.
Other property companies suffered losses as well.
Shares of Times China Holdings plunged 28.5% to HK$2.93 after the Guangzhou-based developer said it would raise HK$400.2 million ($51.38 million) by placing shares at HK$3.4 apiece, a 17.1% discount to Wednesday closing price.
The company sold 117.7 million shares, representing 5.6% of enlarged capital,for debt repayment and working capital, it said in a filing.
Shenzhen-based rival Logan Group also said on Thursday it raised HK$1.95 million by 6.95% equity-linked securities due August 2026, to refinance debt. Its shares lost 16%.