Debt-crippled Evergrande vows 'full steam ahead' to deliver homes

A general view shows the Evergrande Center building in Shanghai. (Photo: AFP)
BEIJING — Embattled Chinese firm Evergrande will deliver almost four times the number of housing units to buyers in December than in the previous three months, its chairman said, as the real estate behemoth grapples with massive debts.اضافة اعلان

Evergrande — drowning in $300 billion in liabilities — has struggled to repay bondholders and investors after becoming ensnared in Beijing's deleveraging crackdown on the bloated property sector.

But the group — which officially defaulted on a major bond payment this month — has insisted it will be able to complete tens of thousands of units and pay off some debts.

"Since the company's troubles began, we delivered fewer than 10,000 units in September, October and November," chairman Hui Ka Yan — known as Xu Jiayin in Mandarin — told a company meeting Sunday evening, according to a post on Evergrande's official WeChat account. 

"There are only five days left this month, we must charge full steam ahead to guarantee the delivery of 39,000 units this month."

The new homes are across 115 developments, he said.

"Absolutely nobody at Evergrande is allowed to 'lie flat'," Hui added, referring to an internet slang term for "slacking off" popular among young people. 

In recent months, the company has repeatedly said it will finish its unfinished projects and deliver them to buyers in a desperate bid to salvage its debts, despite having missed a payment of more than $1.2 billion earlier this month. 

Earlier struggles to pay suppliers and contractors due to the debt crisis led to sustained protests from homebuyers and investors at the group's Shenzhen headquarters in September.

Since then, the bloated firm has tried to sell off its assets and shave down its stakes in other firms, with Hui paying off some of the debts using his own considerable personal wealth.

The provincial government of Guangdong -- where the firm is headquartered -- is currently overseeing Evergrande's debt restructuring process, but Beijing has yet to roll back any of the restrictions that prompted the housing crunch.

Having already blamed the firm's woes on "poor management and blind expansion", China's central bank vowed Saturday to protect the rights of homebuyers and promote the healthy development of the real estate market.

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