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'Enough Is Enough': Chinese Development Giant Evergrande Ordered To Liquidate

Former Evergrande construction site in Shenzhen, China.

China Evergrande Group, once the largest property developer in China and a significant owner of commercial assets in the U.S., has been ordered to liquidate by a court in Hong Kong.

The liquidation order came when last-minute efforts by the company and its creditors to reach a deal over the weekend came to naught, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

“The time is for the court to say enough is enough,” Judge Linda Chan of Hong Kong’s High Court said, noting that Evergrande had made no progress in a restructuring since the court gave it an adjournment in December to do so.

Per the court order, Evergrande creditors will now be able to liquidate all of the company's business, including in China and the rest of the world, though many of Evergrande's assets have already been sold or seized. The court has appointed liquidators to oversee the process.

When it defaulted about two years ago, the property giant was burdened by about $300B in debt. About a year ago, a group of outside auditors found that Evergrande had lost about $81B over the previous two years, much more than was widely known, The New York Times reported.

“Simple debt restructuring may be unable to save Evergrande,” Chen Xin, a finance professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, correctly predicted last summer on Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of X, formerly Twitter.

Evergrande’s troubles are “tantamount to disaster” for its creditors, Xin wrote.

Evergrande has hardly been alone in its troubles. Since 2021, a majority of China’s listed property developers have either defaulted or been forced into restructuring, The Economist reports, adding that their access to credit has been cut off, bringing their developments to a halt.

Earlier in January, Hong Kong's High Court ordered China Oceanwide Holdings Ltd., the developer behind Los Angeles' Oceanwide Plaza, to liquidate.