China Vanke says well prepared to resolve liquidity problems, denies travel ban imposed on officials

China Vanke says well prepared to resolve liquidity problems, denies travel ban imposed on officials

China Vanke says well prepared to resolve liquidity problems, denies travel ban imposed on officials

Embattled China Vanke said it is well-prepared to resolve its liquidity problems and operational difficulties, rejecting allegations the company’s majority shareholders were diverting its assets. It also denied that travel restrictions were imposed on its key managerial staff.

While dismissing default concerns, the developer told investors at a meeting on Sunday that it had plans to stabilise operations and cut its debt load and “properly resolve these short-term pressures”.

The company will also “make full use of existing channels and tools” for raising funds and it is fully supported by financial institutions in these efforts, according to a filing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Zhu Jiusheng, President and Chief Executive Officer, China Vanke Co., Ltd., holds the China Vanke Co. Ltd. 2019 Interim Results Announcement at the JW Marriott Hotel, Admiralty. 21AUG19 SCMP / Roy Issa

Vanke’s Chairman Yu Liang and President Zhu Jiusheng said during the meeting that the company is confident about its plan to reduce its debt by 100 billion yuan (US$13.8 billion) by next year, and pledged timely delivery of homes to buyers, according to the filing.

The meeting was attended by officials from financial institutions and brokerages including Citigroup, UBS Group AG, Morgan Stanley and China International Capital Corporation, the filing showed.

The meeting follows Vanke’s credit rating downgrade by S&P Global Ratings last week, which came on the heels of similar cuts by Moody’s and Fitch Ratings earlier in the month.

Earlier, Vanke’s shares and bonds were also pressured by allegations made by its local partner in Yantai, Jinan province, and amid rumours that the company’s Jinan unit executives were detained by police for investigation.

The company said police were not acting on the allegation about the Yantai project while authorities had not determined whether Vanke’s Yantai unit intended to evade taxes.

It also denied there was any tunnelling of the company’s assets. Tunnelling is a term used to define an unethical business practice in which majority shareholders transfer a company’s assets to the detriment of minority shareholders.

The developer added that the executive detained by the police had no connection to the Yantai project.

China Vanke, which is the second largest Chinese developer by sales, also denied speculation that the government had prohibited senior company officials from travelling abroad, after a chief partner for its central China operations abruptly left the company to go to the US.

The company clarified that the concerned partner had gone overseas due to personal reasons after resigning in 2023. Outbound travel by the management group stays normal, it said, adding that president Zhu Jiusheng had just returned from a project inspection trip to Hong Kong while co-president Zhu Baoquan is on a trip to Japan.

China Vanke shocked investors in late March with a 46.4 per cent slump in net profit for 2023, and failed to propose a dividend for the first time in its history. Its combined contracted sales fell 43 per cent to 33.5 billion yuan in January and February.

The company has two offshore bonds maturing in 2024, totalling 5.6 billion yuan equivalent, and 7.3 billion yuan of onshore bonds are due or puttable this year, according to S&P. The company also faces a maturity wall in 2025, when 36.2 billion yuan of onshore bonds and offshore bonds are due to mature. As of end-2023, the company had accessible cash of 36.3 billion yuan, S&P estimated.

There are “no signs yet of game-changing measures” in China’s embattled real estate sector despite several rounds of supportive policies launched this year, a Goldman Sachs report said.

“Despite these easing efforts, many property activity indicators have continued to worsen, and property developer funding conditions remain stretched,” Goldman Sachs’ analysts led by Lisheng Wang said in a report on Sunday. “We believe the housing sector has not yet reached the bottom of the L-shaped path we expect.”

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