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Evergrande’s offshore bondholders say to consider enforcement action

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A partially removed company logo of China Evergrande Group is seen on the facade of its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China January 10, 2022. REUTERS/David Kirton

By Clare Jim

HONG KONG (Reuters) -An ad hoc offshore creditors group of China Evergrande said on Thursday it has had no substantive engagement with the firm over its restructuring plans despite the firm’s repeated assurances.

The group, represented by law firm Kirkland & Ellis and investment bank Moelis (NYSE:) & Company, said in a statement it has no option but to seriously consider enforcement actions and it is prepared to take all necessary actions to defend its legal rights.

The world’s most indebted property company Evergrande has nearly $20 billion of offshore bonds deemed in cross-default last month after it missed payments.

Struggling with more than $300 billion in liabilities, the property giant has however so far met payments or reached repayment arrangements on onshore bonds that make up the vast majority of its debt, avoiding a technical default that would have complicated its restructuring.

A risk management committee was set up in early December that included officials from state entities and the company has repeatedly reassured that the committee and itself would actively engage with creditors and protect the legitimate interest of the parties involved.

“Actions speak considerably louder than words,” the shareholder group said in a statement on Thursday.

Despite its efforts to engage in substantive dialogue with Evergrande, the group said, it has “received little more than vague assurances of intent, lacking in both detail and substance”, and the impression is the firm has disregarded its offshore creditors and their legal rights.

Evergrande declined to comment.

The group said it has retained offshore law firm Harneys for any enforcement actions, and urged Evergrande to provide full transparency on its financial position and liabilities, and refrain from making any further asset disposals without consulting the group.

A group of bondholders selected Kirkland & Ellis and Moelis as advisers in September on a potential restructuring of Evergrande’s international bonds.

Shares in Evergrande gained 4.7% on Thursday, joining other Chinese developers’ stocks and bonds that extended their gains on hopes that a slew of recent government measures will help ease a funding squeeze in the sector.

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