China Evergrande lines up funds for interest payment to avert default — source

China Evergrande lines up funds for interest payment to avert default — source
Evergrande shares jumped on the news, driving gains in other developers. (Getty Images)
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Updated 22 October 2021

China Evergrande lines up funds for interest payment to avert default — source

China Evergrande lines up funds for interest payment to avert default — source
  • Company faced end of 30-day grace period for payment on Oct. 23
  • Next 30-day grace period expires Oct. 29 for Sept. 29 payment

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI: China Evergrande Group has supplied funds to pay interest on a US dollar bond, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday, days before a deadline that would have seen the developer plunge into formal default.
The person said Evergrande remitted $83.5 million to a trustee account at Citibank on Thursday — as earlier reported on Friday by state-backed Securities Times — allowing it to pay all bondholders before the payment grace period ends on Oct. 23.
News of the remittance will likely bring relief to investors and regulators worried about a default’s wider fallout in global financial markets, adding to reassurance from Chinese officials who have said creditors’ interests would be protected.
Still, the developer, saddled with $300 billion in liabilities, will need to make payments on a string of other bonds, with the next major deadline to avoid default only a week away and little known about whether it is in a position to pay those debts.
“They seem to be avoiding short-term default and it’s a bit of a relief that they have managed to find liquidity,” said a Hong Kong-based debt restructuring lawyer representing some bondholders, who did not want to be identified.
“But still, Evergrande does need to restructure its debt. This payment might be a way for them to get some sort of buy-in with stakeholders before the heavy work needed on the restructuring.”
It was not immediately clear how cash-strapped Evergrande was able to raise funds for paying the bondholders or whether any bondholders have already received the money.
Evergrande did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment. Citibank declined to comment. The person with knowledge of the matter was not authorized to speak with media and so declined to be identified.
News of the remittance comes a day after financial information provider REDD said Evergrande had secured more time to pay a defaulted bond it guaranteed, issued by Jumbo Fortune Enterprises. “This is a positive surprise,” said James Wong, portfolio manager at GaoTeng Global Asset Management, who had expected a default.
The news would boost bondholders’ confidence, he said, as “there are many coupon payments due ahead. If Evergrande pays this time, I don’t see why it won’t pay the next time.”
Evergrande missed coupon payments totalling nearly $280 million on its dollar bonds on Sept. 23, Sept. 29 and Oct. 11, beginning 30-day grace periods for each.
Subsequent non-payment would result in formal default and trigger cross-default provisions for its other dollar bonds.
Evergrande’s next payment deadline is Oct. 29 with the expiration of the 30-day grace period on its Sept. 29 coupon.

TEMPORARY RELIEF
Evergrande’s dollar bond prices surged on Friday, with its April 2022 and 2023 notes jumping more than 10 percent, data from Duration Finance showed, though they still traded at deeply distressed levels of around a quarter of their face value.
Its shares rose as much as 7.8 percent, a day after trade resumed following a more than two-week halt pending the announcement of a stake sale in its property management unit, which was scrapped this week.
Evergrande’s woes have reverberated across the $5 trillion Chinese property sector, which accounts for a quarter of the economy by some metrics, with a string of default announcements, rating downgrades and slumping corporate bonds.
In the latest such move, Fitch Ratings on Thursday cut Sinic Holdings (Group) Co. Ltd’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to “restricted default” from “C” as the developer failed to repay its $250 million notes due Oct. 18.
Still, the Evergrande news helped the Hang Seng mainland properties index surge more than 4 percent versus a gain of 0.25 percent in the broader Hang Seng index.
It also helped Evergrande’s smaller peer Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd, whose dollar bonds surged in price.
Kaisa was the first Chinese developer to default back in 2015 and the Evergrande crisis has put it back in the spotlight.
In mainland markets, the CSI300 Real Estate index jumped as much as 6.5 percent, and an index tracking the broader property sector was eyeing its biggest gain in nearly two months.
When asked whether it will step in to help its rival to ease its liquidity crisis, Chairman Yu Liang of the nation’s third-biggest developer, China Vanke Co. Ltd, said developers needed to ensure their own safety first.
“Everyone feels the chill as ‘winter’ arrives for the sector... Whether we can pass this winter safely is still unknown,” Yu told a company forum on Friday.

FREEWHEELING
Evergrande’s woes had been snowballing for months. Dwindling resources set against more than $300 billion of liabilities had wiped out 80 percent of its value.
Founded in Guangzhou in 1996, the developer epitomised a freewheeling era of borrowing and building. But that business model has been scuttled by hundreds of new rules designed to curb developers’ debt frenzy and promote affordable housing.
Analysts said any prospect of demise would raise questions over what would happen to the more than 1,300 real estate projects Evergrande has ongoing in over 280 cities, and any impact the wider property sector.
Bank exposure to developers is also extensive. A leaked 2020 document, branded a fake by Evergrande but taken seriously by analysts, showed the company’s liabilities extending to more than 128 banks and over 121 non-banking institutions.
“Given that we have little clarity on how bank financing is going for stalled real estate projects, but we know that project pre-sales are down a lot, the onshore business is unlikely to be supplying cash to Evergrande near-term,” said analyst Travis Lundy at Quiddity Advisers in Hong Kong.


Saudi Arabia raises January Arab Light crude prices to Asia

Saudi Arabia raises January Arab Light crude prices to Asia
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 4 sec ago

Saudi Arabia raises January Arab Light crude prices to Asia

Saudi Arabia raises January Arab Light crude prices to Asia

Saudi Arabia's state oil producer Aramco raised its January official selling price to Asia for its flagship Arab Light crude to $3.30 a barrel versus Oman/Dubai crude, up $0.60 from December, the company said on Sunday.

The company set the Arab Light OSP to Northwestern Europe at minus $1.30 per barrel versus ICE Brent and to the United States at plus $2.15 per barrel over ASCI (Argus Sour Crude Index).


UAE’s BLOOVO, Egypt’s CI Capital sign agreement on streamline recruitment using AI

UAE’s BLOOVO, Egypt’s CI Capital sign agreement on streamline recruitment using AI
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 38 min 12 sec ago

UAE’s BLOOVO, Egypt’s CI Capital sign agreement on streamline recruitment using AI

UAE’s BLOOVO, Egypt’s CI Capital sign agreement on streamline recruitment using AI
  • This comes as BLOOVO pushes forward with efforts to expand across Egypt

RIYADH: UAE-based BLOOVO announced the signing of a partnership agreement with Egypt’s investment banking company CI Capital Holdings to supply it with an artificial intelligence recruitment tool.

The technology company, a specialist provider of  AI-powered recruitment solution, HYRDD will be supplying the AI-powered Applicant Tracking System. 

This comes as BLOOVO pushes forward with efforts to expand across Egypt by using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to transform the HR industry. 

“This partnership comes at a time when Egypt’s digital transformation soars as more firms recognise the importance of AI in improving the way firms run their business processes,”   CEO of BLOOVO, Ahmad Khamis, said.

CI Capital Holding, listed on the Egyptian Exchange, offers diversified financial services, including investment banking, leasing, and microfinance products and services. 

The deployment of HYRRD will equip the investment bank’s hiring teams with tools and resources to streamline their recruitment process and eliminate inefficiencies. 


Higher costs, weak demand weigh on Egypt’s private sector

Higher costs, weak demand weigh on Egypt’s private sector
Updated 05 December 2021

Higher costs, weak demand weigh on Egypt’s private sector

Higher costs, weak demand weigh on Egypt’s private sector

CAIRO: Egypt’s private sector experienced a downturn in November due to rising costs and weaker demand, according to IHS Markit.

The Purchasing Manager’s Index hit 48.7 in November, the 12th consecutive month in which the North African country’s in below 50.

Production levels in Egypt’s private sector were down in November. Output has now slipped for the third month in a row, the London-based firm said.

Following four months of jumps, employment was down during the month as new orders in the North African country declined.

“Inflationary pressures and supply shortages were again the most prominent depressors of Egypt’s non-oil economy in November,” David Owen, economist at IHS Markit, said.

Selling prices were on the rise as inflation rate fell marginally from its 38-month high in October. This prompted firms to mark-up their prices by over 10 percent to safeguard their profits


Trump’s social media venture says it has raised $1bn

Trump’s social media venture says it has raised $1bn
Truth Social app logo seen on the smartphone and the Follow the fruth on blurred screen behind. New social media platform from Donald Trump.
Updated 05 December 2021

Trump’s social media venture says it has raised $1bn

Trump’s social media venture says it has raised $1bn
  • He is working to launch a social media app called TRUTH Social that is at least several weeks away

Donald Trump’s new social media venture said on Saturday it had entered into agreements to raise about $1 billion from a group of unidentified investors as it prepares to float in the US stock market.


The capital raise, details of which were first reported by Reuters on Wednesday, underscored the former US president’s ability to attract strong financial backing thanks to his personal and political brand.

He is working to launch a social media app called TRUTH Social that is at least several weeks away.


Digital World Acquisition Corp, the blank-check acquisition firm that will take Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. public by listing it in New York, said it will provide up to $293 million to the partnership with Trump’s media venture, taking the total proceeds to about $1.25 billion.


The $1 billion will be raised through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction from “a diverse group of institutional investors,” Trump Media and Digital World said in a statement.

They did not respond to requests to name the investors.


Trump Media inked its deal with Digital World to go public in October at a valuation of $875 million, including debt.

The social media venture is now valued at almost $4 billion based on the price of Digital World shares at the end of trading on Friday.

Trump supporters and day traders snapped up the stock.


Many Wall Street firms such as mutual funds and private equity firms snubbed the opportunity to invest in the PIPE.

Among those investors who participated were hedge funds, family offices and high net-worth individuals, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Family offices manage the wealth of the very rich and their kin.


Some Wall Street investors are reluctant to associate with Trump. He was banned from top social media platforms after the Jan. 6 attack by his supporters on the US Capitol amid concerns he would inspire further violence.

The Capitol attack was based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in last year’s presidential election.


“As our balance sheet expands, Trump Media & Technology Group will be in a stronger position to fight back against the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in a statement on Saturday.


The deal also faces regulatory risk. US Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler last month to investigate the planned merger for potential violations of securities laws around disclosure.

The SEC has declined to comment on whether it plans any action.


Trump Media and Digital World said the per-share conversion price of the convertible preferred stock PIPE transaction represents a 20 percent discount to Digital World’s volume-weighted average closing price for the five trading days to Dec. 1, when Reuters broke news of the capital raise.


If that price averages below $56 in the 10 days after the merger with Digital World has been completed, the discount will grow to 40 percent with a floor of $10, the companies added.

Digital World shares ended trading on Friday $44.97.


Trump had 89 million followers on Twitter, 33 million on Facebook and 24.5 million on Instagram at the time he was blocked, according to a presentation on his company’s website.


Investors attending the confidential investor road shows were shown a demo from the planned social media app, which looked like a Twitter feed, Reuters reported.

Since Trump was voted out of office last year, he has repeatedly dropped hints that he might seek the presidency in 2024.


Special purpose acquisition companies such as Digital World had lost much of their luster with retail investors before the Trump media deal came along.

Many of these investors were left with big losses after the companies that merged with SPACs failed to deliver on their ambitious financial projections.


TRUTH Social is scheduled for a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022.

It is the first of three stages in the Trump Media plan, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.


In a slide deck on its website, the company envisions eventually competing against Amazon.com’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.


HyperPay gets regulator approval to boost e-commerce in Saudi Arabia

HyperPay gets regulator approval to boost e-commerce in Saudi Arabia
Updated 05 December 2021

HyperPay gets regulator approval to boost e-commerce in Saudi Arabia

HyperPay gets regulator approval to boost e-commerce in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Local payment gateway HyperPay has obtained a permit from Saudi Payments to activate new “mada” services for its merchants in Saudi Arabia.

The move will address the growing needs of local e-commerce merchants in the Kingdom, the company said in a statement.

“The Saudi market is witnessing a significant growth in e-commerce, as the value of e-commerce sales via ‘mada’ cards in the Saudi market jumped during the third quarter of this year by 89 percent on an annual basis,” Muhannad Ebwini, chief executive officer at HyperPay, said.

HyperPay claims it will make payments easier and more secure and offers pre-saving customer card details, and other billing services.

The payment gateway currently has over 2,000 Saudi merchants on board its platform, and it aims to expand across the Kingdom.