Debt-crippled Evergrande vows ‘full steam ahead’ to deliver homes

Debt-crippled Evergrande vows ‘full steam ahead’ to deliver homes
Image: Shutterstock
Short Url
Updated 27 December 2021

Debt-crippled Evergrande vows ‘full steam ahead’ to deliver homes

Debt-crippled Evergrande vows ‘full steam ahead’ to deliver homes
  • The new homes are across 115 developments

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.


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.


Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 

Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 
Updated 06 July 2022

Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 

Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 
  • Software engineers in Dubai earn nearly 30% more than workers in London, Amsterdam and Berlin

LONDON: Software engineers in Dubai with at least three years of experience earn the third highest salaries in the world compared to other global technology hubs, according to global consulting firm Mercer.

When compared to other global tech hubs such as London, Amsterdam, and Berlin, software engineers in Dubai earn nearly 30 percent more.

This reaffirms the UAE’s ambition to attract top digital talent and become a global tech talent magnet that fuels the digital economy’s growth.

Mercer’s Cost of Living 2022 survey also revealed that while Dubai ranked as the 31st most expensive city to live and work in for expatriates this year, its cost of living remains significantly lower than most tech hubs, including London (seventh), Singapore (eighth), New York (11th), San Francisco (19th), and Amsterdam (25th).

Almost 60 percent of UAE employers provide flexible working, reducing employees’ transportation costs. Dubai is also less expensive in terms of housing and rental costs, which accounts for a significant portion of the cost of living in a city.

“Dubai’s status as a global business hub, coupled with its income tax-free environment, world-class infrastructure, safety, and high quality of life make the emirate a very attractive market for talent,” said Vladimir Vrzhovski, workforce mobility leader at Mercer Middle East.

He added: “The demand for tech talent, in particular, will continue to grow in the UAE given the nation’s drive to be a global capital of the digital economy. Above all, a key incentive for tech talent is the opportunity for a significant uplift in salary when compared to other tech hubs, where the cost of living is higher in terms of transportation and housing.

“While inflation and rising fuel costs are a pressure on the cost of living around the globe, Dubai is building a nurturing and highly competitive tech ecosystem that pays highly competitive salaries — creating an environment that promises to attract and retain the best talent globally.

“Over the years, the UAE has also implemented several initiatives that make it easier for talent to live, work and stay in the country. The launch of the Golden Visa program in addition to Dubai’s recently announced Talent Pass aims to attract global professionals in the fields of technology amongst other key areas.

“National initiatives, such as the National Program for Coders launched last year, is designed to attract 100,000 coders from around the globe and set up 1,000 digital companies by 2026.”


Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business
Updated 06 July 2022

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

NEW YORK: Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday sued its parent Unilever Plc to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee, saying it was inconsistent with its values to sell its ice cream in the occupied West Bank, according to Reuters.

The complaint filed in the US District Court in Manhattan said the sale announced on June 29 threatened to undermine the integrity of the Ben & Jerry’s brand, which Ben & Jerry’s board retained independence to protect when Unilever acquired the company in 2000.

An injunction against transferring the business and related trademarks to Avi Zinger, who runs American Quality Products Ltd, was essential to “protect the brand and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spent decades building,” the complaint said.

Ben & Jerry’s said its board voted 5-2 to sue, with the two Unilever appointees dissenting.

Unilever, in a statement, said it does not discuss pending litigation, but that it had the right to sell the disputed business and the transaction had already closed.

“It’s a done deal,” Zinger’s lawyer Alyza Lewin said in a separate statement. The sale resolved Zinger’s own lawsuit in March against Ben & Jerry’s for refusing to renew his license.

The dispute highlights challenges facing consumer brands taking a stand on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Most countries consider the settlements illegal. In April 2019, Airbnb Inc. reversed a five-month-old decision to stop listing properties in the settlements.

Last July, Ben & Jerry’s said it would end sales in the occupied West Bank and parts of East Jerusalem, and sever its three-decade relationship with Zinger.

Israel condemned the move, and some Jewish groups accused Ben & Jerry’s of anti-Semitism. Some investors, including at least seven US states, divested their Unilever holdings.

Unilever has more than 400 brands including Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr soup and Vaseline skin lotion.

Ben & Jerry’s was founded in a renovated gas station in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

No longer involved in Ben & Jerry’s operations, they wrote in the New York Times last July that they supported Israel but opposed its “illegal occupation” of the West Bank. 

Related


Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn

Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn
Updated 06 July 2022

Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn

Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn

RIYADH: Kuwait Finance House has agreed to fully acquire Ahli United Bank for $11.6 billion.

KFH plans to offer one share per 2.695 shares of Ahli United, implying a $1.04 offer price, according to Bloomberg.

Through the merger, the Gulf will have its seventh-largest lender worth $115 billion, a rare cross-border acquisition.


Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion
Updated 06 July 2022

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion

RIYADH: Saudi developer Jabal Omar Development Co. has received approval from the Capital Market Authority to increase its capital by SR5.3 billion ($1.4 billion).

The listed company will finance the capital plan by converting debt, according to a statement by CMA.

The move is subject to approval from the company’s shareholders as well as completing the required regulatory procedures.

The Makkah-based developer’s losses narrowed by 47 percent and revenues surged 408 percent in the first quarter of 2022, due to improved post-pandemic business operations.


Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator
Updated 06 July 2022

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

RIYADH: Microsoft Corp.’s $68.7-billion planned purchase of American video game company Activision Blizzard Inc is under investigation by the UK's antitrust watchdog, Bloomberg reported.

The Competition and Markets Authority will decide by Sept. 1 whether the agreement between the US tech giant and the maker of the Call of Duty game series limits competition and increases prices.

The regulators will take notice of Microsoft's ownership of Activision to understand if the deal could limit rivals' access to the company's biggest games.

The US Federal Trade Commission is also reviewing the deal, chair Lina Khan told lawmakers in June.