HomeBusinessDisgruntled China Evergrande investors crowd headquarters in protest

Disgruntled China Evergrande investors crowd headquarters in protest

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SHENZHEN – Chaotic scenes erupted at the headquarters of cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group on Monday, as roughly 100 disgruntled investors swarmed its lobby to demand repayment of loans and financial products.

Around noon, more than 60 members of uniformed security personnel formed a wall in front of the main entrances to the gleaming tower in the southern booming city of Shenzhen, where protesters yelled at company representatives.

“In a company as big as yours, how much money have ordinary people cheated?” Du Liang was told by a woman, identified by staff as the general manager and legal representative of Evergrande’s wealth management division.

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In the early hours of Monday, he read aloud a rebate proposal for holders of wealth management products, according to financial news outlet Caixin, but protesters at the company’s headquarters appeared to reject it.

“They said that the payment would take two years, but there is no real guarantee and I am concerned that the company will be bankrupt by the end of the year,” said a protester surnamed Wang, who said he works for Evergrande and has invested 100,000 yuan ( $ 15,497) with the company, while his relative invested about 1 million yuan.

Evergrande said late Monday that online speculation about its bankruptcy and restructuring was “totally untrue.”

The company faced “unprecedented difficulties,” it said in a statement, but would do everything possible to resume work and protect the legitimate rights and interests of its clients.

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Several protesters said that he had remained in the lobby overnight. He was seen sitting on the ground and slumped against a wall Monday, visibly exhausted.

The protesters took turns voicing their complaints, and at one point a woman in the crowd collapsed.

The atmosphere was tense, and protesters tried unsuccessfully to break through a security line that blocked access to elevators.

“Evergrande, give us our money back!” They sang.

Three company representatives on the scene, including yourself, did not respond to questions from Reuters.

The Evergrande police and media relations office in Shenzhen did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the protest.

The protest comes amid concerns that the country’s most indebted developer, with liabilities of 1.97 trillion yuan ($ 305 billion), will not be able to repay investors and that its debt problems could pose systemic risks. for China’s financial system.

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Some videos circulating on Chinese social media on Monday showed what were described as Evergrande-related protests in other parts of China. Reuters could not immediately verify them.

According to Caixin, Evergrande at dawn on Monday proposed that investors choose to accept 10% of the principle and interest of the expired product now and the rest through quarterly 10% installments, payment for real estate assets or using the value of the product in circulation. to offset home purchase payments.

On Friday, Evergrande promised to refund all of its mature wealth management products as soon as possible.

Many buyers of Evergrande-built homes have raised concerns about down payments made for projects now suspended by the real estate firm, raising concerns on Weibo, similar to Twitter in China.

Hundreds of people in recent months have also protested in an online forum set up by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, seeking help from the government.

On Monday, the Shanghai Stock Exchange halted trading on the May 2023 Evergrande bond due to abnormal fluctuations, after it fell more than 30% to 53.43 yuan. ($ 1 = 6.4528 Chinese yuan) (Information from David Kirton in Shenzhen Additional information from Clare Jim Edited by Anne Marie Roantree, Tony Munroe and Edmund Blair)

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