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Shimao says it’s in talks for property sales to help resolve debt problems

An elderly couple walk past a sign in front of Shimao Tower, developed by Shimao Group Holdings Ltd., in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BEIJING — Chinese real estate developer Shimao Group Holdings pushed back Tuesday on reports of default and sales of prime property.

Shimao is one of China’s healthier developers. However, the company’s Hong Kong-listed and mainland-listed stocks and bonds have plunged in the last few months after warnings of a shortfall in sales. The volatility comes amid broader concerns about the Chinese real estate industry’s ability to pay off high amounts of debt.

In a filing on Tuesday, Hong Kong-listed Shimao Group made its first public response to media reports about the sale of its real estate projects.

“Certain media reports have alleged that the Group has not fulfilled its financial obligations under a fund,” Shimao said in the filing. The company distanced itself from the unspecified fund, claiming that the developer’s subsidiaries were not directly involved with repayment, but were guarantors.

Over the weekend, Chinese financial news site Caixin reported that Shimao put all its properties up for sale, which included a preliminary 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) deal with a state-owned company to buy Shimao International Plaza in downtown Shanghai.

That followed a Reuters report Friday that Shimao failed to make full repayment on a trust loan, sending the company into default.

“The Company has not entered into a preliminary agreement in relation to the disposal of Shanghai Shimao International Plaza,” Shimao said. The company also said it’s in talks with potential buyers and might sell some properties “in order to reduce the indebtedness of the Group.”

“As of the date of this announcement, the Company has no outstanding asset-backed securities due and payable,” the company said in the filing.

Shimao shares traded slightly higher Tuesday morning, after surging by just over 19% on Monday.

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