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    Troubled China Evergrande pledges to repay debts in 2023

    BEIJING (AFP) – China Evergrande has pledged to repay its debt this year, as the property giant faces a restructuring following Beijing’s crackdown on excessive borrowing and rampant speculation in the real estate sector.

    In an e-mail seen by AFP, chairman Hui Ka Yan told staff that “2023 is a key year for Evergrande to fulfill its corporate responsibility and do everything in its power to ensure the delivery of construction projects”.

    “As long as everyone at Evergrande pulls together, never gives up, (and) works hard… we will certainly be able to complete the tasks of guaranteeing deliveries, repaying all kinds of debts, and resolving risks,” Hui wrote.

    The company last year resumed work on 732 construction sites and delivered 301,000 residential units to homebuyers, the message said.

    Employees “endured huge physical and mental stress, and overcame countless difficulties to realise the impossible”, Hui wrote.

    Evergrande failed to come up with a ‘preliminary restructuring plan’ it promised by the end of July. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

    Evergrande has rushed to offload assets in recent months and has been involved in restructuring talks after racking up some USD300 billion in liabilities.

    The company has come to embody a broader crisis in China’s property sector, which accounts for around a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product.

    Major developers including Evergrande have failed to complete housing projects, triggering protests and mortgage boycotts from homebuyers.

    And smaller firms have defaulted on loans or had problems raising cash since the government brought in stricter lending curbs in 2020.

    In November, an official document showed Evergrande had sold land earmarked for its headquarters in Shenzhen for USD1 billion.

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