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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the construction site of the Guangzhou Evergrande football stadium, a stadium for Guangzhou FC, developed by China Evergrande Group, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China September 26, 2021. REUTERS / Thomas Suen / File Photo

HONG KONG / BEIJING (Reuters) – A government agency has taken over the football stadium from China Evergrande for sale, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters as the indebted property developer scrambles to cope to his debts.

Evergrande, who is struggling to pay off debt of more than $ 300 billion, is also considering selling the money-losing Guangzhou football club, the person said.

Construction of the 12 billion yuan ($ 1.86 billion) Guangzhou Evergrande football stadium began in April last year and was completed by the end of 2022, when it was supposed to be the most large football stadium in the world in terms of capacity.

However, Evergrande halted construction due to a lack of capital and ceded control to authorities who plan to sell the stadium, or – in the absence of buyers – acquire it through state-owned company Guangzhou City. Construction Investment Group, the person said, declining to be identified because the matter is not public.

Another person familiar with the matter said construction had stopped for at least three months.

Evergrande declined to comment. In September, he said work on the stadium was going “as usual”.

The Guangzhou city government did not respond to Reuters calls. Guangzhou City Construction Investment did not respond to a request for comment sent by fax.

HOOKS

Evergrande was once the best-selling real estate developer in China, but now struggles to repay its creditors and suppliers. Local governments across China are leading the sale of some of its assets, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Evergrande’s struggles to cope with offshore bond repayments rocked the markets and rocked the real estate industry as a whole with a series of developer defaults and credit rating downgrades.

He pulled back from the brink of default last month, leaving investors on the edge of their noses as they wait to see if he can meet his obligations to pay an overdue coupon worth $ 82.5 million before expiration. a 30-day grace period on December 6.

GO OUT

Evergrande bought control of Guangzhou FC for 100 million yuan in 2010 and saw its value hover at 19 billion yuan before it was delisted in March. However, the club have suffered some high-profile outings against the backdrop of their owner’s financial woes.

In September, the eight-time Chinese Super League champions said head coach Fabio Cannavaro https://www.reuters.com/world/china/coach-cannavaro-leaves-chinas-guangzhou-by-mutual-consent -2021-09- 28 had left by mutual agreement. Brazilian forward Ricardo Goulart https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/goulart-quits-guangzhou-fc-returns-brazil-2021-11-13, who took Chinese nationality to help China reach World Cup, ended his contract with the club, Reuters reported this month.

Since August, a football school owned by Evergrande has laid off more than 100 employees due to cash flow constraints, said a person close to the school and someone with first-hand knowledge of the layoff situation. The two declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Foreign coaches and translators have been asked to leave, the second person said, adding that the school had about 2 billion yuan in liabilities at the end of December 2020.

It is not known how many people the school employed before or after the layoffs. A person close to Evergrande said the school was operating normally.

($ 1 = 6.3901 renminbi)

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