(Bloomberg) -- China Evergrande Group and its units suspended trading in Hong Kong, a day after people familiar with the matter said the property giant’s founder had been taken away by police.
No reason was given for the halt in a notice to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Thursday.
Evergrande Chairman Hui Ka Yan was taken away earlier this month and is being monitored at a designated location, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. It’s not clear why Hui is under so-called residential surveillance, a type of police action that falls short of formal detention or arrest and doesn’t mean Hui will be charged with a crime.
The move is the latest sign that the saga at the world’s most indebted developer has entered a new phase involving the criminal justice system, after authorities earlier this month detained some staff at its wealth management unit and two former executives were also held, according to Caixin. It adds to questions over the fate of Evergrande after setbacks to its restructuring plan in recent days roiled financial markets and raised the risk of a liquidation.
The three suspended entities had a combined market value of HK$16.7 billion ($2.1 billion) on Wednesday, down from HK$81.4 billion before their recent trading resumptions.
Evergrande sits at the center of a years-long property crisis that has hurt the Chinese economy and hammered confidence in the housing market. On Friday, the developer said it scrapped key creditor meetings and has to revisit its plan to restructure its offshore debt. Since then, it has disclosed it was unable to meet regulatory qualifications to issue new bonds — a key component of the debt overhaul — while its mainland unit failed to repay an onshore note.
The company faces an Oct. 30 hearing at a Hong Kong court on a winding-up petition, which could potentially force it into liquidation.
Evergrande officially became a defaulter in 2021 and authorities from its home province of Guangdong led what is poised to be one of the nation’s biggest debt restructurings.
Shares of Evergrande fell 19% to HK$0.32 on Wednesday. The company’s dollar bond prices remain indicated at deeply distressed levels at below 5 cents.
(Updates with details on Hui in the third, fourth paragraphs)
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