Kaisa founder Kwok returns as chairman as debt deadline looms

HONG KONG (Bloomberg) - Kaisa Group Holdings founder Kwok Ying Shing has returned to helm the troubled Chinese developer three months after he resigned amid a corruption probe.

Kwok, who had resigned on Dec. 31, has been appointed chairman and executive director starting Monday, Shenzhen-based Kaisa said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing. Kwok and his two brothers control 49.3 per cent of the builder through a family trust, Kaisa said in the statement.

Kwok's return comes as the company faces a deadline to pay interest on dollar bonds this month to avoid being China's first real estate company to default on U.S. currency securities. Tianjin-based developer Sunac China Holdings Ltd. agreed in January to buy the Kwok family stake in Kaisa and had made a general offer for the rest of the company, conditional on a successful debt restructuring.

Both Sunac and the Kwok family trust are shown to hold 49.3 per cent of Kaisa as of Jan. 30, according to information on the Hong Kong stock exchange website.

Kaisa also appointed Zheng Yi, who joined the company in 2007, as executive director, according to Monday's filing.

Kaisa's bonds due in 2018 were little changed at 63.2 US cents on the dollar as of 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. They rose 8.1 US cents in the five days through Friday in their biggest weekly increase since January.

The shares have been suspended from trading in Hong Kong since March 31, the same day Kaisa postponed the release of its 2014 results to give auditors more time to verify its accounts. There may be a "significant adjustment" to its unaudited numbers, the company said, without specifying when it will release the results.

The stock slumped 50 per cent in the past six months as the government blocked approvals of some of its property sales and new projects in Shenzhen, restrictions that were linked to a bribery investigation of the city's former security chief Jiang Zunyu.