China Evergrande EV unit loses $108 billion in world’s worst stock rout

China Evergrande expects its net profit to fall to between nine billion and 10.5 billion yuan in the six months ended June. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Shares of China Evergrande Group's electric vehicle (EV) unit are collapsing in Hong Kong, wiping about US$80 billion (S$108 billion) from what was the property developer's most valuable listed asset.

China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group sank as much as 22 per cent on Thursday (Aug 26) after its parent said the unit will post a net loss of 4.8 billion yuan (S$1 billion) for the first half. The EV business was worth about US$87 billion at its April 16 peak, more than Ford Motor and almost four times more valuable than China Evergrande itself at the time.

Its shares are now down 92 per cent since, the worst performance in the Bloomberg World Index and lagging even China's tutoring stocks.

Evergrande's subsidiaries are being punished on concern the world's most indebted developer will need to sell assets at a steep discount amid mounting pressure from Beijing. Shares of listed businesses - including the 65 per cent stake it owns in Evergrande NEV - are the most liquid if Evergrande needs to generate cash quickly. Evergrande in May raised US$1.4 billion from the unit in a heavily-discounted share sale.

Evergrande said earlier this month it was in talks with "several independent third-party investors" to sell stakes in the electric vehicle and property services subsidiaries. It's selling a Hong Kong development project at a loss, people familiar with the matter said this week.

More than 66 million China Evergrande NEV shares had changed hands as of 11.46am on Thursday, about five times this year's average for a full day.

Evergrande, the country's most indebted property developer, said late on Wednesday it expected its six-month net profit to slump as much as 39 per cent from a year earlier, dragged by a drop in selling prices and higher expenses.

The expected drop, to between nine billion yuan and 10.5 billion yuan in the six months ended June, is also partly due to losses of four billion yuan and 4.8 billion yuan in the company's property and electric car businesses, respectively, Evergrande said in a filing.

The developer, however, said an 18.5 billion yuan gain from the sale of some shares and marked-to-market holding in Internet unit Hengten Networks had helped offset some losses.

Evergrande has been scrambling to raise funds it needs to pay its many lenders and suppliers, while regulators and financial markets are worried that any crisis at Evergrande could ripple through China's banking system.

The company is due to report its interim results on Aug 31.

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