Evergrande block trades show sale by major holder at discount

HONG KONG • A flurry of large trades in property developer China Evergrande Group yesterday suggested a large institutional holder agreed to a 20 per cent discount to offload the stock.

Seven block trades - totalling 300 million shares - crossed before the opening of regular cash trading in Hong Kong. The orders were all priced at HK$2.23 apiece, indicating they were part of the same block agreement. That compares with Wednesday's closing price of HK$2.78.

Trading in Evergrande and related companies has been particularly active this week for no obvious reason, spurring speculation that founder Hui Ka Yan may tap the stock market for funds.

The sale may have come from the 2.8 billion share pool that appeared in Hong Kong's clearing system last week, widely thought to belong to Mr Hui or his wife. It could also have come from long-time backer Chinese Estates Holdings, which held 313.2 million shares after selling down its stake in recent weeks.

Millions of Evergrande shares changed hands in Hong Kong's clearing system on Wednesday. Haitong International Securities Group's position was trimmed to 2.1 billion shares, down from 3.3 billion shares the previous day.

Seekers Markets, which added 900 million Evergrande shares to its holdings, reported the equivalent of a 6.8 per cent stake.

Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao earlier reported that an unidentified shareholder was planning to sell the shares, without saying where it got the information.

Evergrande closed up 0.36 per cent in Hong Kong yesterday.

The developer and Chinese Estates Holdings did not immediately respond to a Bloomberg request for comment yesterday.

Block trades are agreements between two parties to exchange large amounts of securities at a predetermined price. They are often broken up into smaller orders to facilitate execution.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2021, with the headline 'Evergrande block trades show sale by major holder at discount'. Subscribe