Fosun, one of China’s largest private-sector companies, is facing regulatory scrutiny as it shows a sign of financial distress, with about $8 billion in debt repayment through 2023.
Bloomberg reported that Chinese regulators have asked large domestic banks and state-owned enterprises to closely examine their exposure to Fosun.
A source said Fosun is taking steps to dispose of its assets to pay off its debts.
Fosun International Limited is the group’s flagship company. As of the end of June, it held cash of 117.7 billion yuan ($16.9 billion). Its total liabilities were 651 billion yuan ($94.91 billion), of which 40% was interest-bearing borrowings.
Two people familiar with the matter said that the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission recently asked lenders to check the potential liquidity risks from Fosun’s debt.
Although a Fosun representative said that the group had not received any notice from the authorities, he also said that the inquiry from authorities was part of the normal requirements.
The regulator’s actions underscore investors’ recent concerns about Fosun’s financial prowess.
Fosun was co-founded by tycoon Guo Guangchang in 1992. The Shanghai-based company started off in pharmaceuticals and real estate. Since then, it has built a sprawling business empire that includes tourism and finance.
Fosun is a prolific buyer of global assets. It owns French brand Club Med and English Premier League football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. The group has a controlling stake in the fashion house Lanvin, and a major stake in Canadian circus producer Cirque du Soleil.
In 2020, Fosun signed a deal with Germany’s BioNTech to manufacture its COVID vaccine in China.
But its shares and dollar bonds have dropped in recent months as a wave of defaults from Chinese borrowers hit record highs.
Moody’s Investors Services downgraded Fosun International last month, citing weak liquidity and a weakening portfolio amid asset sales.