Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin has been pressured to sell $60 million of his Evergrande shares as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) stepped in to assist the real estate tyrant with its debt crisis.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange reported that $277.8 million Evergrande shares pledged by Evergrande Chairman Xu Jiayin and his wife Ding Yumei were forcibly sold for four consecutive days from Dec. 6 to 9.

Trading volume per day varied, from around $105.95 million, $120 million, $51,883 million, and 7,000 shares, where no transaction price was given. The cost of the deal is unclear.

After these shares were sold, Xu Jiayin’s shareholding in Evergrande decreased from 61.88% to 59.78%.

Evergrande shares closed down at $0.23 on Dec. 10. At this price, the value of these forced-sold stocks is approximately $60 million. The total value of the remaining shares that Xu Jiayin had was around $1.82 billion.

To alleviate Evergrande’s debt, Xu Jiayin had already sold 1.2 billion Evergrande shares on Nov. 25 at an average price of $0.29 per share. The total amount sold was about $348 million. Evergrande has never before reduced its share ownership since the stock went public in 2009.

Fitch Ratings on Dec. 9 downgraded Evergrande to “restricted default” for it failed to pay $82.5 million in offshore bonds interest before the grace period expired on Dec. 6. It has a total of $300 billion in liabilities and was vulnerable to cross-default of about $19 billion for offshore bonds.

On Dec. 3, Evergrande suddenly said that it was “not sure” whether it could get enough money to pay creditors the $260 million they demanded.

That day, the Guangdong provincial authority announced that it would send a working group to Evergrande to assist the company handle its risks. 

Beijing criticized Evergrande for unwise expansion that triggered negative consequences and refused to change current policies.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing did not attempt to bail Evergrande out. A spokesperson for the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said the company’s situation was “an individual case in a market economy.”

Evergrande is expected to sell more of its high-quality assets to pay off its debts with the government’s working group in place.

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