Former Kaisa chief Kwok Ying-shing returns as chairman

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 April, 2015, 10:48am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 April, 2015, 5:01pm

Kwok Ying–shing, who resigned as chairman of troubled mainland developer Kaisa some three months ago, returned to the post on Monday. yesterday.

The company said in a stock exchange filing it had appointed Kwok, who resigned as chairman on December 31, as an executive director and chairman of the board.

Kwok, who resigned as chairman on December 31, will be entitled to a director’s fee of HK$100,000 a year during his three-year term.

Edison Bian, head of property research at UOB Kay Hian, said the news was positive, but only in the short term.

“Going forward, concerns about debt stress will arise again,” he said. “The market is reading [the news] as the Kwok family getting on well with the local government again. Who knows?”

Trading in Kaisa shares has been suspended since March 31.

Shenzhen authorities lifted a sales ban on most unsold units in Kaisa’s completed and uncompleted development projects on Thursday. However, the company said some of the units were not allowed to be sold as they were subject to freeze orders imposed by mainland courts.

The company also clinched a 1.38 billion yuan (HK$1.74 billion) loan agreement on Thursday to finance a land site in Shenzhen it bought last year. in 2014 last Thursday

Kaisa, reportedly under an anti-graft investigation, is struggling to restructure US$7.6 billion of debt on the mainland. It is in difficult talks with creditors over this debt.

It failed to pay the US$52 million in interest due on March 18 and 19 on its 2017 and 2018 offshore notes. But the company was given a one-month grace period to pay the interest.

“More legal actions will be taken [if it misses the deadline again] and Sunac [China Holdings] will officially walk away if they want and give up,” Bian said.

Removal of the sales restriction and a successful debt overhaul are preconditions for Sunac to buy the 49.3 per cent Kaisa stake held by a Kwok family trust for HK$4.55 billion. It will also buy the rest of Kaisa’s shares it does not own at HK$1.80 each.

At the same time, Kaisa said Sun Yuenan and Ye Lieli had ceased to be co-chairmen and had been re-designated as vice-chairmen from Monday.

The developer also appointed Zheng Yi, who has been the president of Kaisa Zhiye Development (Shenzhen) since January 2014 and is mainly responsible for its operational management, as an executive director.