China Evergrande Seeks Chapter 15 Protection in Manhattan Bankruptcy Court

Reuters file photo
The company logo is seen on the headquarters of China Evergrande Group in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, on Sept. 26, 2021.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – China Evergrande, which is the world’s most heavily indebted property developer and became the poster child for China’s property crisis, on Thursday filed for protection from creditors in a U.S. bankruptcy court.

The company sought protection under Chapter 15 of the U.S. bankruptcy code, which shields non-U.S. companies that are undergoing restructurings from creditors that hope to sue them or tie up assets in the United States.

An affiliate, Tianji Holdings, also sought Chapter 15 protection on Thursday in Manhattan bankruptcy court.

A lawyer for Evergrande did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Evergrande’s filing comes amid growing fears that problems in China’s property sector could spread to other parts of the country’s economy as growth slows.

Since the sector’s debt crisis unfolded in mid-2021, companies accounting for 40% of Chinese home sales have defaulted.

The health of Country Garden, China’s largest privately run developer, is also worrying investors after the company missed some interest payments this month.

Evergrande recently had $330 billion of liabilities. A late 2021 default triggered a string of defaults at other builders, resulting in thousands of unfinished homes across China.

In a filing in the Manhattan bankruptcy court, Evergrande said it was seeking recognition of restructuring talks under way in Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.