China Evergrande Says Construction Has | Stock Market News Today


Troubled property developer

China Evergrande Group


EGRNF -10.55%

said construction work has resumed at more than 90% of its stalled residential projects, adding that it has picked up the pace of delivering apartments promised to home buyers across the country.

Evergrande,


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in a statement Sunday night, said more than 80% of its suppliers of materials and decorative services have “resumed cooperation,” and that it has signed thousands of new contracts with various suppliers. At the end of August, the developer disclosed that construction had been suspended at some projects after it fell behind on payments. And by October, hundreds of Evergrande’s unfinished developments were affected by work stoppages.

With just a few days to go before the end of 2021, Evergrande said it intends to deliver 39,000 homes in 115 projects to buyers across China in December. It compared that to its completion of fewer than 10,000 units in each of the preceding three months.

The world’s most indebted real-estate firm Evergrande has embarked on a social media campaign to show construction has resumed and says it’s doing whatever it takes to deliver homes. WSJ compares these posts with ones from upset buyers. Photo Composite: Emily Siu

In a post on social media Monday, Evergrande said apartment projects have been handed over in batches in 18 provinces and it released photos of completed buildings adorned with bright red decorations and people signing papers to take ownership of their homes.

Despite this, Evergrande still has many more commitments to fulfill and its debt crisis remains unresolved. The 25-year-old developer used to be one of the country’s largest by contracted sales and is on the hook to deliver units to more than one million people. Many buyers made large down payments on unfinished flats, expecting to take ownership of them in a few years.

Hui Ka Yan,

Evergrande’s founder and chairman, said that “under the care and guidance of governments at all levels,” as well as support from partners, financial institutions and other constituents, the developer has made progress in its commitments to homeowners.

He added that Evergrande would do whatever it takes to resume work and deliver homes and predicted that the firm will eventually be able to “resume sales, resume operations, and pay off debts.”

Hui Ka Yan, China Evergrande’s chairman, in Hong Kong in 2019.



Photo:

Paul Yeung/Bloomberg News

The company’s statement followed comments over the weekend from two Chinese regulators which said they would safeguard the rights of homeowners and keep the property sector stable. Beijing has been trying to prevent Evergrande’s debt crisis from hurting the many small businesses and ordinary citizens that the developer owes money and apartments to.

Wang Menghui,

head of China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said in an interview with the state-run Xinhua News Agency that the regulator will address the risks of some leading developers that fail to deliver projects on time, with the goal of “guaranteeing home deliveries, protecting people’s livelihoods and maintaining social stability.”

The People’s Bank of China separately said—as part of a wide-ranging statement on the economy—that it would protect the rights and interests of homeowners and promote the healthy development of the country’s real-estate market.

Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer, has been struggling under the weight of roughly $300 billion in liabilities, including around $20 billion in international bonds. The developer has missed payment deadlines on some of its dollar bonds, setting the stage for a massive and complex restructuring. Major credit raters have declared it to be in default.

Earlier this month, the conglomerate sought help from the government of its home province, Guangdong. It has since set up a risk-management committee that includes representatives from several state-backed entities.

Evergrande recently said the committee is working to help contain its risks and will engage with its creditors. Some international bondholders, however, have said there has been little communication from the company so far, the Journal reported last week.

The company’s Hong Kong-listed shares have plunged in value this year to historic lows and its dollar bonds are trading at deeply distressed levels. Markets in Hong Kong were closed Monday for a public holiday.

Write to Anniek Bao at [email protected]

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PE-Backed Hospital Chain Got Help From Major Landlord as Losses | Sidnaz Blog


Medical Properties Trust Inc.


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is a little-known real-estate investor that helps private-equity firms cash in on their hospital investments. Recent financial documents provide fresh details on the close relationship and deal-making between the firm and its biggest tenant.

The documents show Medical Properties Trust’s exposure to Dallas-based Steward Health Care, a hospital chain until last year controlled by Cerberus Capital Management LP. When Steward ran into financial trouble, Medical Properties Trust provided it more than $700 million through a series of complex deals, the documents show. It provided $200 million to buy Steward assets valued at $27 million. Then it refinanced debts Steward owed Cerberus.

The documents give a window into the finances of a company at the heart of private equity’s push into healthcare in recent years. They show how the financial turbulence at these firms can have ripple effects elsewhere in the financial system.

Steward accounted for 30% of Medical Properties Trust’s revenue last year. Steward lost more than $400 million in 2020 and reported nearly $1 billion of unpaid supplier expenses and other bills, the documents show. The company also faces audits by the Internal Revenue Service and state authorities.

Medical Properties Trust says it is one of the world’s largest nongovernmental hospital owners, with more than 400 properties world-wide and assets of nearly $19 billion. Steward is a large for-profit operator, with 34 hospitals nationally and more than $5 billion of revenue last year.

The property of this hospital in Riverton, Wyo., was sold to Medical Properties Trust.



Photo:

Cayla Nimmo for The Wall Street Journal

Steward said in response to questions that it was “on solid financial footing.” It attributed a rise in accounts payable to a surge of Covid-19 cases late last year and information-technology investments the company had made. It declined to comment on the audits, as did the IRS.

Medical Properties Trust has publicly described some of the recent deal-making as an effort to align itself with Steward’s strategy and take advantage of its potential growth. Cerberus declined to comment for this article.

The hospital landlord has previously received written inquiries from the Securities and Exchange Commission, including about its relationship with Steward. As a private company, Steward doesn’t have to publish its financial results. Medical Properties Trust filed Steward’s financials with the SEC last week because it said the information might be relevant to investors.

The SEC declined to comment.

The close relationship between Steward and Medical Properties Trust is partly a result of deal making by Cerberus. Under the private-equity firm’s control, Steward sold significant hospital real estate to Medical Properties Trust, which in turn leased the real estate back to Steward. Medical Properties Trust also has a roughly 10% stake in Steward, documents show.

Steward, like many hospital operators, struggled in the pandemic and says it received more than $400 million in government relief last year. The company says it lost more than $400 million last year, compared with an $82 million net profit in 2019.

While company financial statements show it had around $400 million of cash and equivalents at the end of last year, its short-term liabilities significantly exceeded its current assets.

Medical Properties Trust operates in a niche of real-estate investing. It buys hospital real estate—the physical buildings and land—and then leases it back to the companies that run the hospitals. Many of its deals have been with private-equity firms, which can use the cash from the sales to lock in profits or pay down debt incurred in the takeover of hospital operators. The playbook turns hospitals into renters of property they previously owned.

Rhode Island officials recently restricted the owners of two hospitals from doing sale-leaseback transactions to raise funds. The ruling stemmed from a state probe of hospital chain Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., which until recently was backed by Leonard Green & Partners LP.

Prospect had earlier used proceeds from real-estate sales to Medical Properties Trust to pay down debt, including money borrowed to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends.

Rhode Island officials, including Attorney General Peter Neronha, recently restricted the owners of two hospitals from doing sale-leaseback transactions.



Photo:

David DelPoio/Providence Journal/Reuters

“We’d all rather own our home than rent it or lease it. Why? Because there’s value in it. There’s value in it I can use on a rainy day to raise capital,” said

Peter Neronha,

Rhode Island’s attorney general.

Prospect declined to comment.

In Wyoming, hospital operator LifePoint Health Inc. sold the property of a small city’s only hospital to Medical Properties Trust. The community is trying to build a new nonprofit hospital to displace LifePoint. The hospital operator, owned by

Apollo Global Management Inc.,

has said a new hospital would duplicate services it is already offering. Apollo has declined to comment.

Michael Carroll, who covers Medical Properties Trust for RBC Capital Markets, said the firm has achieved strong returns in recent years, in part by doing debt and equity deals to support its tenants.

“They do have a flexibility to solve their operators’ problems,” he said.

Steward sought government cash as the pandemic hit, threatening to close a hospital in Easton, Pa., unless it received $40 million in cash to keep its doors open.

The Easton Hospital was ultimately saved after a nonprofit operator agreed to buy it from Steward. Cerberus has said it is happy the Easton community’s needs were met.

As losses mounted, Medical Properties Trust proved to be a key source of cash for Steward, financial filings show. In 2017, Steward acquired two hospitals in Utah as part of a broader transaction involving Medical Properties Trust. Under the deal, Medical Properties Trust issued Steward roughly $700 million of mortgages for the properties.

Steward Health Care ended up selling Easton Hospital in Pennsylvania.



Photo:

Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

Then, in July 2020, Medical Properties Trust agreed to acquire the Utah properties from Steward. Under the deal, Medical Properties Trust erased Steward’s mortgages and paid Steward an extra $200 million for what Medical Properties Trust said was the real estate’s “relative fair value.” Steward leased the properties back from Medical Properties Trust in exchange.

“All of our sale-leaseback transactions are subject to independent valuation and analysis,” Steward said.

Cerberus sold its 90% stake in Steward last year to a management group led by Chief Executive Officer

Ralph de la Torre

in exchange for a note from Cerberus, Steward said at the time.

In January, Medical Properties Trust stepped in to provide Steward a new $335 million loan that it said would extinguish the debt Steward owed Cerberus. Medical Properties Trust’s chief financial officer told analysts that the loan would be “nominally profitable.”

“The goal of the investment is not necessarily to earn a high-profit interest rate,” he said, but the deal would help better align Medical Properties Trust with Steward’s growth.

Steward declined to disclose loan terms but said the deal allowed it to sever ties to Cerberus.

The most complex deal involved Steward’s international business, which had been running hospitals on the island nation of Malta. Under the deal, Medical Properties Trust formed a new joint venture with Dr. de la Torre and other executives that is separate from Steward.

Medical Properties Trust then agreed to provide financing. It lent the joint venture $205 million so it could acquire the international assets from Steward. The hospital company’s financial statements said the assets sold were worth $27 million.

Asked about the price tag on an analyst call, Medical Properties Trust CEO

Edward K. Aldag Jr.

said it reflected work done by Dr. de la Torre’s team to secure opportunities for a venture in Colombia. “They put an awful lot of time and effort and infrastructure in place,” he said.

Steward said the price for the assets was fair and determined by arm’s length negotiations.

Despite the losses and government financial support, Steward said it returned cash to owners of the business this year. Steward said the payment wasn’t a dividend but a return of shareholder capital. The total payout likely totaled more than $100 million.

Write to Brian Spegele at [email protected] and Laura Cooper at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Latest News Today – Samsung Bets on Europe 5G Orders to Grow Network


Samsung Electronics is banking on Europe to maintain growth momentum in its network equipment business, a senior executive said, as 5G rollout widens and industry leader Huawei Technologies of China focuses on its domestic market.

Although the South Korean tech company is global No. 1 in memory chips and smartphones, in 5G network equipment it ranks fifth behind Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, and ZTE, with a 10-15 percent market share in the first quarter of 2021, according to market research firm Dell’Oro Group.

But as Samsung landed a $6.6 billion (roughly Rs. 48,100 crores) deal with US telecoms company Verizon in September, followed by a deal with Japan’s NTT Docomo in March, “impressions have changed”, Woojune Kim, executive vice president of Samsung’s networks business, told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Samsung is currently conducting 5G trials with European telecom companies such as Deutsche Telekom in the Czech Republic, Play Communications in Poland and another major European firm, Kim said.

Besides Europe, Samsung is also looking to expand in markets such as India, Australia, and Southeast Asia, he added.

The network equipment business is small currently for Samsung, which had a revenue of SKW 236.8 trillion (roughly Rs. 15,47,400 crores) for 2020. It does not announce separate numbers for the business and most analysts don’t have estimates for it.

Samsung said since the 5G network rollouts began in 2019 in various countries, it has seen the number of new clients for its 5G equipments and systems rise by 35 percent a year on average.

In addition to 5G rollouts, US pressure on its allies to exclude Huawei from 5G systems has provided opportunities for its competitors to expand market share.

Samsung is touting its virtualised RAN (radio access network) technology, or software that allows telecom companies to freely use off-the-shelf network equipment in various combinations to connect users to networks, saving costs and providing flexibility.

Verizon has adopted this technology for 5G RAN, while in South Korea, all operators’ 5G core networks are virtualised, Samsung said, with the country’s very heavy use of online services like e-commerce and food delivery compared to population size serving as a benchmark.

Samsung’s goal is to become top-three in the network equipment business, Kim said, from seventh now in the total telecom equipment market according to Dell’Oro. However, Kim did not give a timeframe, citing the industry’s long incubation time.

“It took us about a decade to win the Verizon deal, since forming early relationships… It takes persistence,” he said.
 

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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Ant Wins China’s Approval to Set Up Consumer-Finance Company | Sidnaz Blog


Ant Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.



Photo:

Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News

China’s banking and insurance regulator said Thursday that it had approved Ant Group’s application to set up a consumer-finance company, the first regulatory milestone in the fintech giant’s restructuring of its business.

Ant will hold a 50% stake in the new entity, registered in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, with the rest held by six other shareholders. The company, Chongqing Ant Consumer Finance Co., is licensed to conduct consumer lending and other operations.

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Latest News Today – PM Orders Audit Of Installation, Operation Of


PM Modi today held a high-level meeting to review Covid situation in the country.

New Delhi:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a high-level meeting to review India’s Covid situation in which he discussed containment strategies, need to scale up testing, and focus on healthcare resources and distribution of oxygen supply in rural areas.

Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:

  1. An immediate audit of installation and operation of ventilators – provided by the central government to states – should be carried out, the Prime Minister said today as he “took serious note of some reports about ventilators lying unutilised in storage in some states,” a statement from his office read. Training should be provided to healthcare workers if necessary, he said.

  2. The remarks come two days after the Health Ministry dismissed reports suggesting that ventilators supplied by the centre – financed from the PM-CARES Fund – to a state-run hospital in Punjab’s Faridkot are lying unused because of technical glitches.

  3. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday in a tweet stressed that medical equipment supplied by the centre is “not faulty”. “It’s appalling how even relief measures are bearing the brunt of an infodemic being fuelled by vested interests using baseless reports & incomplete facts (sic),” he wrote, referring to some media reports suggesting that “‘Make in India’ ventilators in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra were not functioning optimally”.

  4. The Prime Minister today also said “localised containment strategies are the need of the hour specially for states where TPR (test positivity rate) is high”.

  5. The second wave of Covid has hit rural areas hard. A distribution plan for ensuring oxygen supply in rural areas should be worked out, the Prime Minister said at today’s meeting, including provision of oxygen concentrators. Door-to-door testing and surveillance and augmentation of health resources should be focussed, he stressed.

  6. Testing has gone up rapidly in the states from around 50 lakh tests per week in early March to around 1.3 crore tests per week now, the Prime Minister was told today. States should be “encouraged to report the numbers transparently without any pressure of high numbers showing adversely on their efforts,” PM Modi underlined.

  7. While experts suggest India needs to step up vaccination drive to check the spread of Covid, states have been red-flagging shortage of doses. Today, the Prime Minister said states should work closely with officials to ramp up the speed of vaccination.

  8. Amid criticism, the government on Thursday said about 200 crore Covid doses are expected to be available by end of this year. So far,  over 18 crore doses have been administered. The country has a population of 1.3 billion.

  9. With India reporting over 3 lakh cases everyday for the last few weeks, opposition leaders have been attacking the government over the tackling of the second wave. Shortage of medical oxygen and distress messages – flooding social media – have caught global attention. India’s fight against Covid has been guided throughout by scientists and will continue being guided by them, PM insisted today.

  10. “The pain that citizens have suffered, that many experienced, I am feeling it equally,” PM Modi said on Friday while addressing an online event. He further said: “The pandemic, the worst in 100 years, is testing the world at every step. There is an invisible enemy before us.”
     



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Latest News Today – Competition Commission of India (CCI) Orders Probe Into


Tata Motors said it was reviewing the CCI’s order and will consult its legal counsels

India’s competition regulator on Wednesday ordered an investigation into allegations that Tata Motors, the country’s top seller of trucks, abused its market position while supplying commercial vehicles to some of its dealers. The case centres around allegations from two former Tata dealers who alleged the company dictated terms around the quantity and type of vehicles it should stock and also worked in concert with affiliate firms while advancing credit. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in its order said Tata Motors appears to have abused its dominant position and the case “requires an in-depth investigation”.

The practice by Tata Motors to “coerce its dealers to order the vehicles according to its own whims and fancies” is anti-competitive, the CCI said in its 45-page order. The CCI’s investigation unit needs to submit the report within 60 days, but typically such probes last for months.

Before the CCI, Tata Motors – part of the $100 billion Tata Group – denied all allegations, the order showed. In a statement to Reuters, Tata Motors said it was reviewing the CCI’s order and will consult its legal counsels, adding that the watchdog’s findings into the allegations were not final.

With an over 40 per cent market share in India, Tata Motors is the biggest seller of commercial vehicles such as pickup trucks and competes with domestic firms such as Ashok Leyland and Mahindra and Mahindra.



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Latest News Today – RBI Orders MobiKwik To Urgently Probe Alleged Data Leak:


The Reserve Bank of India has ordered digital payments firm MobiKwik to probe allegations that data of its 11 crore users was breached, and warned the company it will face fines if lapses are found, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

MobiKwik, which is backed by Sequoia Capital and Bajaj Finance, has faced growing criticism this week for denying a leak many customers and digital rights activists say is linked to the company’s database.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was “not happy” with the company’s initial response and has asked it to act immediately, said the source, who declined to be named as the discussion with the company was private.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Latest News Today – Nirmala Sitharaman -Orders Issued By Oversight


The new interest rate on PPF would have been the lowest since 1974.

New Delhi:

Steep cuts on interest rates on small savings schemes, announced last evening, were rolled back by the government today with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declaring that “orders issued by oversight” would be withdrawn. The cuts in schemes ranging from the National Savings Certificates or NSC and Public Provident Fund or PPF, would have hurt millions of middle class depositors.

“Interest rates of small savings schemes of the government of India shall continue to be at the rates which existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021, ie, rates that prevailed as of March 2021. Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted this morning.

The rollback was announced as Bengal and Assam voted in the second round of state elections.

Last evening, on the last day of the financial year, the government had announced a huge cut in interest rates of up to 1.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2021-22. The interest rate on PPF was reduced from 7.1 per cent to 6.4 per cent. NSC would be down to 5.9 per cent from 6.8 per cent.

The new interest rate on PPF would have been the lowest since 1974.

If implemented, this would have been the second cut in interest rates on small savings within a year. In the April-June quarter of 2020-21, the government had slashed rates of small savings schemes by 0.70-1.4 per cent.

The government, say sources, had sought the Election Commission’s no-objection for the periodic review of interest rates and had got it before making the announcement in the middle of elections. The government had said a periodic review in every quarter was necessary, said sources in the election body.

As part of the cuts, the interest rate for the five-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, paid quarterly, was also to be reduced steeply by 0.9 per cent to 6.5 per cent. Rates on the girl child savings scheme Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana would fall to 6.9 per cent from 7.6 per cent.

For the first time, the interest rate on savings deposits was reduced by 0.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent from the existing 4 per cent annually. The steepest fall of 1.1 per cent would have been applied on the one-year term deposit. The new rate would have been 4.4 per cent as compared to 5.5 per cent.

A two-year fixed deposit would have earned 0.5 per cent less at 5 per cent and a three-year term deposit rate would have been cut by 0.4 per cent. A five- year term deposit rate would have been lower by 0.9 per cent at 5.8 per cent.

The annual interest rate on Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) would have been reduced by 0.7 per cent to 6.2 per cent from 6.9 per cent.

Rates of small savings schemes are linked to government bond yields.

Small savings have become key to financing the government deficit, which has widened because of the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the need for borrowings.





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